Monday, October 28, 2013

Poetry of a Survivor

I don't really want to say a lot about this poem. Over at (on twitter as @dVersePoets) we were reminded this it is still Anti-Bullying Awareness Month, at least for a few more days. So that was what sparked this poem. Bullying is something I dealt with from ages 5 to 19. I went to Catholic Schools K-12th grade. So I didn't even escape my tormentors on the weekends. But kids aren't the only ones who bully. I've seen plenty of adults do it too.

Lyrics from the 1st stanza are from "Fatty" by Mung (also covered by the Street Dogs, which is how I actually found the lyrics. Lyrics from the 2nd & 3rd stanzas are from "Me, I am Anger" by Bryan McPherson. Lyrics from the 4th stanza are from "Make It Stop (September's Children)" by Rise Against; go find the music video, it will break your heart.

Let me know what you think.

Poetry of a Survivor

The lines were already drawn
as early as Kindergarten.
Forced to run from the popular girls
three times a day around the playground at recess.
Caught and I was shoved around,
down to the dirt.
They torture and this shit’s unkind
Everyone pointed and laughed.
I started getting stomachaches
three times a day, during recess.

The summer before third grade
the chasing game ended.
By then I was fat,
and ‘they’ never let me forget it.
Huddled by the crab apple tree
at the corner of the playground
my best friend and I tried to hide.
We were always found.
Do you remember me?
You’re the one who threw rocks at me in 1993.

Middle school brought new feelings,
and new ways to be tormented.
“You have a crush on Luke?”
“He’ll never like you, you’re too ugly!”
“You’re not his type, you’re fat!”
At home I hid behind my smile.
My best friend and I stuck together.
At church on Sundays
we dodged our tormentors.
Choosing the chapel entrance
we avoided the congregation
of the popular girls out front.
The cool kids are all walking
Like lions in their cage.

High school brought some relief.
Getting lost in the hallways was easy,
being short in a sea of students
hid me well.
I couldn’t hide
so well in the classrooms.
I tried to make myself small
walking in the door.
But as soon as I entered
the well dressed rich kids
started snickering, commenting
silently at first
then obviously so I could hear
about my chosen outfit,
my new glasses,
and how I carried my books.
I sat silently in my desk,
head down,
waiting to disappear into the halls again.
Make it stop
Let this end.



  1. I remember having pennies hurled at me in high school by a boy who, in grammar school, had been my 'best friend', until he grew taller, and I didn't, and he found new jock friends. Powerful pen, Katie

  2. I wonder if any bully can ever write poetry... this is sad and hard. I recognize myself in your words.. especially in the later verses.. University was the big saviour for me... You really use the lyrics well -- you should dig up the FFA on glosa.. that would fit you very well if you want to do form..

  3. ugh, just lost my comment...i dont remember when mine started...pretty young though...middle school showers @ gym was the high school i figured if i made myself scarier than they were they would leave me alone...and they did...nice blend in of the lyrics...

  4. This sounds frighteningly familiar ... I was raised in a military family, so we moved home a lot. Somehow, every new school ended up being just like the ones before, right up until I was 16.

    I feel the pain in this brave piece of writing.

  5. Sad...intense and a good capture. I feel you.

  6. I admire the weaving of your story with the lyrics ~ I am very moved by your experience ~ How sad to read that your suffering took that long ~ I agree with you on adult bullying too ~ It's something we always have to contend with ~

    Thanks for the personal share ~

  7. This is so sad and you captured the pain in each line..when will this stop it is
    even done as adults..I have to ask why???

  8. You wrote this just the way it feels. So sad. Isnt it amazing that the ones who get bullied in school grow up to be amazing people? and the bullies.....not so much?

  9. The pain is still very strongly felt in your lines Katie. You obviously had a hard time and it is sad it went on for so long. However you wrote a very good poem based on this very difficult experience.

  10. you always mattered

  11. The words convey a visceral feeling, brings the reader to it.

  12. your words ring true for me. All my youth was a torment being raised in an orphanage. School mates made fun and labeled me. Took many young adult years to overcome and heal myself, though I still tend to be reclusive. Painful as it is, we are the lucky ones for we see life with love and is the bullies of my past I pity

  13. early in life it began, for me.
    first one out the door at dismissal.
    on my bike, pump hard
    keep ahead of the crowd
    two miles to the farm
    hide behind the barn
    that was grade 1

    HEY, we DID survive!
    leaving me with this hope for you
    to be as happy as i,
    who received lots of help
    to just stay alive

    SO glad you dropped in, Katie

  14. it's so tough when it happens and it really can crush a person... when i was thinking back it didn't seem to happen so much when i was young, maybe also because it was a small town school - maybe also the angry-ness wasn't so palpable as it is nowadays - and i really think it helps when we share our stories to encourage others to stand up against bullying

  15. O, this resonates! I remember well early bullying...But it hasn't stopped. People will be silent bullies at adulthood..rejecting anything or anyone different. Silent bullying...back stabbing. Well written...well said! ~jackie!~

  16. To be bullied is really terrible and you have given a clear testimony of that by your words. Nicely done.

    The one to Jesus dear
    is to the world to fear.
    The world is full of shit
    and is afraid of it.

  17. Here you are speaking your truth, deepened by adversity, more compassionate because of it. Brava!

  18. Fantastic write! I love the way you spun it all together. I totally identified with your line "I tried to make myself small".


  19. They torture and this shit’s unkind
    Everyone pointed and laughed.
    I started getting stomachaches
    three times a day, during recess.

    This is exactly how I felt every single day of my life. I like to thank you for being brave and expressing how you feel. No one should ever go through this type of suffering and torture. Katie...You are not alone...I am here for you if you need a friend to talk to or listen. :) Thank you again for writing this incredible and heart-felt emotional poem.

  20. Hopefully, you and your best friend were there for each other throughout your K through 12 years--the support of a best bud can't be matched. Very well expressed.

  21. So very like what I went through! My dad brought it to the attention of the principal. I gave my account in my dad's presence. Later I named names in class, the teacher reprimanded them and no more bullying. I suppose if one brings it out in the open it'll stop. Nice write Katie!


  22. Great combination of your words and the selected lyrics. Very sad. I'm at least glad there was a best friend.

  23. It is amazing how anyone survives the torment of bullying. So much of it still goes on from school to the work place. I can only take comfort in the fact that there must be a lot of self loathing going on within the skin of bully...good !