Bully: Poetry Attempt Number 3

This poem took several days to write. I’m not fully satisfied with it, but there it is: my third attempt at poetry. It still has a story (something missing from most poetry). It still has at least two layers. For the few readers I have, please give me feedback on this one. It’s missing something but I’m not sure what it is. 


Father dragged me to school. He forced
me to tell my story again. Stinging in my chest continued.
Principal Somani gave father the same plastic smile everyone
gave me. It’s easy to spot.
Frank, the school is aware of the problem and working on it.
Father left satisfied, so did Somani.

Mother asked how my day went again. Fine. Details? No thank you.
Why won’t you let me in? Why do you have to be so negative?
It’s your attitude that makes everyone hate you. Fine,
you can just spend the night in your room.

The phone rang. Mother answered.
This is Margaret. No. I can talk.
It’s just my ungrateful child. Think they call it Emo.
Maybe Goth.

Hallway giggling crawled deep under my skin. Each chuckle
feeds whatever’s growing in my chest cavity.
Laughing used to be direct. They pointed at me, called out names,
said what they wanted. Teachers heard nothing, saw less.

Mr. Durand told me to suck it up. It’s not as bad
as it seems. But he’s not standing beside me on the bus,
walking home, in my family’s house, in the halls,
or whispering in my ear.

He apologized, spat Mrs. Jenson. So,
he doesn’t mean it. Do you mean it?
I do. See, he does. He said that to you five times already.
Shake. No. Shake his hand. No.

Apologies are for those who make mistakes;
he recognizes his mistake. You don’t get it.
SHAKE. I shook. You can leave, she told him.
She told me, you have detention.


  1. Tarcy

    poetry is not my thing but here goes — it feels like you have too many characters and we only mention each once, never returning to any. The mother and Mrs. Jensen each get two paragraphs is that significant?

    Alternate — feeds the vacuum growing in my chest cavity
    I can't see a mother saying everyone hate you — maybe its your attitude that makes you unpopular rather than

  2. Rene Mullen

    Have to say I agree. I'm not a poetry guy. But am liking what it's making me work on in my writing.

    The reoccurring character is the child in question. Unfortunately, I've heard a mother use those words. Was trying to show that everyone bullies this child, but, in the end, it's the child who is considered the bully. Not the bully, or the teachers, or even the parents.

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