Sunny Day
Sky of purest blue
75 degrees
Window down
Busy street
old part of the city

Pass a school yard
about 100yrds
of Blacktop
Private School
black and red
kids running
shouts and laughter

Corner of the eye
ring of boys
far away from
the others
Corner of the school yard
traffic slows a little
not much
for me to see

Older boy
maybe just bigger
grabs the smaller one
by the head
his fingers are
tangled in brown
curly locks
His face
a maniacal sneer
eyes wide
face flushed

Smaller boy
doubled over
at waist
eyes squeezed shut
Face, blood-red
tears down cheeks
mouth open
hands trying to free
His hair from
tangled fingers

Heart stops
The eight-year-old
that still lives
in my
hind brain
dashes for
the truck window
leaning out
arm stretched

But what can I do?
Go back and try to stop it?
I tell 8-year-old me
Street’s too busy
no place to turn around
can’t stop
8-year-old me
looks back over his shoulder
brown hair whipping
in the wake of our passing
eyes welling up
jaw working

I know
I say
I remember

I want to go back
I run the older kid off
I want to kneel on the
ground in front of the smaller one
and ask if he’s ok
I know he’s not
He will say yes
but he’s not

I want to
hug him
and let him wipe his nose
and his eyes on my
already filthy t-shirt
I want to tell him
I saw
and it’s ok

But it’s not ok
I hope his dad
will find out what happened
I hope he has a dad
I hope he’ll tell him
not to worry
I hope he’ll tell him
that it’s not ok
and that he should be
I hope he doesn’t tell

To go wash his face
and quit all that crying

To be a man

Because that’s not
That’s not being a
That’s running
from pain
and it never ends
I hope he
doesn’t tell him

that’s just what boys do
Toughen up

I’m a boy
and I never found the need
to just do that

I never found the need
to put my hands on someone
I never found it
delightful to hurt someone
I never cracked a smile
at another person’s pain
I never felt good
about blood on my hands
I never got a thrill
from being in trouble

So what
So fucking what
So girls don’t like good boys
So fuck those girls
Pussy was never a reason to break a bone
or go to jail
or crush a soul

and guess what
it still isn’t

I hope someone
tells him that
I hope someone
tells him that being strong
has nothing to do with your muscles
It has everything to do with your heart

I want to go to that school
and wait for him to get out of class
and tell him I saw
I saw what happened
and it’s not his fault
that he’s younger
likes girls
maybe he doesn’t like girls
or maybe he likes other boys
those heathens felt the need to hurt him for…..


I want to tell him it will stop
I want to show him that there are heroes
People who will stand between you
and something that hurts you
I want to be that person
I want to go to class with him tomorrow
and stand next to him
on the playground and say,

“Go ahead little buddy..have fun..enjoy the sun…no body is going to fuck with you today.”

I hope he’ll say something
tell anyone that will listen
about what happened to him
I hope he doesn’t hide the bruises
or the scratches
or the tears….

And I hope they listen
I hope they tell him

It’s not his fault.

People care
People do care
People will care
and I hope when
He’s older
he tells his son
The same

And I hope when he drives
past a playground
and sees what I saw
He’s moved to tears to write about it

just like me.


About Eric

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66 Responses to Bully…

  1. Kendra Lynn says:

    Powerful!!! Love it 💜

  2. This made me cry, deeply rooted tears because I saw my son in this poem. He is, and was, that 8 year old boy….because he has a compassionate heart, and is not a fighter. I could write volumes in response, but I will simply say this – My son does not have that dad to tell him the things you mentioned, but I sure wish he had a role model like you. I will take what you wrote here, and continue along my journey with him, and hope that the lessons written within, are carried on to his son as well. Much love to you, and to the little boy who you brought to all of our hearts ♥

  3. rachel says:

    your heart…❤️

  4. playfulkitten73 says:

    so powerful . so real. so sad.

  5. Pingback: Bully… | Mr. Modigliani's Private Studio

  6. Dawn D says:

    Very powerful, Eric. I am sorry you had to endure this as a boy, and that this little boy got to witness it again.
    I am sorry that, too often, boys are told not to talk about it, to man up and all that. Because, after all, they’re boys, not men, and why should they crash their delicate souls because someone is in need of feeling powerful?
    I pity the bully too, because to be like he is, *his* soul had to be crushed at some point, and he needs to feel powerful again because he can’t be powerful any other way. At least not that he’s aware of.
    I vividly remember the opening scene of Human, the movie by Arthus-Bertrand. A young man tells the story of how he was shown love and compassion by the mother of the woman he killed. That before then, he thought love was beating someone up, because that’s what he’d been shown by his stepfather, who’d beat him and tell him he loved him. And… ugh! Just ugh! How one messed up life can mess up another.
    I want to say that bullying happens with girls too, except it happens in more subtle ways. There are no broken noses and torn clothes, but the hearts suffer just the same. And we are told to be quiet, it wasn’t all that bad. And if you tell an adult, then you’re a tattletaller and you’re ostracised.
    Bullying is bad, no matter what the gender.
    Thank you for writing this.

    • Eric says:

      And thank you for your wonderful response, Dawn. I’ve never seen that movie, I believe I might need to.

      I know girls are more emotional abuse than physical…but it still hurts. Sometimes more so.

      Thank you for reading it.

      • Dawn D says:

        Oh, both hurt, always. Whenever someone is made to feel smaller, whether physically or emotionally, it hurts. I don’t envy boys either!
        The movie is absolutely wonderful, full of beautiful interventions, from people from all over the world, and beautiful images of the beautiful world we live in. It is not a movie you can come out untouched. I am not sure whether it is available online.
        I’ll leave this here, you can check how best to watch it where you are 🙂

  7. Rita says:

    I feel this too deep, my brother. Can still feel it. Brilliant piece ❤️

  8. I want to hug him too. I was bullied as a kid, so understand. This is such a poignant piece xo

  9. Eric says:

    Thank you, Vic. It was difficult to see. *hugs* love you.

  10. Speechless….HUGS XOXOXO

  11. Purpleanais says:

    Oh Eric…a new crack appeared in my heart…so poignant… bullying is a terrible, soul destroying thing…for anyone…but the tender hearts…it scars them for ever. Sending you love and hugs ❤

  12. So powerful and heartbreaking. I was bullied a bit and back in those days there was no name for it. “They’re picking on me!” “They call me names.” ‘They’re mean to me.” Pretty soon I just stopped talking about it and kept it inside and walked home alone. I couldn’t help it I had a funny name. That my eyes looked odd due to three surgeries. Children are cruel and oftentimes learn well from their parents. Thank you for this lovely writing which all children should read.

  13. What the ever-loving shit! You knocked me over here. Was not expecting this.
    “I want to kneel on the
    ground in front of the smaller one
    and ask if he’s ok
    I know he’s not
    He will say yes
    but he’s not”

    Show them, dammit, show them there are heroes. Tell him that no one will fuck with him today. #mast 💙

  14. I am so very moved by this Eric. Bullying is NEVER ever okay. No matter the age of those involved, it hurts. I am so sad that you had to endure this as a child…you never forget those things. I didn’t know you then but I get the sense that you were as sensitive and caring and artistic as you are now and I am glad that those qualities continued to flourish. This was an amazing and powerful write. So emotional. Bravo my friend. Bravo.

  15. augustmacgregor says:

    A moving piece, Eric. Feels like you pulled out all the stops for this, and you courageously bared yourself. Truly, truly, truly, being bullied is a horrible feeling. Something that yanks parts of your guts out. Something that is carried on for a long time. I noticed in Dawn D’s comment that she pities the bully, and I agree. I believe bullies act that way because they were taught it. Maybe from a role model of a parent who bullies. The cycle continues, and it takes a hell of a brave person to stop that cycle.

    • Eric says:

      Thank you, August. As I told Sarah in the comments. I felt so much. I had to write this.
      It needs to stop…it’s long past needing to stop.
      I want to repair both the bullies and the bullied. I can’t really identify with the bully…I can only try and understand his story.
      But the kid on the other end, I feel his pain way down to the bone.

      I actually had a childhood bully apologize to me on a chance meeting on the street. I told him it wasn’t necessary but he stopped me and told me it was…and I decided he was right and I had an obligation to let him take that burden off his shoulders. So I accepted and forgave him. It was very surreal.

      I just wish we could find a way to never have to get to the apology stage.

      Thank you for your kind words! I appreciate it greatly.

      • augustmacgregor says:

        That scene of meeting the bully does sound surreal. I think it was an amazing thing for you to accept his apology and forgive him. And it was amazing for him to make the effort to apologize. Shows you that he also carried a lot through the years. Sounds like he’s one person who was able to break the cycle. Let’s hope there’s more like him out there.

  16. Lisa T says:

    You are such an amazing human being❤️ Your hear is so big😍 Ugh! This was hard and beautiful to read. Love this and you my friend😘

  17. moonskittles says:

    This got me thinking of my own kids.. gosh, what will happen if.. and so a mothers/fathers heart will keep aching..

  18. mandibelle16 says:

    Heart breaking. Did you actually see this? I don’t get bullying either, especially why bully’s
    do it to smaller boys or smarter boys, whoever the victim is. I was teased and bullied in my primary school days. I was a huskies child, but I grew out of that. But boys/girls can be mean about weight. And I think today many bullies are much worse, girls especially. Well written poem, frustrating the speaker what he is seeing, bringing back bad memories. I wish people learned but they don’t

    • Eric says:

      I did actually see it, Yes. I’m sorry you had to experience that too. It leaves deep scars.

      • mandibelle16 says:

        Wow, awful thing to see. I’m pretty good with it. My Mom told if someone wouldn’t stop bullying me to kick them good and hard. Most bullying stopped after that except s little later for the off-handed way girls can bully. I think what you experienced or this child is much worse. Enjoy your Sunday!

  19. Wings and Words says:

    Eric, this is one of the most profound pieces I’ve had the privilege to read. Absolutely beyond amazing.

  20. Chrissy says:

    Wow Eric, so powerful. Much love❤️

  21. Bullies grow up to bully their wives and kids and neighbors and women lament “where are the nice guys?” They were the little boys being victimized and now they need help to heal and respect from women who know too well what it is to be abused and to know that “women like bad boys” is something on TV and what women really want is that nice guy who can’t be in a relationship because he wasn’t allowed to recover from his childhood.

  22. Eric says:

    Reblogged this on My Sword and Shield…. and commented:

    I have to reblog this. In view of Keaton. As a tribute to him. I wrote this last year and it still needs to be said.

  23. Lee Dunn says:

    Reblogged this on AreMyFeetOffTheGround and commented:
    Written a year ago, but not old news yet.

  24. Hi Eric,
    I saw Lee’s reblog and I had to comment. This is such a moving and profound piece. I was in tears by the end. It’s sad that despite you writing this last year, as Lee said “…it’s not old news yet.”

  25. Reblogged this on Surviving the Struggle to Success. and commented:
    Wonderfully done, sir! Had to share it…

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