WWP Poem #6: Bears

Rouse the fallen trees around you.
Remember how death splinters your jaw.
Slide out tiny javelins from between your teeth and
hurl them at the girl passing by.

Remember how death splinters your jaw,
how your father’s fist still echoes behind your teeth.
Hurl your years at the girl passing by
in molar handfuls, in jagged crown alphabets.

How your father’s fist first echoed behind your teeth
shakes loose your dying canines at night
in handfuls of sparked, jagged alphabets:
cliff-edged teeth, little detonations, falling fangs.

Shaking loose your dying canines at night,
badges of dishonor hidden from your clan –
those little detonations of falling teenage fangs.
Your weeping cave light, behind a curtain of trees.

Badges of dishonor, never shown to your clan,
erupting through the spots on your hide.
Your weeping cave light severs trees at their hips.
Borrow their wood to construct a new spine.

Erupting through the spots on your hide
your red suns, points of blood, hormone song.
Borrow tree wood to construct a new spine;
fling yourself, backbone bare, at the nearest boy.

Your red suns, points of blood, wicked hormone song:
liquid enough to dip in your spearheads, your knife blades.
Fling yourself, Backbone Bear, at that same passing girl.
Draw locker door-edged lines into her arm.

Liquid to dip in your hungriest of blades –
blood-made still lifes, pulsating, crying from the walls.
You’ve drawn locker door-edged lines into her arm
for the sixth time this past month.

Blood-made still lifes take the form of your face.
The bear has proven his father proud.
For the sixth time this past month
you could forget the echoes behind your jaw.

The bear has proven his father proud.
Slide out tiny javelins from between your teeth.
Try to forget the echoes behind your jaw.
Rouse the fallen trees around you.

Written 6/16/10
© 2010 by Nicole Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.

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This poem was written for We Write Poems Thursday Prompt #6: Walk a Mile. Dan Rako invited us to consider a viewpoint we disagree with or try to put ourselves in the shoes of someone or a group of people we dislike.

I chose to try into the head of one of kids who used to tease and bully me when I was in school. If nothing else, I wanted to figure out why he did it. I may be totally off base, but when I read about the causes of bullying and reconstructed my own memories from junior high and high school, this is what I came up with. In a way, it’s a response to a pantoum I wrote back during NaPoWriMo 2010 about my own experiences of being teased and bullied (this poem is password protected — please contact me for the password).

While I definitely do not condone bullying, this might hopefully give a peek inside the minds of the kids who participate. Clearly, they have their own pain to deal with. This, coupled with a lack of compassion and pressure to be tough and strong, could lead to the actions of these young men and women.

-Nicole
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About ravenswingpoetry

I am a 38 year old writer from Columbus, OH and the creator of Raven's Wing Poetry. I am a poet, seeker, fellow traveler, and autistic.
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11 Responses to WWP Poem #6: Bears

  1. Nicole, your empathy is amazing. Getting into the “other side” in order to understand those motivations. And in a pantoun. Amazing work. This is the best poem I’ve read on the prompt so far. I’ll cruise your site for more of your work.

    The words are like a dense forest, hard to penetrate at first glance. I’ve no time for light, breezy poetry, so I am very drawn to what you have to say. Good work! Amy

  2. pamela says:

    Nicole
    A well-constructed pantoum and an intense insight into bullying and why it occurs!
    Pamela

  3. brenda w says:

    Nicole, This is intensely gripping. You know how to work a metaphor. I see bullying every day during the school year. What really frightens me, is the bullying that I don’t see. And the things that happen in the bullies’ lives. Ouch.

    Excellent post, I will revisit this pantoum.

  4. Myself a victim of bullying, sad to say I still harbor a lot of anger and issues due to it (and it’s been over 20 years). Your poem made me cry. I wish I could hug you! You did a great job of looking at this delicate, horrible topic from the other side (and in pantoum form, no less!)….I couldn’t do it, not yet, and not sure ever.

    – Dina

    P.S. I wrote a very different kind of “bully” poem a few months ago, in response to a local teen who killed herself after being bullied. Maybe you’d like to check it out: http://mypoeticlicense.wordpress.com/2010/04/11/for-my-friend-phoebe/

  5. Mary Kling says:

    Nicole, so hard to get inside the mind of a bully, but you succeeded so well!

    http://inthecornerofmyeye.blogspot.com/2010/06/thats-life.html

  6. Dan Rako says:

    What insightful work you’ve done here. Kudos.

  7. Stan Ski says:

    Just so you know, I got in without the password…
    Whatever the motivation, bullying can never be justified.
    Well constructed piece – the repetition highlighting the on-going nature of the problem.

  8. Mr. Walker says:

    A mesmerizing and scary poem. The pantoum works well for this subject. And I like your dark wordplay: “backbone bare” to “Backbone Bear”.

  9. Irene says:

    Your pantoum has teeth.You took the form and make it yours.

  10. Pingback: Bullying, Chasing Pavements, and Asperger Syndrome « Woman With Asperger's

  11. Pingback: TWO YEARS AGO: Reblog: Bullying, Chasing Pavements, and Asperger Syndrome - Nyssa's Hobbit Hole

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