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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Heavy hands Brutal feet

The wheels in the tidy little recess machine

Recess was fun once
Back in school
You know that school that they went to
Not so fun for me that recess thing
With that recess lady
With her recess whistle and stern shouts
Stop that!
Recess was the place where they lurked
The shining ones
Having the new shoes and well styled looks
With recess lady beguiling personalities
Sharp wit and evil words Heavy hands brutal feet
And willing followers
Oh yesss the followers
The wheels in the tidy little recess machine
Chewing away at the resolve to make it through another day
Recess was fun once…for you maybe
Not so much for me.

Chris McQueeney 2/28/12  10:12 PM

Who among you were afraid to go out on the playground as a child? Did tetherball ever turn into a nightmare for you, the twirling ball of death? Were you ever chased down and beaten by the students you were forced to spend your days with? Did you dread the places that others had fun with, because you knew that you probably were going to be tortured by the kids that smelled that your life was already hard enough?
That is it, I think; the dirty little bastards could smell the torment I was going through. And like animals they would pounce. I went through years of almost daily torment in school, before school, during school, and after school. Let’s focus on recess. I was the typical picked on kid, socially awkward, short, skinny, and had huge ears. Perfect target!
I think in the long run the emotional abuse that was piled on me was much more destructive in my life than the physical, I’ll explain why. Every confrontation started with words. The name calling, incessant stream of catcalls and hurtful descriptions were the intro. I could pull out the laundry list and go into detail on what they said, but I don’t need to; you can provide them for yourself, either you heard them said to another, said to you, or you were the one doing the calling. Early on this was followed by the physical assault.
I said I would tell you why the verbal was worse than the physical, here’s why. I may have been short and skinny, but I was no easy meat. I could fight, and fight well. They could smell that I was tormented, but they didn’t have the ability to know that it had created in me the capacity to endure a lot of physical pain in times of anger without feeling it. What would happen is they would start to hit me and the next thing I knew I had hurt them, sometimes badly.
I got in a lot of trouble for defending myself.  And the smart bully’s learned that they could only use the taunting; if they had disposable followers they would use them against me, but even that got less and less. The words continued well into high school and they left their mark.
The reason recess was so hard was there was no escape…and the teachers did nothing about it. I went to Lincoln Elementary school in Nampa Idaho. I will write, and have written about things that happened to me there. People should know what went on, what that school created….

Note to the reader: this happened to me a long time ago, I am not a victim of this anymore. I grew up and had challenges due to my life experiences but I survived and know now that the world is not out to get me, at least not in this sense. I am now an adult, a father, and a man. No longer am I the wounded child without a defender.

Chris McQueeney  3/1/2012    12:08 AM

Last night I was at another poet's blog and his poem sparked this in me. The subject matter in my poem and story in no way reflect the content or intent  of  his work, or his blog. Brian at Waystationone is a very skilled poet and writer. The posts of his that I have read, having only found his blog in the last few months, have been well worth my time. Here is a link to the post that inspired this piece, Off the wall is its name.


Brian Miller said...

thanks wander and i appreciate you leaving the poem in the comments at my place...i was the victim of bullying in elementary school so i can relate on that level for sure...and def try to advocate now...nice poem man

christopher said...

Damn! You are doing well, my friend.

Ben Ditty said...

I was bullied and later a bully for a while. Neither was satisfying :-(

kj said...

chris, i've swallowed hard reading this. not fair, not right. the poem is beautiful. the last line is so simple and powerful.

i don't get it and i never will. any kind of perceived weakness brings out the worse in others. finally, i know that is not me, probably never was, but now, i know how to be kind.

i am glad to be here, chris. xo

Wander said...

I think many people that could be called intellectuals as adults (I am not saying I am one of those) had similar experiences as children. Christopher and I talked about this earlier today and he pointed out that my somewhat methodical nature that works well as an adult didn’t work well as a child. That other children took it as stupidity, maybe so, I do know that the teachers did. We also talked about the child that was reviled in school, and that wasn’t me, but close. Here is a doozy for you I am now 6’4” and about 200 lbs., when I tell people I was the small kid that got picked on they don’t believe me.
@ Brian, thank you!I hope you don’t think I was doing a public service announcement, but I have often wondered if I should contact the school district that I was in and expose the crap that was done to me…

@ Christopher, thank you my friend! In a way every creation on my blog and probably the written work that is spawned from it and any success in this writing thing I owe in part to you. The way you responded to that first poem I put in your comment section lead directly to here. That may have seemed a small thing to you, but to me it was huge, one of the defining moments of my life, and you hit a home run.

@ Ben, that admission was brave. And I am glad that you and I have met through our blogs, gotta say Portland in the summer is very nice! 

@ Kj, I have said it before and I will say it again, you are a gentle soul. I am glad you are here also 

JJ Roa Rodriguez said...

That was a sad story... Nice poem...

I dont know why such thing Happens but im glad you are doing good now and helping people be aware of it.


Nadja Notariani said...

I had to stop by and check out your work after your kind comments at my blog. Stringing words together, piecing exact and precise 'feeling' into a sentence - ahhh...that's poetry to me.

I identified with the poem. I was, to quote one of my favorite movies, 'the only swarthy eight year old on the block with sideburns'. Anyway, you're so right! We grow up, we become adults, mothers, fathers, wives, authors... In the end, I'm glad I experienced the life I did. I wouldn't be the person I am today without those adversities - I gained.

Jira said...

The school yard was never a good time and friends were far and few between. Looking different than others does not a unique or special person make... instead it creates an outcast and a target for ridicule and name calling. Kids pretending to be your friend when indeed they just whisper behind your back and say "haha, she thinks we like her". I, like you, have overcome those past issues and am fine now but it stifled me for such a long time. My experience is different but similar and so I believe I can relate to a degree. I was never beaten but the old saying 'sticks and stones' is a false one because words hurt just as bad. And you're right, the recess ladies did nothing (I guess they call them "duties" now... whatever the hell that means). I moved dozens of times but eventually ended up graduating in Washington and now reside in Idaho not far from your Nampa elementary school. Some of the schools here have great reputations while others schools simply continue the production of kids who become wounded in battle.

Wander said...

Thanks Nadja and Jira I am glad you made it through to the other side!

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