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Archive for the ‘Poems’ Category

Imagine a world
Where no one is different.
No one is different from you.
If your eyes are brown,
My eyes are brown,
And no one else’s are blue.

Imagine a world
Where we eat the same food.
Everyone eats tofu.
Forget a good steak,
A burger or cake,
We all have to eat soy-stew.

Imagine a world
Where we listen to music.
You and I hear the same song.
Forget the hip-hop,
Or raggae or pop,
It’s Beethoven all day long.

Now into this world,
Where all guys like girls
And all girls are gaga for guys,
Present a gay boy,
And a lesbian too.
It’s a shock and a big surprise.

But…

Imagine a world,
Where people can be,
Unique and the best that they can be.
Where the norms and rules,
Are only for fools,
Conforming is dull as can be.

Imagine a world,
Where he can love him,
And the girl can also love her.
It’s not my business.
Do you really care,
Which sex is anyone’s lover?

Life without choices,
Life without freedom,
Is to live a life as a clone.
To pretend I am you,
And he and she too,
I’d rather live all alone.

We are so lucky,
To live in a place,
And live in an era of choice.
Let’s embrace those gifts,
Avoid all those rifts.
And then we all can rejoice.

Topics for Discussion:

What is a stereotype? How are they perpetuated?
Define a “clone”. What would be the effects and end-results of scientific cloning of humans?
What is conformism and why is it such a strong element of influence during adolescence?
What reactions do sexual-orientations other than hetero-sexual provoke? Why does this occur?

Activities:

Students will research cases of gay-bullying and gay-bully-related suicides and share their findings with the class. ( Of recent note: Jamie Hubley and there are far too many more)
If a student you knew was suffering through gay-bashing what could you do as an individual or a group to help out?
How could schools/families/friends help prevent these tragic events?

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Why Me?

I don’t get it.

I just don’t get it.

Why me?

I mind my own business.

I stay out of their business.

Why me?

I’m so insignificant.

They are oh so significant.

Why me?

I don’t hurt a flea.

Yet they cause me to flee.

So why

I want them to stop.

But they never will stop.

So why?

I go ask my Dad.

And he really got mad.

He said:

It’s not about you.

And it’s all about them.

Just be.

It’s they who don’t get it.

But you’ve totally got it.

Just be.

Give them some space.

A chance to save face.

Just be.

Until then be strong.

It is they who are wrong.

Just be.

I tried to stop asking “why me”?

And I tried to simply “just be”.

You know?

On some days I’m strong.

Feel someday I’ll belong.

You know?

On days when that just doesn’t work.

I feel such a pitiful jerk.

You know?

They still do not get it.

But they think that they’ve got it.

You know?

Because I’m intact.

Doing better in fact,

Since rising above all that shit.

Topics for Discussion:

  • Why is it so helpful to enlist the aid of an adult? Did this parent help? What else could he have done?
  • How can you decide who has the problem? Me or him/her? How does this help you deal with the situation?
  • What is a “strong sense of self” and how can that help you navigate social interactions?

Activities:

  • Try imagining the scenario, following the poem and plot your anxiety levels on graph paper.Using a red pencil, crayon or marker, scribble your response to the poem on a long, blank sheet of paper. Try to read a trend from your scribble.
  • Describe a bullying situation and then write a list of adjectives to describe the emotions both the bully and the victim might feel. Do any of the adjectives coincide?

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What shall I do about Carla McFee?
The girl is truly getting to me.
All her mocking and taunting.
To face her is daunting.
Tormenting me gives her such glee

At night in my bed,
You know what I do?
I imagine her dead,
And suffering too.

I inflict on her torture.
She’s tied to a stake.
The flames singe and scorch her.
Her insides, they bake.

Or …

I know what to say,
And I use a firm tone.
And lo and behold,
She leaves me alone.

But …

Back at my school,
Our roles are reversed.
I forget all the lines,
That I’ve tried to rehearse.

My mouth goes so dry,
And my heart is aflutter.
Not one of those words,
Do I manage to mutter.

It’s all I can do,
Not to break down and cry,
I stammer, I stutter.
I feel I shall die.

What shall I do about Carla McFee?
I’ll ask my Grampa.
He’s wise as can be
He says …

Although it feels good to dream of her torture,
It really won’t stop her abuse.
You need to put your imagination,
To more constructive use.

The next time Carla starts taunting again,
Protect yourself from the pain.
Imagine you’re wearing a rubber skin.
Her insults bounce off you in vain.

She’d love you to cry.
Or to show a reaction.
She mustn’t be given,
That grim satisfaction.

Just hold you head high,
And show no dismay.
Look her straight in the eye.
And walk calmly away.

So …

The next day, Carla was at it again;
She ridiculed how I was dressed.
I imagined I put on my rubber skin,
And I managed to feel less stressed.

I kept my cool and looked at her calmly,
As if not a thing was amiss.
I walked away and said to her simply.
“I haven’t got time for this”

It took a few weeks until Carla got bored,
Of seeing me so unperturbed.
Her mocking and jeering I simply ignored.
I managed to seem undisturbed.

The memories continue to haunt me,
That I cannot deny.
So then I go to see Grampa,
I have a little cry.

If you should meet a Carla McFee,
Remember Grampa’s advice.
I don’t know why it has to be.
Why can’t we all be nice?

by Andrea Wilson

Topics For Discussion:

  • Is the desire for revenge healthy? What could be the results?
  • How does anxiety manifest itself? What can provide relief?
  • It is important to seek advice and assistance from adults. Why?
  • Define coping mechanisms. Explore ones which are effective and appropriate. Which aren’t?
  • It is possible to defuse a bully. What can happened when a bully doesn’t get a reaction? What attitudes (verbal and non-verbal) might suggest to a bully that a victim isn’t reacting? What is the bully likely to do? Has he/she learned anything?
  • When is it not advisable to cry, and when is it safe to do so?

Classroom Activities:

  • In groups of three, re-enact the story.
  • Draw illustrations for the poem.
  • Practice adopting a nonchalant attitude and using phrases intended to defuse (and not provoke) a bully.
  • Expand upon the story. Adopting the role of the Grand-Father, brainstorm a list of other advice and coping mechanisms.

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[first draft, needs work]

In the middle of the hall stands Big Bruce Halliday.
Looking very handsome as he swaggers to and fro.
Teachers all admire his charming personality.
They don’t see he’s putting on a show.

But it’s after school he wields his cool authority.
Intimidating, threatening until he gets his way.
That’s how Bruce maintains superiority.
Not a sole would dare to disobey.

Now meet Fran Wright, she’s as mean as she is cunning.
Just be careful not to anger her or make her jealous.
Next thing you will notice, she’ll be gossiping and shunning.
A schemer, she is cruel and overzealous.

Somehow grown-ups don’t notice her manipulate.
They don’t hear her insults or her taunts.
One small thing I would really like to stipulate:
This is precisely what she wants.

And then there’s Crystal Bergman. She is cool and so collected.
One wouldn’t think she knew what feelings were.
Oftentimes her actions go completely undetected.
But hurting other girls is kicks for her.

Why is it that grown-ups do not notice she’s malicious?
Why can’t they see the wounds, the scars, the tears?
Crystal’s very careful to be oh, so surreptitious.
The girl is so much more than she appears.

Take a look at that. There’s Old Bruce Senior.
Did you see him raise his fist and start to shout?
“No kid of mine cries! What’s this behavior?
You want a bruise to really cry about?”

Around the corner storms mean Mrs. Wright.
She’s yelling at her daughter. Fran is sucking on her thumb.
“Can’t you do a single thing right?
How could you be so dumb?”

Young Miss Bergman was once a happy girl.
Who knows what happened to Crystal?
One day her life just started to unfurl.
Eventually it ended with a pistol.

by Andrea Wilson

Topics for Discussion:

  • There are many types of bullies. Some are confident bullies with big egos and violent tendencies. Other are cold and heartless bullies who appear insensitive and vicious. Still other are social bullies who love to taunt and spread rumors and gossip. A bullied bully is himself a target and seeks relief from feelings of powerlessness by lashing out at weaker individuals. A hyperactive bully struggles socially and reacts aggressively to any provocation. How would you describe the three bullies in the poem?
  • A person isn’t born a bully. What factors can contribute to the development of bullying tendencies?
  • What is empathy? How can empathy help?

Classroom Activities:

  • In small groups, research news reports of some of the more tragic incidents of bullying. (For example: Columbine High School, Littleton Colorado, 1999; Reena Virk, Victoria, BC, 1997; Hamed Nastih, Surrey, BC, 2000; Dawn Marie Wesley, Mission, BC, 2000; Emmet Fralick, Halifax, NS, 2002)
  • As a class, discuss how bullying can result in retaliatory homicide and suicide. What could be done to avoid such tragic outcomes? Brainstorm a mission statement for you class to help address this issue.

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I sit here in the lunchroom,
And chomp my ham and cheese.
I smell the scent of mushroom.
The gang begins to tease.

“Your spring rolls have sprung.
Your bean curd’s a turd.
Your dumplings are dung.
And you’re such a nerd.”

Her name is Ming Ma Wong.
She’s eating egg drop soup.
Her eyes look sadly woe begone.
Her shoulders start to droop.

I catch a waft of Parmesan.
The gang has smelled it too.
They soon devise a master plan.
While watching Tony chew.

“Cannelloni, minestrone,
Fettuccine and linguine,
Pannetonne. Tell me Tony,
Do you think you’re Mussolini?

Tony looks so devastated.
Garlic fills the room.
That smell cannot be understated.
Taunting will resume.

“Paté de foie and basilic,
Les Crèpes and croque monsieur …
You call this food? It makes me sick.”
Martin exclaims, << Mon Dieu! >>

There soon arrives an odor,
A smell I can’t define.
No matter what the flavor,
The gang will realign.

The new boy’s called Masaki.
He loves to eat his Nori,
His Sushi and Shiitaki,
And Tofu Yakitori.

The gang surrounds Masaki.
I watch as they regroup.
“Teriyaki, Sukiyaki.
What the heck is Miso Soup?”

The foods all smell so good to me.
The gang is so unkind.
I really have to disagree.
I’m of another mind.

So …

Tomorrow I will ask my mom,
To hold the ham and cheese.
I’d prefer …

Sauerkraut, Moussaka,
Baklava, Tofu,
Strudel and Frittata,
Couscous and pistou …

I won’t be in a hurry.
I’ll look them in the eye,
While savoring my curry.
They will not make me cry,

If that gang should come along,
I’m ready. I’ll be braced.
They will not faze me with their song.
I’ll ask them, “Want a taste?”

by Andrea Wilson

Topics For Discussion:

  • This poem is about inter-racial bullying. Why is being different perceived as a bad thing? What is prejudice?
  • Verbal harassment can hurt every bit as much as a punch or a kick. What can be done about it? What attitude does the narrator propose to take if harassed? What is likely to happen if a bully doesn’t get the reaction he is seeking?
  • What qualities does the narrator display?

Classroom Activities:

  • Make a drawing to illustrate an incident of inter-racial bullying, either personal or global.
  • Taking a stand when you witness an injustice takes courage. Write a brief account of an incident you witnessed which you found to be unfair or unkind. What could you or did you do to intervene? When would it be ill-advised to intervene? If you can’t remember an event, feel free to invent a story.
  • Imagine a world in which everyone is the same. Write a brief description. Would you like to live in that world?

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Fist punch.
Foot crunch.
Hand hit.
Mouth spit.
Eye swells.
Can’t see.
Please,
Please,
Let me be.

Rips my homework.
Steals my money.
Grabs my lunch.
Thinks it’s funny.

I won’t tell, I swear I won’t.
Please don’t do that. I said “Don’t!”

Sticks and stones may break my bones …
Sissy
Prissy
Four-eyes
Geek
Fatso
Schizo
Nerdy
Freak
… but names can really hurt.

Through the doors.
Up the stairs.
Face is bloody.
No one cares.

In the washroom.
Clean up the mess.
I’ll be safe
Until … recess.

by Andrea Wilson

Topics for discussion:

  • Is the bully in the poem a boy or a girl? Which type of bullying do boys engage in more frequently? And girls?
  • Everyone is familiar with the chant “Sticks and stones”. Do you agree that names can never hurt? What damage can name-calling do?
  • Bullies take advantage of an imbalance of power between themselves and the victim. Discuss why a bully hits someone and what effect it has on him/her.

Classroom Activities:

  • Brainstorm situations where an imbalance of power can lead to abuse. Put on skits to demonstrate those situations.
    Try using onomatopoeia to describe a scenario involving physical bullying.
  • Pretend you come upon the child in the washroom at the end of the poem. What advice and/or assistance could you offer?
  • Draw an abstract picture which depicts fear.

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Monday his homework was torn into shreds.
Tuesday it took him an hour to come home.
And he said:
I found another route.

Wednesday his jacket was ripped and maimed.
Thursday he needed a very big snack.
And he claimed:
I lost my lunch money.

Friday he limped and had blood on his knee.
Saturday he wouldn’t answer the phone.
He told me:
I want to be alone.

Sunday he’s lying awake in his bed.
Monday’s tomorrow. I won’t go, he says,
Full of dread:
I won’t go back to school.

Day after day, many things were amiss.
He needs to tell me or I cannot help.
I ask this:
Please, can I help you, son?

by Andrea Wilson

Topics For Discussion:

  • Often bullying incidents are surrounded by a shroud of secrecy. Why is this?
  • The parent in the poem has recognized signs that his/her child is being bullied. What other clues might indicate this?
  • The parent wants to help. Should the child confide in his parents?
  • Sometimes another person who is aware of the situation needs to tell an adult, but children learn from a young age that being a “tattle-tale” is being a traitor.
  • What is the difference between tattling and telling? When is it the right thing to do? (Tattling gets the person in trouble. Telling gets the person out of trouble)

Classroom activities:

  • Divide the blackboard into two columns. Brainstorm two corresponding lists: What the parent could do to help the child. What would make the situation worse?
  • Imagine a short scenario which ends with someone telling an adult about what has transpired. The class takes a vote on whether this is tattling or telling. This can be done verbally or on paper.

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