Bystander This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 14, 2010
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I didn't know,
I didn't know,
I didn't know,
I am a bystander.

You guys all said
Boy, she is so strange
She walks like she
really needs a cane

Remember when
she brought a leotard last year
to practice?
Yeah, I remember that, you all said

Annoying, you called this girl
Stupid, you called this girl
You mimicked her dances, her looks, even her smile
And then I asked, after a while:

What? Who? Who is this girl?
She's over there
Let's go take a whirl
Come on Come on
It'll just be a second

Okay, I'll go say hi,
I thought as they beckoned.

Robot Girl was close, close enough to hear everything we said
when we approached her, she turned so white, she looked
nearly dead
and then a thought began to echo in my head
What am I doing?

My friends all laughed, they wouldn't let her pass
No teachers said anything, they knew it wouldn't last
the girl was just a girl, she wasn't in their class
and she was talking with her friends; they assumed, they didn't ask

The girl's eyelids were purple, dusty and lined.
as she burned her tormenter's faces into the darker parts of
her mind
And a gasp escaped my throat, I wanted to show a sign
That I was not one of them, I do not associate with their kind

And so a struggle came – and what was I to do?
I had been where that girl was before, I had lived it long
and through
so I was frozen between a line, not one way or the other
What had the girl done to my friends that made them hate another?
And when I was frozen, I could see her tears
running to her mom hoping we'd all just disappear
fear of coming to school tomorrow or maybe ever again
And as the bullies cheered, the people who were once my friends,
that's when I decided this was going to end.

I was a bystander. Not anymore.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 9 comments. Post your own now!

C.E.Roth said...
Feb. 9 at 8:58 pm
This is stunning and beautiful. It tells a story with amazing rhyme patterns and flowing poetry. I love it! It's also a piece with a good message
violin said...
Aug. 23, 2014 at 1:21 pm
Awesome! When I was bullied, no one cared. Everyone who was my friend was just a bystander. If your friend doesn't help you when your bullied, then they're not your real friend. I hate bystanders.
mplo replied...
Nov. 11, 2015 at 7:08 am
You're absolutely right, violin! One finds out who their friends really are in such situations.
angel_bunny said...
Sept. 9, 2013 at 3:42 pm
This is a beautiful peice of poetry. People really need to stand up to bullies and try to make things right.
mplo replied...
Nov. 11, 2015 at 7:10 am
Good point well taken, angel_bunny! People don't come to the defense of people who are being bullied often enough. Moreover, it often continues into adulthood, in the community and/or the workplace, which is even sadder.
rheame said...
Aug. 21, 2013 at 6:32 am
quite true.
GeenaElise said...
Feb. 9, 2013 at 2:01 am
Nice job!!!! :)
Taphephobia This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 4, 2011 at 6:47 pm
this is really good, it sounds a lot like what ive been thru if you're looking from the point of view of either main people, and it would be nice if you could check out some of my latest work if possible
all.alone.again4 said...
Jan. 27, 2010 at 5:23 pm
this is amazing. i love the description of what she sees when she is frozen at the end.
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