The first line of a long poem
Without the courage to finish
Can I turn what has been a part
Of life for more than sixty years

Bullied both as boy and man
I was victim of the others
But was I victim of myself
Holding a place carved out for me

And yes I became a bully
Grew into their grey grained pattern
Took up their flag too easily
Let myself become something else

Discovered I was a bully
Perpetrator or still victim
In the middle or holding both
One I have all but given up

My bully is let out rarely
And then I argue it’s only
When justified and called upon
Forceful necessary not kind


I strive not to release my bully
Know the pleasure sensing his pulse
Touch the dark place wherein he grew
Feel the power within my words

And those experiencing this
Alone can say for them what is
What is in their experience
Are they bullied are they victims

Victim I will no longer be
I will cut these chains that hold me
Unknot the ropes that bind me tight
Use the only resource I have

Words have always been my weapon
And now they must become my means
Not sticking in my throat I taste
The word forgive within my mouth

I do forgive them their actions
Grandparent teacher even priest
And I forgive them their words
Boys and men colleagues and bosses


And I forgive them everything
However hard it is to say
I put this down and walk away
I leave this here and walk away

I leave this but they don’t leave me
Memory cannot be chosen
Each moment every time still lives
Ingrained within my DNA

Though not changed within the letters
It has altered in the writing
Laid on stem cells within my soul
I do forgive but not forget

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