I Didn’t Know Why He Was Angry


I had this friend when I was a kid
He lived in a big house
And had a lot of toys
His dad drove a red convertible
And hand-loomed rugs in the basement

I didn’t see his mom there but she was
Didn’t see his parents much

One day he started to bully me
This went on for a few years
He got meaner and meaner
Then he became my friend again
It bothered me then it didn’t

He was a bit older and was what
Most would call a bad influence

Then I didn’t see him around
Heard that he stabbed a kid for
some unknown reason. He was in juvie they said
In the 70s, stabbing someone was the worst you did
Heard his dad left his mom

I didn’t know why he was angry
I never saw him again

Ran into an old, mutual friend
Said the kid tried to molest him
Said the kid told him he was gay
Just like his dad turned out to be
Was angry that his unsolicited advances were rejected

Then it clicked
Then I understood

I was thinking about him today
How hard it must have been
Why he was angry and lashed out
It wasn’t a tolerant time
It isn’t now, and I doubt it is any easier

I don’t know what happened to him
But I hope he is more comfortable in his own skin.

Life is too short not to be yourself.


13 thoughts on “I Didn’t Know Why He Was Angry”

  1. My husband works with emotionally disturbed teenagers. Some of them are gay and I think they’ve had a hard time accepting it and being accepted. I hope the day comes when it’s easier. You put it very well: people should be able to feel comfortable in their own skin and be themselves.

  2. My 13-year-old has been bullied since kindergarten, not for the reasons in your poem, but just because he’s gentle and sensitive and compassionate. Last year, I helped with a conference on bullying here in southern Oregon. It is rampant, whether it’s of children or adults, in school or the workplace. Your poem hits the mark. (And, I’m impressed you said 70s and not 70’s.)

    1. Thank you Melanie. I am encouraged by the level of discussion that I see today. I spent several years as a high school teacher and I dealt with many bullies in that time.

      It’s my hope that perhaps my poem might help someone at some point.

      1. I think awareness is the key, and that, at some point, we stop being bystanders and start standing beside those being bullied.

        Thank you, too, for “following” me.

  3. I was bullied AT HOME for 28 years. Still dealing with up and downs, but thank God I have a certain degree of resilience in my system. It seems you too!!! 😀 Poor guy, though. I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to live with an inner turmoil at such a young age!

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. When the concept of home is taken way and is not a safe place to be — that’s not something everyone survives. I am glad to hear that you had the strength to endure. I really appreciate you taking the time to comment. It just may help the next reader who comes upon this.

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