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Passing the Mic: 5 Student Poets Share Their Work

In honor of National Poetry Month, we are sharing new work from five Charlotte-based student poets

Sitting at a table and writing with a pen

By Sara-Kay Mooney

April 30, 2021

We connected with incredible student poets at Charlotte Lab School. We’re grateful to alum Ellen Rayburn (Charlotte-Piedmont Triad ‘10), a middle school ELA teacher at Charlotte Lab, for introducing us to their work. You can read more from Charlotte Lab Middle School student authors via their quarterly literary magazine, The Lab Voice.


By Josiah Marcellin, an 8th grader at Charlotte Lab School

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

but the only word I see is disorder.

What does disorder mean?

Disorder means that your hair is not in order

or your quarter has a dent in it.

Or your cheeseburger has no cheese.

But I got everything I need.

I don't have any missing lettuce,

and I definitely don't have a dent in me.

I’m not different from anyone else

yeah sometimes I can't focus

or pull my ears like I'm an elf.

Yes sometimes I'm playing

and having fun with paper,

and yes I'm thirteen  years old

and want a lightsaber,

but I'm the same as everybody else.

 I can pay attention without medicine

and I can chill and not be hyper without supervision.

 You see me bouncing off the walls

but people need to listen

  and just see someone else's point of vision

that right there is my mission.  

Poet statement: I'm a 13-year-old boy in North Carolina and I'm proud of the progress I've made and I want to teach other kids that ADHD is no excuse.

The New Normal

By Addison, 8th grader at Charlotte Lab School

Did you hear about that disease in China? They say it came from bats. Yeah but

that’s oceans away.

Did you hear? It spread to New York. We’re fine, that’s still across the US.

Did you know they’re closing schools and most other places? We're going into

quarantine. Yay, no school! Plus I’m sure we’ll be back in a couple of weeks.

Hey, did you know we’re going to be doing online school? Oh, that’s cool, it will

be a lot more relaxing.

December 31, 2019, the first case.

January 21, 2020, it reached the US.

March 30, 2020. Quarantine. And look where we are.

A year later and schools aren’t fully back in session.

Restaurants and businesses failing.

People can’t go back to work, can’t earn money, can’t survive.

I want to see my friends. Covid.

I want to go to parties. Covid.

I want to travel. Covid.

I want a lot of things, but I don’t want others to fall ill because of me.

I don’t want people to lose their family and friends because of me.

So I continue staying at home, online school.

It’s draining really, sitting on the computer all day and not being able to see 


But it’s for the best right?

Then why is it still here?

Why does it loom over us watching our every move?

The ever-growing feeling of disease, sickness, and death.

The only safe place from this infectious game is home, but I’m going crazy at 


Get up, Breakfast, School, Lunch, More school, Tennis, Dinner, Bed, New day.

Slightly different but overall the same.

Repeat, week after week.

I just realized how much we repeat when there’s nothing to do.

Guess what I could be doing.

On a field trip at school.

Hanging out with friends talking about that new show.

Going to a birthday party.

Eat with my family.

But no, don’t think about what could have been, don’t reminisce on the past.

Don’t think about how much of my life I missed, we all missed.

Don’t think about the times before covid when everything was happier and


Don’t because it won’t change anything that happened


Put on a Mask

By Samantha, 8th Grader at Charlotte Lab School 

One month, two, three, now twelve. 

We simply ask that you just wear a mask. 

It’s easy for you Mr. 40 something your self-indulgent dilution propels your views. Your defense has no science. 

“My body my choice” you mock, disregarding the elderly, the immunocompromised, the chronically ill, the newly born. You say disregarding me because it’s not our choice. 

Yet you still scream that this is a scheme, ignoring the fact that people are out here dropping like flies. 

I’d like to see your degree before you come and tell me that what you see on tv is fake. 

And yes maybe it isn't human nature to stay inside all day, but this would all just go away if you simply put on a mask. 

Two and a half million dead. Still, you deny, deny, deny about a document you do not understand. No school, no work. Almost 1/10th of my life sitting inside waiting for common sense to hit you. 

So Mr. Frat boy, gym girl. Six feet now too long has passed. 

We have waited for reason that has not appeared. 'Please just pull up your mask—that is all that I ask.'


We the People

By Jack, 8th grader at Charlotte Lab School

Dissented and unprecedented. Our community needs unity more than ever. The United

States has remained the number one superpower, but not for long if it’s up to those in the

High Tower. Our founding fathers wanted us to love and support each other, not divide

and undermine each other. Free speech has bitten its tongue, the constitution declared

unconstitutional, the government not governing the House, while the people lay

censored with a click of a mouse. Patriotism over fascism, echoing speech over the

stillness of silence. Capitalism over socialism, stop playing this game of defiance.

Communism, totalitarianism: the destroyers of nations. There is a slippery slope down

to total annihilation. The First Amendment in jeopardy, cancel-culture rampant; big

tech has all the power, this is not America’s finest hour. While hopeless it may seem,

believe in America, not the media whose lies and propaganda supports their false

narrative and own agenda. The statues and bells of liberty and determination ring out

our true due admiration, and this is what we pledge: Conspiracy is evil and evil is

wrong, but democracy is freedom and freedom is strong. We are a republic of

representation and just want to be heard. The corruption of our nation and our rights is

absurd. We are the land of the free and the home of the brave. The foundations of this

country were meant to withstand a tidal wave of tyranny against liberty’s homeland. We

remember our heroes who protected and served in this era of disrespect which is so

undeserved. The citizens of this sovereign split state cannot debate the fixing of this

country cannot wait. We must be true to the red, white, and blue, the spangled banner

bursting through in the night’s gleaming twilight. Like a ship sailing across the seven

starry shining seas the states can only stay surfaced if we all somewhat agree. To live, to

prosper, to pursue our happiness, we must push past this internal dividedness. “WE

THE PEOPLE,” a beacon of light, pledge our loyalty to the flag and the fight: one

nation, against division and injustice, for all.

Poet statement: This poem is meant to be a spoken word piece. It is intentionally not written in stanzas, as I personally think line breaks are not needed.

Dreaming My Thoughts 

By Skye, 8th grader at Charlotte Lab School 

I look into my white-bordered-looking glass and scrutinize my adolescent face unable to recognize the person looking back at me. What does it mean to grow old? Is it to slowly see everyone we’ve loved go away? Is it to feel the life slowly slipping away at your fingertips knowing you can't do anything about it? Just yesterday, I was the little girl playing till dusk with kids I barely knew. I am getting older now. Just yesterday, I was an eager little girl who wanted to do everything and go everywhere. I am getting older now. It seems as if I am constantly contemplating calling my childhood chamber. Wishing I could turn back time to when I would walk into my dimly lit childhood kitchen watching my mom dance as my homemade meal burns in the black-bordered oven. 

All I have ever wanted to do was grow up and do what my mom did; go out whenever I wanted, eat whatever I wanted, drink whatever I wanted. But, now that I'm a little bit older, I can't help but turn my shoulder. I remember the things I’ve never said, the feelings I kept hidden inside me that even I forgot they were there. 

People always say life goes by in a blink of an eye. I can't help but feel that that is a lie. People want me to be prepared for the near future, I am scared because mine is unclear. Some things are just too big for me to see, some things are just impossible for me to ever be. 

I may never know what it means to grow up; but maybe growing old is to learn and make mistakes, see your loved one grow up, and travel the world. Maybe growing up is like a one-way street: you keep moving forward and don't look back. I have waited so long to be older; perhaps I should try to enjoy being less colder.