Open Mic

For their eleventh virtual poetry lesson Haugan 8th graders revisited some of their old poems they wrote since the beginning of our residency. Our lesson objective was to revise and edit poems for open mics. Open mics are events usually held at nightclubs, coffee houses, and comedy clubs where amateur and seasoned performers can share their work.  Students watched YouTube videos of my friend Marvanna Cash performing musical and spoken word monologues from her one woman show “Dream Kween.”  Marvanna trained at Second City, a renowned theatre school in Chicago. Students noticed how she seemed funny, confident, and positive while on stage.

Together we also read the poem “Mic Check,” by Zetta Elliott. In the spoken the speaker is getting ready to perform their poem at an open mic. At the beginning she seems nervous and unsure of herself. If my words don’t rhyme /will you take the time to learn/ or must I earn your attention/ with lyrical pretension? But she soon gains confidence by embracing her uniqueness as an artist and speaking her truth to the audience. I can’t rank emcees/ and won’t try to appease the poetry police/my words are plain/my message direct. Poems are not meant to be hidden but shared with the world. Yet it takes practice and preparation to feel comfortable on stage.

Inspired by Marvanna Cash and Zetta Elliott, students completed their own “mic checks.” They tuned up their old poems by removing weak unnecessary lines and adding colorful figurative language. Please enjoy these new and improved published poems.


Ms. Thomas 8th Grade
Group 1


By Crystal C.

We both have the same family we do?… YES we do!
We both like math not that much but we still like it
We both look alike because they are always saying you both have glasses
They also be saying you look more like your mother no your father
We are always fighting like cats and dogs and after we are happy?
We both live in the same house? Oh we do
And a important thing we both wanna be something in life
But my brother copy me because I want to be a Doctor and he say” ME TOO”


Open Mic
By Brayan R.

This is a voice that you could hear miles away
This is a voice that came from my Latino race.
This is a voice that is hidden by a mask

A kind of voice that can be used for
Going for your dreams
A voice like Martin Luther King Jr

A voice that is wind that shatters my window
A voice that is powerful
A voice that can be high and low
A voice that can explode a volcano
A voice that helps others
A voice that can change someone’s life
A voice that could talk for others

This voice can be see
And listen for those who is in need


By Alessandro Z.

Messi Messi
The number ten
Stronger then men
Messi Messi
When you retire you will
Rage like fire what you will admire
The fun will expire….
Messi Messi Messi The king
You will need to bring
A new thing
You cant sing
Who will be your right-wing
You will need to think
Messi Messi Messi



Ms. Thomas 8th Grade
Group 2


By: Ingrid H.

She sits Adjacent to me…
Wearing a Black turtleneck shirt…
Captivating Grey eyes
as Luminous as Steel-
Striking Soft smile
as she Gazes through the Upon-
a Sage colored Flowy Skirt that
Dances with the Rhythm of the
Swaying Trees..
So Delighted
and so Jubilant-
Nothing but the Lively and Bright
Around Me…
the Blissful Smile
that Graces my Face
the Euphoric and Joyful
Coming to No End…

listening to her Soft and Steady
Heart Beat that
Mimics my own…
Fixating a Glance to
her Long, Regal, hair, Billowing
like the Refined dresses
I wear in Summer…
the Pulchritudinous
of Ease-
so Thrilled and Ecstatic…

Ease stares at the world Beyond..
No Worries..
No Tension..
No Problems..
Nothing but Relief..
the Simplicity of Alleviation
Soothing the Mind
and the Serenity of the Soul
Nothing but Tranquility…


By Valeria R.

She… she eats you day by day
She takes something from you everyday;
No matter how much you run
She WILL find herself back to you
You feed her day by day
Every fear you have is a pastry for her…
Anxiety loves black shirts, black joggers, black hoodies
Everything baggy is her favorite
Bagginess helps her insecurities
Guess who her friend is…
It’s Anti-social!!!!
Anxiety laughs at me…
Just like her friends once did
One day will

She hates people…
Why are they looking at me?
I think we can leave;
We can come back on a better day…


Pain & Loneliness
By Alejandro S.

Loneliness, and pain..
They both follow me,.. “All the time” loneliness sits next to me in class,..
He “Never” looks away… “It Creeps me out” with his eyes focused only on me…
Like a tiger observing his prey,…
Not even when the teacher is explaining,.. “He still looks at me”
Then he follows me home…“All the time”
Like an (annoying shadow)… That you are trying to leave behind,..
Then pain comes out of nowhere… “KNOCKING ME”… Making my body hit the ground…
Just like how a bullet hits a wall,..
“I stand up” “I fought”,.. But they were too strong…
“Pain”… He grabbed me through my neck,..
Blocking my flow of confidence,.. “Making me doubt myself”…
He made me know his pain,.. While loneliness just watched…
….And “smiled”….
They both seemed to enjoy watching me,..
Watching me be in pain..
Then they just left.. They leaved me like dismantled car
Laying down in the sidewalk.,, all alone
Then I thought about my life,.. It seemed they did more than just have fun…
But… they,… they make me open my eyes..
No one came for me…
Not even a single one of those who call themselves my friends..,
But I had nothing to do,.. But to stand up,..
I raised.. “Covered in blood and wounds”
Then I just followed my path..
I wondered about why didn’t anyone worry about me,..
Why didn’t anyone come out and look for me…
Why was I left for dispensable.,,
“Am a person too”
Till I come up with the answer,..
That in life You can’t always depend on others.,,
That in life,.. Between people you are easily dispensable…
You are easily forgotten…


Ms. Thomas 8th Grade
Group 3


Old moments
By Flor E.

At age 5 life was crazy
We all used to pick our buggers and lick them up
We used to always want that one toy
and cry for it and make our mom’s go insane
Also we used to run away naked from the bathroom to our room
Meanwhile your mom was stressed and ready to go off on you
We used to always blame your older sibling for all the problems you
did meanwhile your just standing there looking at them getting beat up by the belt
and the chancla
Unless your the older sibling….. which that sucks

Ate age 9 your mom was yelling at you to turn off the pot before the frijoles burn
It wasn’t your fault but you still took responsibility over it
The only reason why I went to school is because of my parents (mostly my mom)
Have they ever had a whole hour talk with you saying why you need to go to school
I swear there are 20 topics that pop up when she talks
Like we can go from why I need to go to school from her losing her cow
Remember does old days were you use to search for your mom’s purse but couldn’t find it
So you were scared to go back and tell her because you knew she was going to flip out
Your mom was your worst dream sometimes

Now your mom hasn’t changed at all
She’s still the same and it’s scary
Now we are always in our phones
Don’t you love that feeling when you and your friend are in a FaceTime call and you take
a really funny photo of her and send it to her
She will be like “OMG I hate you so much, DELETE IT NOW”
Not going to lie I expose my friends a lot and it makes me feel great for some reason
Our life is crazy and there is so many things happening at the same time
Sometimes you have to look at the positive side
You never know, it will make you form a little smile or a giggle


Justice’s Atrocious
By Evelyn P.

Dear justice whom is goddess of blindness
Which leaves all the black clouds run free
In the streets of the city
Run wild like wild bulls in Spain.

Dear justice also as goddess of freedom
Whom I rely on to help free the innocent
From culprits and let them run and enjoy their
Freedom as far as they can.

Justice is honesty
Trust in honesty
Truth is in trust

Truth is in love
That’s why it’ll set free.

Justice are handcuffs
Justice are prisons
Justice is a hollow cry
Justice is a bitter lie

But in the hands of a human
Justice is a noose.


I Didn’t Know
By Gena Q.

I should’ve never left you, I should’ve stayed
I couldn’t understand what my family were tryna to tell me
Just seeing you hearing you.. wanted me to
Hold your beautiful wrinkly hands even tighter

I can feel the whole room with sadness
I couldn’t understand why
Just you.. giving me you’re blessing
I felt a pain in my heart tries began rolling down my face
Not understanding You look so peaceful
I could’ve hold on tighter not letting you
But didn’t I didn’t know

I waited for you
to teach you addition tables and play cards
I waited.. I’ve learned the word heaven
And how our love ones stay in your hearts like angels



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.