Writing poetry helps 14-year-old Jaeda Liddell handle pent-up emotions. She gives voice to the anxieties and concerns of an entire generation.

 This article, by high school student Jaeda Liddell, was produced out of News Decoder’s school partnership program. Jaeda is a student at The Thacher School, a News Decoder partner institution. Learn more about how News Decoder can work with your school.

In Gen Z, we are often known for not respecting our elders, always being on our phones, being dangerously complicated and having too many new genders, sexualities and lifestyles. We are thought of in this way but then expected to lead the country when they leave.

In reality, I’ve met too many people who have dealt with traumatic things before the age of 10 years old. My friends and I have had to grow up way too fast, but they still force us to shut up and just stay “happy.” I know so many people who have had their innocence and their childhood stripped away from them.

I originally started writing because I had so many pent up emotions and I didn’t know how to handle them. I enjoy writing because It has helped me become so much better in communicating what I’m feeling. When I write, I usually am speaking to myself but also speaking directly to people who have hurt me or to people who know they are at fault.

My writing is best when I write with no filter and just spill out all my thoughts. My writing only flows when I am in a very emotional place. Sometimes, when I read my work aloud again, I can’t even recognize who it was that was feeling those emotions.

All of my poetry has one common theme, that I am not just a child who is ignorantly happy but I met the real world very early and it is okay to be sad and angry. These emotions are inside everyone, whether you like it or not.

– Jaeda Liddell

Vending Machine


Beep beep beep

Come to the vending machine to buy
Her time

Beep beep beep

Come to the vending machine to buy
Her life

Beep beep beep

Come to the vending machine to buy
Her happiness

Beep beep beep

This is a machine for the world to buy her
Don’t worry about her feelings, thoughts, or ambitions

This is a machine for the world to buy her
She is valuable, but worthless

This is a machine for the world to buy her
Take everything out but don’t pay her a dime

Beep beep beep

Sorry, machine is out of order

Listen to Jaeda Liddell recite ‘Vending Machine‘.

The clouds


The rain clouds that cover the bright sky
That don’t quite rain
As if they’re so full of the burdens
but not full enough

On the brink of rain
on the brink of pouring
But they just sit there in a stalemate
Of painful darkness

The clouds that were once;
white, pure, Clean, undeterred
Now, dark, disturbed and gray

And it seems no matter that view point from the outside world,
It looks the same

And it seems that the clouds carry this burden for miles

And it seems that over Time the clouds get so heavy they finally burst

But when it does rain,
will it create a time for children to play
a sense of happiness,
a sense of release,

Or will it create a hurricane
and uproot everything from its stability
and shake the ground until nothing is left

So the real question is, what happens when the heavy cloud breaks free?

Listen to Jaeda Liddell recite ‘The clouds‘.

Dear creator of the world,


Would the end of the world really be so bad?

Would wiping out the entire human race be so bad?

Don’t humans deserve to pay for their crimes against themselves?

But don’t the future generations of the world deserve a clean slate?

To not have to just figure out how to deal with the wreckage that we left behind?
And not have to continue to pay for the mistakes of those before them?

We should break the cycle
Erase the hatred
The racism
The sexism
The killings
The pollution
The tears

Can we just restart in a world where there was no more pain?

No, it’s not possible

Because the world is pure, it’s the people that are flawed

And everyone would be better off
if they never knew they existed

So i hope the people in the other galaxies,
are having a better shot at compassion

Listen to Jaeda Liddell recite ‘Dear creator of the world,‘.

Three questions to consider:

  1. ‘Vending Machine’ – Why do people believe they can take so much out of young people/women and not give anything in return?
  2. ‘The Clouds’ – Is something breaking free from its cage always a good thing?
  3. ‘Dear creator of the world,’ – Thinking of all the flaws of our world and how long we have been trying to fix it, would a restart really be so bad?

Jaeda Liddell is a 14-year-old student at The Thacher School in the U.S. state of California. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, she has lived in Arizona, Florida and Virginia, and also in Cuba. She started writing poetry four years ago and says it allows her to focus on her hobbies “and figure out who I am.” She enjoys playing volleyball and basketball, and loves music and art. “When I think of my future, I honestly just imagine myself finally speaking out on everything that’s happened to me through writing and no longer being scared of showing my deepest thoughts.”

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CultureArtMy poetry has a common theme: It is ok to be sad and angry.