The Harbinger Online

Featured Artist: Leo Niehorster-Cook

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Q: What made you decide to write poetry? Was it something you planned on doing or did it just pop up?

A: I never really planned planned on doing it. Like you said, it just kinda popped up. I guess at some point, I use to write songs on the guitar, my rhymes stopped working so I just converted it to poetry.

Q: How many poems have you written and where do you find your inspiration for them?

A: Just whatever is going on in my life. Most of my poems are personal poems but I have written some political poems, and other subjects as well. It’s just whatever is happening. I don’t go into some deep mental trance to find inspiration. My poems just come to me in the same way people just play football.

Q: Who is your favorite poet and what impact did he/she have on your poetry?

A: Edgar Allen Poe I gotta say. He hasn’t impacted my rhythm or rhyme of technical writing much but he has definitely affected my content. He is a very dark poet as you know but he finds humor in his darkness at times. My favorite poem of his is The Beating Heart or something along those lines. It is a poem about a guy who is just insane and has just killed someone and hears his beating heart on the floor yet its funny when you listen to it. It has this dark sense of humor that I think I have adapted into my way of writing.

Q: In what ways has poetry affected your life? Are you more open about expressing your feelings or better at getting across what you want to say?

A: It definitely helps me convey my emotions about certain topics better where that is hard to do with just words. When I’m performing, my poetry is predominantly spoken word, so when I’m performing I can take liberties with what I’m saying. I get to choose when to be passionate or when to be quiet and express more with my tone.

Q: Where do you see you taking poetry? College? A career?

A: I don’t really have a plan for it yet, it’s more of a hobby at this point. Ideally I would like to write for a long time but I have a lot of passions and I can’t do everything.

Q: Do you feel poetry opens you up to more things in life and allows you to see and understand more about it?

A: Absolutely, some topics nowadays are not socially acceptable to talk about but if you write them in poetry then it is considered art and everyone is okay with it.

Q: Where do you find all this time to write your poems with your school work and other hobbies? Do your poems take a long time to write?

A: Different amount. Usually what I will do is have a rhyme in my head. For example I was rhyming election with predilection and so I was thinking about that and trying to think about a context in which that would fit. And that doesn’t take much time at all because i can do it whenever and that usually happens walking from class to class. And then overtime i will find context for it and actually write the poem. So whatever thoughts I have I just have to write down but i have the general framework thought out long before I write anything down. All I have to think about then is how to work in all the different rhymes. And because I can do all the planning and coming up with words and rhymes  walking from class to class it becomes just a matter of formatting. So overall it doesn’t take much time to write each poem.

“Youth Under Pressure”

It’s quite upsetting to find I’m letting myself not thrive – things aren’t quite going my way. The flowing fear’s only growing near as the school year begins, a fool here and there. From pool beer to crack-cocaine, a searing pain in our society gives crippling anxiety to the piling problems of our youth. The truth is that we’re farsooth; a toothache nowadays is called psychological, and illogical diagnoses from a tautological prognosis. Students are stressed; they’re depressed, focused on how they’re dressed. Feeling oppressed, it’s no wonder that we struggle. A couple of bubbles popped, so we hopped until the education stopped – white marks under arms and long sleeves in the summer, I st- st- stutter and mumble as a stuck-out leg tumbles me to the ground. I look ‘round and no one will care. School’s got an air of safety, but the environment hates me and as a panic attack sets in I rack my brains for a way out. I finally realize that it’s no surprise that rings under eyes are so common. The prize of the highest suicide rate in ages; we grew inside to let our emotions stew aside from logical thought as we mentally rot in this melting pot that we call high school.

“Trust, or as they say, Carelessness”

I sat down to the wood table with my friend who was quite unstable and we discussed her being so unable to see through a clear fable that I would now label her as gullible. So entranced was I with the intensity and the expanse, that is, the immensity of the stories that deceived I wondered if I myself believed or if she was having at my expense a cheap laugh. She told me of the lies that she once bought until my eyes finally caught that her hands were shaking in the making of her speech. I asked “Are you okay?” and she replied “Not quite, today” and we we had a cry about the lie which concerned her. I knew her trust was rattled and the demons which she battled would give her disheart and a part of her wanting to start distrusting her friends as a means to an ends of protecting herself from us all. I spoke out against liars, against fighting fire with fire, and eventually we start to tire. As we head to sleep a thought starts to creep into my head on my bed tonight. The light is now dimmed, but from the way that she grinned, my whole world was lit up and a twirled blanket up around her small frame in the dark.

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