“Heart broken by a screen” : The struggles of a poet in the modern age

Jahmani Sterling senior, football player, and track standout reveals his poetic side.

Chloe Walchesky, Social Media Editor

Typically high school students learn about poetry as a lesson and then never pursue it again. That’s not the case for senior football player and track standout Jahmani Sterling. In his free time, Sterling writes poetry and sketches in a small notebook that he carries in his pocket.

Senior Jahmani Sterling smiling for the camera at the Espresso Shoppe on August 29th, 2020. Sterling previously performed at an open mic night in the very spot the photo was taken. “I wasn’t nervous at all preforming here for the first time,” said Sterling. (Chloe Walchesky)

“You let yourself get hurt by not healing,” Sterling wrote this opening line in his poem, “Modern Love”. Sterling’s mother is fond of poetry which led to his interest in the genre. 

The first time Sterling performed poetry was at age 7. Since then, he has performed in front of his language arts class and during open mic night at the Espresso Shoppe.

In the summer of 2018, Sterling’s family moved from Jamaica to the United States. He said poetry has been part of the Jamaican culture for a very long time. While in boarding school Sterling would write letters and pass notes instead of texting peers. “Words are beautiful when they are on paper,’ he said.

For Sterling, being in an environment where he wasn’t relying on his phone helped with writing verse. He believes in the States, poetry sometimes is viewed as a feminine act rather than an art form. 

Sterling wants to relate to people and express how he is feeling on a deep level. “I want my message to be heard and for people to be happy,” he said. 

Heartbroken by a screen. Beauty not appreciated but abused. Modern love hurts. Yes my love, again you’ve been used. Honesty, Appreciation, Romance, and trust are all the aspects they had but for how long. You let yourself get hurt by not healing. You were beautiful even when they stopped saying it. You felt as if everyone you had a relationship with was bad when you were the one attracted to toxic traits. You want to be alone but cry when are not invited. Tired of being sad but make no effort to be happy. You lied to everyone until you started to believe them yourself. You keep having these perpetual thoughts that everything is going to change when you know it’s a lie. But you’re not broken, this is not your fault. Blame it on modern love.

Sterling said he feels deeply, so he expresses himself by trying to make words come to life.

“I have different ways of expressing myself,” he said. “I do it through sports, art and poetry.”

Since Sterling moved to the U.S., he insists that those around him must be interested in his poetry or they wont click as friends.

 “If I go to a college where poetry is more appreciated, I’d probably perform in the poetry or drama club.”