Numerous students, faculty, staff and Hattiesburg community members have noticed the man with the long, black coat and pale face.
Meet Joshua Barnes, a 25-year-old Hattiesburg native who carries a passion for who he is and what he aspires to be.
Barnes proves that his personality is just as interesting as his eye- catching appearance.
He takes online courses at Pearl River Community College and is often seen sitting in front of a computer in Cook Library on campus.
Barnes spends his free time pondering ideas for his next ingenious poem. People may have heard of screamo or hardcore punk bands that emerged in the 1990s and represent the emo genre. Barnes writes emo poetry, which can be defined as emotionally provocative poetry. Barnes’ particular brand of emo poetry discusses topics that are difficult to communicate with most people.
Themes are centered on dark, sometimes painful emotions. Barnes said that he is a “hostage in the light,” meaning that he lives in a world where his true personality goes unrecognized. He dresses the way he does to make a statement and to be who he truly wishes to be. “My look (is) my lyrics and poems,” Barnes said. “I’m a dark atmosphere.”
He expresses his desire for darkness by avoiding social interaction with people, whom he believes are far from understanding of him and his style. Saying that this world is “visionless,” Barnes wants to expose people with his own vision.
“This world is only about sex, racism, fashion, money and popularity,” Barnes said. “It’s why they only see my outer look but can’t see me. I’m on the other side. I’m so far gone.”
Barnes writes poetry he described as intense—that is to say, it is meant to either offend the reader or relate to the reader.
“My poems are thoughts and feelings, not strips,” Barnes said.
Barnes has been writing poetry since high school, when he started to transform his outer appearance, dressing in all black in order to embrace his melancholic side.
“People reacted in fear and disbelief, but all I felt was emptiness,” Barnes said.
Junior psychology major Ivry Rayborn attended Hattiesburg High School with Barnes and would occasionally see him.
“I think he dresses that way because he’s really into goth music and wants to emulate the goth bands,” Rayborn said.
Barnes created a poetry album in September called “Crawling from Hell” and continues to work on free-verse pieces of gothic metal poetry.
His all-white face, long black coat and cornrowed braids are a reflection of his art.
“I think people spend too much time focusing on what he has on sometimes,” Rayborn said.
“The dark side of life is my replacement for the world, because I’m something naturally hated by the world,” Barnes said.
Barnes rarely shows his poems to people, but an inside scoop of his work is featured above. Barnes finds beauty in the darkness he surrounds himself with, saying that his entire world is a dark atmosphere.
“I’m a unique individual who does what he thinks and feels,” Barnes said.
Individuality is a major motive motive in Barnes’ life, and he expresses it in ways most others would not. “The purpose of being an individual is about being yourself and finding your own way, not trying to be someone or something that you’re not,” Barnes said.“If I like chocolate cake and the world likes strawberry cake, then I’m not going to stop liking what I like just (to) please them. I am who I am.”
Barnes believes that his attitude is not what the public wants and that it is the reason people have little faith in him.
He will not reform to societal norms and be like everybody else and is determined to continue being the outcast in society that he wants to be.
In his poems, Barnes writes “I will” and “I will not” as a way to express how he plans to endure daily struggles and situations without making the same mistakes again.
“The reason I keep my poems so basic and simple is so that you can easily remember them as you would a song, and so you can feel the emotion,” Barnes said.
Not only does Barnes express his creativity with a pen, but also with his voice. He incorporates his poetry into songs with a vocal style known as screamo.
“The greatest part about being me is that I’m way on the other side,” Barnes said. “People are knocking, but my soul’s in darkness. Nothing’s on this earth. It’s about me not being able to relate to the world’s ways and me asking them to keep saying negative things to me to keep my inner darkness alive.”
The ravenheart! I will slither over the edge, I’ll spread this loathing in a million red roses, I will not become undone and frozen, I will not be buried in burials, I’m the callous to your prayers, I’m the thorn, the ravenheart… I will adore my impaled paleness, I will breathe through the malcontent, I will not lose myself in this V shape of pain, I won’t let go of this firestorm that protects me from you, I’m the callous to your prayers, I’m the thorn, the ravenheart… I will write the writings on the wall, I will smell the poison so totalitarian, I won’t take this venomous persecution, I will not lie these flowers on your faith, I’m the ravenheart to your territorial ghetto, I’m the ravenheart to your great white hope, white smiles, I’m impaled in the race, I’m the callous to your prayers, I’m the thorn, I’m the ravenheart.
-Poem by Joshua Barnes