Poetry as Catharsis

by Jesse Frewerd

I am a veteran of the war in Iraq. I have been playing music for ten years and writing poetry for a little over two years now. Where my music is a little more hopeful in its essence, I think my poetry is more eclectic and cathartic—a means for me to vent. Poetry allows me to say more of what I want without being tied to musical time and meter. For instance, not needing to rhyme, using caesuras for an added effect, and just being free in form to get my thoughts out on paper. If I don’t say anything, it just festers inside me—the negativity. Then it manifests itself in different forms. The main goal for my poetry is for other vets to have someone to relate to. I’ve been there. I’ve seen hell, and these are the things we carry. Trust me. It will get better. It just takes time.

Press Play to Pause

A damaged internal combustion system muffles my drive,

Unleashing chemical vengeance

on this weakened engine.

Minutes pass as I peddle, kickstart the struggle to rise.

Causing fluidly flowing circuits to stall in chamber.

Flooding my focus.

You are weak,

A slave to a fragile body.

I countersteer the coming turn,

Then lean into the bank.

Innocence clutches my guilt.

Shifting pain to torment.

God please, find me another gear.

As I go through the motions,

I drive in monotony.

As to quell the rising concerns of

Antiquated friends and family.

War has changed me but

its wounds, though invisible, have stolen from me.

Moments I can’t get back

And wrongs I can’t right.

A different me has emerged.

Constantly haunted

by thoughts I can’t control,

and memories I can’t contain.

This movie’s stuck on repeat, and alternate

Endings deviate from plots.

I press play to pause

When I can’t find

The remote



Stockholm Syndrome

Faceless enemies convert

shape-shifting civilians.

Armed with point blank ultimatums,

these chessboard men target

pawns for sacrifice.

Fashioning untrained mercenaries

paid for each American head.

Fitted with manufactured ideals

kamikaze assembly lines ripen

product placement | trash

Roadside prostitutes dressed as bombs.

Bullets pointed hollow

converge on the hearts of men.

Are we prisoners to one another?

Captives forced to fight

wars | Modern-Day Gladiators

pitted against each other,

while our Corporate Monarch’s shake hands?

Guerilla warfare tactics

used on civilian psyches.

Knowledge is Power

when ignorance is King.