Eighteen years later

“Eighteen Years Later” Free-Verse Poetry, 9-23-17

My inability to hate you
Is the biggest detriment in my adult life.
I was young and inexperienced,
Putty in your hands,
Moldable and folding myself over and over again
Until there was almost nothing left.

I want to sever the insatiable connection to you,
Because it still hurts that you didn’t feel it too.
Losing you damn near killed me.
I thought I knew what love was,
But you said I didn’t.
You were wrong; I knew everything.

-Brandi Easterling Collins

Echoes

“Echoes” Free-Verse, July-August 2017

Your ghost follows me around,
haunting and taunting me.
I don’t know if I miss you,
or the me I was before you.

Through the window,
I catch a glimpse of you behind the trees—
a shadow of who you once were to me,
still frozen in time.

Trapped inside these walls
are lies I’ve tried to ignore,
bubbling up in the peeling paint,
all these years later.

Echoes of past conversations
bleed in my ears
while I scream over the noise
of what is now silent.

Living in parallels,
I guide the me I once was to escape
the darkness into safety and light,
though I once let you take it all.

-Brandi Easterling Collins

One Night in a Coffeehouse

“One Night in a Coffeehouse” Free-Verse, March 20, 2017

He sings in the near-empty coffeehouse
About alcohol addiction and love.
He thinks no one in the lackluster crowd is listening.

Two employees try their best to acknowledge him,
While a college student studies his books,
And a lady whose whole life is a musical hums her own tune.

Annoyed by the six laughing ladies in their bible study group,
He changes his line-up to include
All songs he knows that take the Lord’s name in vain.

The ladies talk over the too-loud guitar music,
Determined to finish their lesson,
While he plays louder and louder to drown out the noise.

The ladies ignore him, all but one.
One listens to the man sing out his soul,
Reminded of the coffeehouses of her youth—now long gone.

Where did time go? She wonders.
How did they all end up there,
And is it still art if no one appreciates it?

I wrote this a while back after an unexpected encounter with a traveling musician, Rue Snider, at Penny University in Russellville, Arkansas. I don’t write poetry near as much as I did as a teen and in my early 20s.

-Brandi Easterling Collins