Beside Myself


“Beside Myself” Free Verse Poetry, Poetry Workshop, 2002

I’m amazed I didn’t cry
That night when I parked beside the lake
To talk to God.
I needed Him to listen to me
Because you would leave in eight hours.

I knew that fifty-two weeks
Would pass before I could see you or
Kiss you again.
Until you’re home, I’ll close my eyes and
Imagine you walking beside me.

It’s been forty-four weeks since
You left for overseas adventure.
Tell me, baby,
Am I still the only woman who
You can talk to for six hours straight?

More than I need the courage
I prayed for long ago, I need to
Hear your laughter.
It’s hard living without your soft brow
And your scratchy sculptor’s hand in mine.

-Brandi Easterling Collins

Don’t Stress


“Don’t Stress” Villanelle, Metrical Poetry Workshop, 2002

Do not let things get to you dear, don’t stress
About events you cannot work out right.
Take time out for yourself when life’s a mess.

You will make yourself sick. The doctors press
More drugs than needed, which is not too bright.
Do not let things get to you dear, don’t stress.

Mom says “Go treat yourself to a new dress,
But make sure you don’t pick one that’s too tight.”
Take time out for yourself when life’s a mess.

Professors monitor the slow progress
Of papers and reports you’ve yet to write.
Do not let things get to you dear, don’t stress.

Stop missing the lost lover’s sweet caress
And wishing for what’s gone with all your might.
Take time out for yourself when life’s a mess.

Love who loves you, not those you can’t impress.
Your life can be long, live without a fight.
Do not let things get to you dear, don’t stress.
Take time out for yourself when life’s a mess.

What is a Villanelle? A nineteen-line poem with two rhymes throughout, consisting of five tercets and a quatrain, with the first and third lines of the opening tercet recurring alternately at the end of the other tercets and with both repeated at the close of the concluding quatrain.

Disclaimer: I loathe writing metrical poetry. I did the best I could, but wasn’t really happy with anything I wrote during that class. I got a B for my work in class. I respect those who can write metrical poetry and those who enjoy it.

Pissed Off: A Short List


Note: The assignment was to express anger. I definitely had a lot of anger at the time I wrote this rant. This poem has some bad language, so don’t read it if that might offend you. I worked at a department store from the summer before my sophomore year in college until the end of my first year of grad school.

“Pissed Off: A Short List”                Free Verse, Poetry Workshop, 2002

My friends think I am angry all the time.
They are probably right. On any given day I can list many things that really truly piss me off.
Why is it that people steal and don’t even try to hide it? They leave tags and hangers everywhere, which pisses me off.

Why is it that college drivers try to run over pedestrians?
They act like they get points for people killed, which pisses me off.
And why is it that stupid-ass roommates call you gay?
She was the one with another woman sleeping in her bed.

It pisses me off to see happy couples making out all over town, a constant reminder of being alone forever.
Why is it that a “mature” man can tell someone else that he loves you, but tell you that he doesn’t?
I am pissed off even more that he cannot pick up the damn phone.

Another matter entirely, why is it that corporate suits don’t give a damn about their employees? They cut hours to cut costs, but allow shoplifters to go free because there are not enough workers to work, let alone watch people, which pisses me off.

On the same note, why the hell do managers kiss the asses of asshole customers? It is an insult to good customers and workers.
A lady tells me “Go fuck yourself” and what happens?
“We’re so sorry for your inconvenience ma’am. Here, please, use three coupons on these jeans.”
It doesn’t matter that the jeans are excluded in bold print on the coupon, as well as using more than one per purchase.
The lady’s a dumb-ass, so apparently the stupid receive discounts after insulting me, which pisses me off.

Why is it that presidents of sororities get away with cheating in college when honest people have to bust their asses to stay ahead?
Maybe they will get what’s coming to them someday, but in the meantime it really pisses me off.

And why is it that “nice” women turn into monsters when they are shopping? How would they like it if I visited their house and threw everything they owned into the floor?
I get pissed off every time I have to pick up wadded, inside out clothes out of the corners of fitting rooms. (Were they devastated that their asses were too big for the size 6’s?) Throwing things onto the floor is trashy and tacky and above all it really pisses me off.

Why is it that people think they have to be rude to get their point across? So much more can be accomplished by being nice and watching what is said. A lady yells at me “You over charged me!” But I didn’t charge her shit, the computer did. It’s not like I won’t correct it if she would calm down. It pisses me off to get screamed at on a daily basis; I work to pay my bills like everyone else.

Why is it that roommates can’t put their dishes into the empty dishwasher? Is it really too complicated to do that instead of stacking them in the sink for two or three weeks at a time?
Lazy people really piss me off.

Actually, everything does.