The Writer by Valerie Parente
“Hi Val, come in,” the therapist greets
Enter with my lovely OCD
Sink in the contaminated chair
And try to explain my warped despair.
The woman just glances at me with judgement
Then she stops and asks a question
Not the obligatory cliché
Some recycled “How are you today?”
She prods to crack my skeletal shell
“Surely you see this means you’re unwell.”
I politely smile and breathe in
“No, it just means that I am different.”
Then I hand her my special page
As she reads her eyes drastically change
So now the lady with the degree
Is dumbfounded by what I conceived.
She looks up at me with new insight
Pupils touched by dark reflect my light
“How can someone so delusional,
Write something so profound, yet simple?”
I just shrug and wonder what to say
Do I indulge or act modestly?
The answer that always hums along
Is “say the truth, you cannot be wrong.”
My tightened lips part and I respond
“Yes it’s easy, the words just flow on
From a place that I cannot describe
My own twisted form of paradise.
Nobody can see this place but me
A heaven locked away in daydreams
I can feel it when I am alone
So I write about it when at home.
All I do is reach inside my mind
To channel with that endless supply
Of the right thoughts which describe my pain
Diction that captures what I can’t say.
You are just witnessing a small piece
Of the landscape my mind embodies
The only way I can get you here
Is through ink made from a very true tear.”
My mouth shuts and the room is quiet
A mental expert can’t define it
I see she is disturbed but in awe
With my mouth I continue to draw.
“I’ve been like this as long as I know
Able to put on paper and show
All the crazy and wild distortions
That come with a storm of emotions.
Too complex for me to vocalize
But written, perfectly summarize
An imaginary world of mine
Of darkness mixed with thoughts I can’t cry.
It’s funny because as I look back
At the moments where normal kids laughed
My ideas that peers could not connect
Even my teacher called incorrect.
My strange mind’s light was perceived as dumb
So I tried to dim the ideas from
A world I thought was smarter than me
But the truth was it was not ready.”
“Do you think you are brilliant?” she asks
“Like a savant?” I begin to laugh
“I know when I say yes I’ll be
Deemed mental with grandiosity.”
The only response is her sly grin
Presented for my interpreting
I do not know what to say from there
So I resort to silence and stare.
I’m aware my honest blackened eyes
Painted with gloom now epitomize
The special gift I have always been
Perfecting in my isolation.
A talent and a mental disease
Together create such irony
Because the darkness that I write about
Always makes my inner light come out.
– Valerie Parente (6-5-16)