Dragon Breath

Dragon Breath by Valerie Parente

It happens in spurts,
when I’m on roll with free verse,
I call it dragon breath,
spitting fire from my chest,
coming straight from the heartbeat,
that’s the rhythm of my artistry,
I go off like I’m having a manic episode,
a little psychotic collection of poetry and prose,
this is the dragon breath,
coming in so relentless,
igniting the sound waves,
with the words that I say,
finding shelter in a notebook,
where I organize my outlook,
scribbles of chicken scratch and cursive,
it’s all a mess until I type out the words,
that’s when I set fire to this small town,
the place where my lessons were profound,
sometimes I blame my teenage suffering,
but I think my childhood saw it coming,
and it’s a challenge, speaking my mind,
when mental health is still stigmatized,
because honesty comes first and foremost,
but being professional takes a different toll,
I got burnt before my career began,
and what mattered was making a stance,
making an impact, that’s the priority,
making money, that’s secondary,
trying to balance this dragon breath,
smoke and mirrors where we first met,
it’s about me, but I want it to help you,
trying to make a difference from my blues,
you’ll see these footprints come out red,
’cause I’ve been marking where I bled,
that’s why I favor the violet pigment,
I merged these blues with the blood under my skin,
see this dragon, a serpent with wings.
mental fantasy, that’s my upbringing,
remember that before you test me,
I’ve got daydreams stocked and ready,
products of my first sentient thoughts,
in this little girl’s mind from the start,
and as time continues to pass,
through all the good, through all the bad,
I’ve recorded every single lesson,
from my struggles turned to blessings,
and it comes out so wildly poetic,
literary devices somewhat prophetic,
that’s the dragon breath for you,
a voice made of light through and through,
setting the violet sky ablaze,
it’s all chronic, split by a phase,
remember I’ve had plenty of time,
to condition my conscience to rhyme,
nearly automatic at this point,
the effort comes from forcing poise,
’cause I can be vulgar, I can be ruthless,
I can write a novel out of your delusions,
it’s not an insult, it’s just stress,
taken from this dragon breath,
the world will understand one day,
and I swear I’ll see it through before it’s too late,
don’t wanna be famous after the fact,
God please let me see my impact,
I’ve put so much faith into the universe,
and making sense of the inevitable hurt,
what it means to be human,
you saw it when I drew mannequins,
there has to be a rhyme and a reason,
something for this dragon to believe in,
’cause nihilism never made sense to me,
especially in my darkest times of grief,
see these scales, they act as sequins,
reflecting the light that always seeps in,
that’s why I paint in galaxies,
moons and stars, skeletal trees,
there’s a nature so similar in our scriptures,
and each brain is a motif for the bigger picture,
first an artist who was her own muse,
then chose to be haunted by the truth,
now I’m a moonchild on a stellar quest,
she who comes alive in night’s darkness,
I like to do it all in phases,
like the moon and it’s faces,
Lady Luna and her lunatic state of mind,
something lunar I can use to define,
I could go on for days and weeks,
finding symbols that mirror my speech,
you’ve got my words, the very fire,
no more scars from a pen and lighter,
’cause it’s important we communicate,
instead of dwell in all our self-hate,
we’ve all got it, a bit of dragon breath,
you just need to know what to do with it,
that’s my agenda, my very goal,
spiritual artist, the role I chose,
and I don’t feel any more of a creator,
more like the universe’s mentally ill translator,
’cause the dragon breath comes in quick
and I don’t question its celestial origin,
it all makes sense, the wisdom grows,
awareness builds and acceptance flows,
there’s so much content I want to cover,
as I age I long to nurture like a mother,
and I guess that’s the magic of life,
there’s an intuition that loves to guide,
and it gets sharper day after day,
more fuel I can use to create,
I mix these epiphanies with many muses,
sometimes I see an object and I use it,
dissect what it means to me,
finding a beautiful dark symbology,
you’d be surprised how often it works,
it’s all about manipulating the words,
phrases spoken like breathing fire,
wisdom growing higher and higher,
so take this dragon breath from a silver tongue,
and let it radiate even brighter than the sun.

– Valerie Parente (5-29-2021)


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