Black and White

Black and White by Valerie Parente

They say the higher you climb,
the harder the fall,
but if you ask me,
that doesn’t make sense at all.
When I’m sky high,
the clouds are my cushion,
the sun is my eyes,
and the moon is my vision.
I see a gradient in everything,
life is not black and white,
“all is good, all is evil,”
is a fallacy old as time.
I see it from the cliff,
the gifted and the damned,
and there’s really no difference,
between those two hands.
Every blessing has its dark hours,
every curse can shed a light,
it’s about finding the gray area,
between the black and white.
The hurt feels so dark,
the hope, a bright light,
the heal, a full moon,
connecting day to night.

– Valerie Parente (4-14-2021)

Grab Your Crystals

Grab Your Crystals by Valerie Parente

She cracked open her chest
and pulled a cluster of crystals out
ready to thrive again
like rain after the longest drought.

The world was shut down
and she was shut off
locked away in a cave
growing rocks in the dark.

Some rocks were iridescent,
picking up hues from her moods,
some rocks were rose colored wands,
sharing a beautiful body of truth,
some rocks were translucent towers,
pointing to her next move,
some rocks were marble orbs,
reminding her what she had to lose.

So grab the crystals you’ve been saving
in the shape of a heart
hold them up to the sunlight
and watch your dark side depart.

– Valerie Parente (4-13-2021)


Ghostly by Valerie Parente

She was dead 10 months ago,
free to roam on her own,
she could go anywhere… anywhere at all,
except the place that she belonged.

It was a kind of art, being haunted,
and to be the one doing the haunting,
she mastered it ever so well,
translating and transferring her hell.

Nearly a year passed, and the day came,
where she was resurrected from her pain,
it didn’t happen because people believed,
it happened because she finished her grief.

She is still ghostly under the moon,
and that should be a warning to you,
you can never scare her with death threats,
because she already knows what it’s like to be dead.

– Valerie Parente (4-12-2021)

Make Sense of It

Make Sense of It by Valerie Parente

I saw my teacher speaking,
I saw the words on the paper,
but I couldn’t make sense of it.
I knew it wasn’t a foreign language,
but it damn near felt like it.

I tried and I tried,
I read the same pages as everyone else,
but when it came to discussing the chapter
I missed everything they talked about.
Peers scoffing that I didn’t understand what I read,
teachers scolding, thinking I didn’t read at all,
peers moving on to honors without me,
teachers announcing that I was lazy.

This isn’t a pity party,
this is processing a processing issue
that went on for so long undiagnosed
and I just want to understand
why it was so hard to make sense of it.

Now it all makes sense,
why I struggled in the way that I did.
Starving my brain certainly didn’t help,
but it felt like a just punishment for being the “dumb friend”.
Developing obsessions certainly didn’t help,
but it felt damn good to understand something inside out.

They said this was about intelligence,
they said I was just stupid,
but I didn’t feel stupid,
I felt like I was trying to make sense of sound with sight,
like I was reading a language foreign to mine,
like I was going through the motions blind,
like I was faking it all the Goddamn time.
Well I’m a writer now,
I make art your class can talk about,
I excel at university with essays,
I write books, I write articles,
and guess what? I get paid.

This isn’t a bragging session,
this is finding comfort in that it was never about intellect
and I just want to understand
why full grown adults who were supposed to help
couldn’t make sense of it.

– Valerie Parente (4-12-2021)

The Spider Princess

The Spider Princess by Valerie Parente

There once lived a Spider Princess,
deep in the catacombs,
the tombs were her kingdom,
where she reaped what was sewn.

Some say she was enchanted,
some say she was cursed,
finding patterns in everything,
making webs out of words.

She conjures the ancient wisdom,
that belonged to the spiders,
having studied their magic,
and all they’ve inspired.

These webs that she made,
were connected to the dead,
bound by silver cords,
to create spiritual webs.

She sees the interconnection,
all is eternal, all never ends,
like star maps and constellations,
there’s always a common thread.

When loved ones came to grieve,
in the glorious underground shrine,
the Spider Princess bestowed gifts,
tapestries that went beyond space and time.

Every mother, every father,
every widow in the village,
came to the Spider Princess,
begging to send a message.

Over the years the Princess learned,
more often than you’d expect,
it wasn’t the dead needing to be heard,
it was the ones who were left.

Just the words “I’m okay”,
“All is well, you can rest”,
were enough to relieve the living,
when she wove her silver webs.

It was a heavy duty, for sure,
but the Spider Princess didn’t mind,
she knew how important words were,
for those who are still alive.

– Valerie Parente (4-10-2021)

Closed That Door

Closed That Door by Valerie Parente

They say I left that door open
but that’s not true.
I closed that door
and locked my heart in the room.

What nobody realized
including me
was that all along
you had the key.

– Valerie Parente (4-10-2021)

The Cliff

The Cliff by Valerie Parente

You can’t rush into something
that’s been a long time coming
I’ve been falling for years
and I could have hit the ground running.

I knew it was a cliff,
we were dealing with,
I knew all along
one of us would trip.

Just a little push,
was all it took,
I went down first
when you were afraid to look.

Then you saw,
I survived and walked,
no longer waiting
for you to jump off.

I knew it all,
I knew you would fall,
I knew the realization
would hit like a brick wall.

I could have ran,
just to prove I can,
but then you showed me
where you stand.

It was next to me,
after all this grief,
you didn’t fall
you actually leaped.

Now we feel the same,
both on this plane,
the ground is finally level
on this new terrain.

– Valerie Parente (4-9-2021)


Seascape by Valerie Parente

You think the answer is out there,
so it’s time to set sail,
engulfed in the seascape,
and its nautical tales,
hoping for mermaids,
creature’s we’ve never seen,
set sail, this sweet ship,
a metaphysical discovery.

You think you’re just a ship,
lost in the ocean,
the truth is you’re the tide,
implicitly in motion,
waves of the mind,
here before you’re birth,
man did not make you,
nature spawned you first.

You think when you’re shipwrecked,
that it is the very end,
the truth is, you’re set free,
no more need to pretend,
part of the blue mystery,
so much bigger than you,
connected with everything,
the current becomes your truth.

– Valerie Parente (4-7-2021)

The Phoenix

The Phoenix by Valerie Parente

My mind has a body,
and it was engulfed in flames,
it could have been thirty seconds,
but the heat went on for days.

I felt every part of my anatomy,
reduce to ash and bones,
but sentience was still there,
that’s when I felt the quality of soul.

Like magma in a crevice,
it pooled and it overflowed,
then something strange happened,
and I felt my suffering erode.

Miraculous bird under the sun,
I was resurrected at dawn,
a phoenix with empathy so big,
there was death, but I’m not gone.

It’s the destruction and decay,
then the unstoppable sunrise,
how the light will always persist,
and I am one with that demise.

That’s how we begin again,
so much better than before,
that’s how we understand our blessings
you die, then you are reborn.

Pamper Yourself

Pamper Yourself by Valerie Parente

Sink in the bathtub,
decorated with flowers like lily-pads,
smell the burning sage,
the candles and the melting wax.

Send me a message,
from the spirits that guide the stars,
do it with ease,
as you flip over your tarot cards.

My conscience was chosen for this gift,
the present, the human body,
and it’s never been more clear,
that physical health is a luxury.

Take care of your cells,
be it lavender soap or fine wine,
whatever feels real and good,
you owe it to this thing called life.

– Valerie Parente (4-5-2021)