Not So Sweet

Not So Sweet by Valerie Parente

Everybody has a bit of a sweet tooth
looking for that candy-coated praise
you wanna call me your honey
but baby I’m an acquired taste.

Maybe I’m not so prone
to that “sweetie pie” catch phrase
I swear I care, I really do
but I’ll be damned if I’m cliche.

Love is hard but loving me is harder
past the honeymoon phase
I’m trying my damn best
but boy oh boy am I to blame.

– Valerie Parente (11-29-2022)

Caution Tape

Caution Tape by Valerie Parente

There’s caution tape
inside my mind
a labyrinth
of words and lines
wrapped around
like ivy or twine
and I don’t know
if I’m the type
to make the most
of warning signs
or if I’m simply
one of a kind
in a maze of trickery
I accidentally cosigned.
Maybe it’s wrong
maybe it’s right
maybe caution tape
is just a means to highlight
the potential in the darkness
that I can’t see inside
so I stand here guessing
what fate might decide.

– Valerie Parente (10-8-2022)

the illness that wants me all to itself

the illness that wants me all to itself by Valerie Parente

There are voices in my head
that do not belong to me
and when you ask how I feel
I can feel them speak.
There is a pattern in the language
so ripe with irony,
“To be sick is strong,
to be healthy is weak.
The pain finds a cure
when you cut skin deep.
To be sober is trapped,
to be drunk is free.
When you avoid your fears
their power depletes.”
It’s as if by design,
this backwards philosophy,
and I have to share a home
with the voices on repeat.
But I am no lost cause,
I can still find my speech
and maybe that’s why
I can write it so easily.
This illness wants me all to itself
but it will never have entirety
because as long as I have a pen
I can differentiate between
a voice in my head
and the words that compete.

Valerie Parente (8-20-2022)

That’s The Moon

That’s The Moon by Valerie Parente

Look up high
at the night sky.
See that? That’s the moon
it’s not an excuse
it’s an explanation
to something complicated
something I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand
but when I break it down as a symbol I stand a chance
to make sense of the voice inside
this methodically mad mind.

Do you see that? That’s the moon
and it belongs to you too.

– Valerie Parente (6-16-2021)

The Harpy At Curtain Call

The Harpy At Curtain Call by Valerie Parente

She’s got violet wings
claws for scratching
getting under your skin
with her keen language
a harpy at curtail call
a village so appalled
jet black eyes in a stupor
no irises, all pupils
absorbing all of the light
scanning the horizon for flight
so formidable to the townsfolk
like the creeper when exposed
and right before she takes off
she prays to the dawn
because she has so much fear
when the night inches near
because it’s easier to see the horizon
when the light is there for guiding
and she has so much faith
at the beginning of the day.

– Valerie Parente (6-13-2021)

The Owl Mind

The Owl Mind by Valerie Parente

Nocturnal under the moonlight,
with visions of horror,
so many fears when it becomes night,
like a bad dream in color.

Intrusive images play in rotations,
amplified by the dark,
wide-eyed in your fixations,
as you perform your thoughts.

Something about the evening,
the howls elongate and stretch,
so foreboding like a demon,
so much worse when the sun sets.

Vigilant on treetops like a tower,
is it paranoia or being wise?
Everything is scarier after hours,
and yes, that includes my mind.

The owl mind is exhausting,
the owl mind you can’t trust,
but there is no other option,
dark will always follow dusk.

– Valerie Parente (3-31-2021)

Being Abnormal

Being Abnormal by Valerie Parente

It’s just lonely…
when you’re not allowed to express pain
because you’re the mentally ill girl who can’t be taken seriously,
when you’re not allowed to drive the freeway
because no one has faith in the skills you’ve achieved,
when you’re not allowed to paint your face
because you never give in to a normal level of intimacy,
when you’re not allowed to respond to hate
because defending your mental state is a luxury,
when you’re not allowed to remember heartbreak
because normal people don’t take this long to grieve,
when you’re not allowed to cut to the chase
because only crazy people act with so much honesty.

It just gets kind of lonely inside my brain
when even your loved ones can’t understand how you operate,
because I know that my honest-to-God pain only frustrates,
adding a whole new layer to what should be normal heartbreak.
I guess what I’m trying to say
is that ordinary things like a broken heart or a common sickness
are a lot harder to cope with when you have a mental illness
because people always have a million rational reasons for why you’re incorrect
but your hyper-sensitive mind has never been dictated by such logic.

– Valerie Parente (10-9-2020)

Sick Cycle

Sick Cycle by Valerie Parente

The fear of intimacy comes from the fear of touch
and the fear of touch comes from the fear of germs
and the fear of germs comes from the fear of intimacy
and I’m stuck in a sick cycle of social chastity.

– Valerie Parente (9-20-2020)

This Fear Goes So Deep

This Fear Goes So Deep by Valerie Parente

I’ve got people who want to talk
and I know what they really want is touch
they’re just trying to warm me up
and that really pisses me off.
Because I’m offended by attraction
I get defensive when you want a physical reaction.
My brain wasn’t made to pretend it doesn’t notice
when men try to fool me with a thing called romance.

I’m starting to think that my anger with the men in line
is a form of anxiety designed to defend my mind;
Yes this is a fear of intimacy ultimately
but its also a fear of being challenged intellectually
because I often feel deep disgust
by the boys who admit they have a crush
It translates into “I think that you’re stupid”
because romance involves courtship
and courtship assumes I’m desperate
and desperate translates to dumb
and dumb people don’t think, they touch.

I feel like boys are trying to pull one over on me
all control, all of my autonomy, all the things that make me unique
and I know the intention was never to make me feel degraded
but I feel so Goddamm violated
when someone is attracted to something other than my mentality
because my intelligence is the most important part of me.
So how dare you think you’ve fooled me
into being a sexual prop or something weak.

And I’m no fool, I know I’ve only ever been in love with the guys
that I secretly know aren’t really attracted to my type
and I think that my fear is getting worse these days
ever since I broke my own heart using a friend’s name.

I know this phenomena makes no sense;
trust me, I’ve scoured all of the internet
and I can’t find other people that share this mindset
so I’m not really sure where to go next.

– Valerie Parente (9-14-2020)