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)


Rather Be Haunted (A Poetry & Prose Collection) OUT NOW

Purchase Here on Amazon!

Love. Heartache. Death.
Rather Be Haunted documents a dark period for the poet. Emotions linger like ghosts. Interpersonal relations cause palpable frustration. Death breaks the heart but in the most beautiful way.

Through chronological poetry and prose you can feel all that haunts the obsessive compulsive writer’s psyche as she tries to understand her hyper-sensitivities through rhymes and clever lines. As frustration builds, so does resilience, making the struggles that define our humanity all the more remarkable. After all, isn’t the struggle to make sense of emotions the grandest mark of being alive? What makes us human hurts; that is the gift of the universe.

Rather Be Haunted is the second volume of poetry & prose by Valerie Parente, featuring Mannequin Art alongside writing pieces. You can now own the collection in Paperback or Kindle!


One of the hardest notions for me to come to terms with in my tug-of-war with OCD is that you don’t need to be afraid to be protected. The intrusive thoughts make baseless threats, and entertaining them with your attention or compulsions only gives them artificial credibility. Peace of mind does not come from obsessing and the arduous resisting or amusing of OCD thoughts that might follow. Peace of mind comes from trust in the greater scheme of things and acceptance in what you cannot control.

– Valerie Parente (5-24-2018)

Hindsight of the Falsehood

Hindsight of the Falsehood by Valerie Parente

I thought a lot about things that weren’t true,
and took for granted the innocence of something new.
Some feelings more common than I realized,
sculpted from hormones, wrongly idealized.
Written off as young love gone wrong,
no more than a dramatic falsehood all along.
Turning fleeting feelings into fixations,
a pruning brain learning the process of iterations.
But I am older now and I know the truth,
New wisdom can only enrich my youth.

"Eponia's Token" by Valerie Parente

– Valerie Parente (10-14-2017)

Raw Proof

Obsessive compulsive disorder is a mental disorder, we all know that. But we don’t always treat it like a disorder. A lot of people treat it like it is some handy character trait people have when they organize their folders alphabetically or keep their house nice and tidy. I can’t stress enough how misconstrued that perception is. But as I said, OCD is a mental disorder, and it is hard to perceive something that goes on inside somebody else’s mind. Mental disorders aren’t exactly known for being diseases obvious to human perception. People do not easily see how OCD can be dangerous. People do not easily see how OCD can be painful. People do not easily see how OCD does more harm than good.

So what do people easily see? Their hands. I remember reading some article online about how you see your own hands more than you see anything else in the course of your day and I have no problem believing that to be true. And this idea of the common sight of your own hand reinforces the eerily symbolic relevance behind a concrete outcome of one of the most commonly known OCD compulsions, hand washing.Raw Proof

The ugly results of frequent and vigorous hand washing was the closest thing to a physical side effect of my obsessive compulsive disorder. The arid patches and deep cuts coating my knuckles, palms, and fingers were literally and figuratively raw proof of the OCD. Through a persistent urge to sterilize the skin on my hands, an urge that I still can’t shake to this day, the mental illness going on inside of me had manifested itself on the outside as well. And although I manage it better now, in the thick of my battle with OCD my hands would bleed and burn at the slightest tightening of a grip or bend of a finger. Each bloody fissure carving its way through the sandpaper flesh on my hands was raw proof that OCD is not just some cute quirky habitual personality trait, but actually a very painful and harmful disorder.

– Valerie Parente (5-9-16)