The Writer

purple meadow

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)

The Gargoyle Mindset

The Gargoyle Mindset by Valerie Parente

Behold the gargoyle mindset
This is an anxiety complex
The result of an artistic process
By a paranoid architect.
A sculpture so grotesque
Created to act as a fortress
A creature against all the darkness
Featured along a flying buttress.
The gargoyle awaits upon his tier
But its purpose has begun to veer
Going from complacent to cavalier
A defense mechanism with a spear.

In the gargoyle mindset
Anxiety is placed with fret
On the outside it sits
For all to witness.
Once designed to protect
Became its own threat
A public display of stress
Notorious in all its ugliness.
Sometimes our minds equate safety with fear
And we get caught up in this superstitious idea
That to scare off the scary coming near
We have to create a scarier peer.

A Gargoyle Named Anxiety

“A Gargoyle Named Anxiety” by Valerie Parente

– Valerie Parente (5-22-16)

Grandiosity of the Sick

Grandiosity of the Sick by Valerie Parente

When retention of information is censored through sanity
then attention from the psychologically challenged must rely on vanity.
It is a self-centered way to overcompensate
for what we lack in our mental state.
I call it Grandiosity of the Sick.
The glorified martyr heuristic.
Where those of us who struggle hone our inner pain
through an art quite prone to become vain.
Thinking the anguish we feel is profound.
As if to be miserable puts us on higher ground.
Saying those who reject our thought process
don’t understand because we’re too complex.
Creating beauty from our moping
is a dangerous form of coping.
Because perceiving mental malfunctioning as our best,
can lead to believing we’re only useful in our distress.
But to call this warped mindset a stigma is not entirely fair,
because what could be more admirable than finding comfort in how we’re impaired?

 – Valerie Parente (4-13-16)