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)

Paint The Stars With Blood (Part I)

Paint The Stars With Blood (Part I) by Valerie Parente

Elissa painted the stars with her blood
back when she was numb
a little crimson magic
for the sky’s fabric
stained on purpose
because the creepers said it would be worth it
so she fulfilled that prophecy
when she was so damn naive
illuminating the region
with stars the shapes of demons
but the sun eventually rose
and she could see she was alone
that’s when she found the strength
to no longer identify with pain
it was the bravest thing she ever did
deciding she was more than her emotions.

– Valerie Parente (9-6-2022)

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)

Haunted, Not Want It

Haunted, Not Want It by Valerie Parente

It’s not that I’m not over it,
it’s that I never got closure from it.
It’s not that I want what I almost had,
it’s that I’m haunted by the way it passed.
It’s never my intention to turn around,
I just wanna make the old me proud…

When it’s hard to tell the difference
between what you want
and what continues to haunt
I ask myself, am I the host or the witness
of a truth in my heart
or an obsessive thought?

The answer is always the same:
when I was half this age
I wanted exactly what I have in this day,
this longing is an addiction so dishonest
a state of mind of the haunted
and it can be debunked in this way:
having gratitude for today.

– Valerie Parente (8-19-2022)


Slow/Fast

Slow/Fast by Valerie Parente

They think I’m slow
in the head
because it takes a moment
to comprehend
but these thoughts
are too fast
as I’m running
from the past.
So many obstacles
in the way
on rapid fire
in this brain.
My mind is not vacant,
you see,
it’s just overwhelmed
at this speed.

– Valerie Parente (6-24-2022)

Dizzy

Dizzy by Valerie Parente

Life is about balance
but I’ve always been dizzy in love
with the tug-of-war in my head
daydreams were never enough
but reality had one dead end.
I could dream up the perfect life
but the longing was hellbent
to lead with poetic justice
so came the mechanism of defense
I wanted to feel the world so badly
that I became a germaphobe instead.

Life is all about balance
and I am more stable in my unstableness
teetering on a fine line
but all I see is depth.

– Valerie Parente (4-29-2022)

The Undead Mermaids

The Undead Mermaids by Valerie Parente

Little girl skipping pebble stones
in the bay behind her little home
mother told her not to go
but to that little lake she strolled.

She played a dangerous game
with creepy mermaids her age
they said “dip your toes in the lake”
beneath the water lily maze.

Little girl offered one tiny inch
that’s when she got sucked in
groped and bitten
by those devious sirens.

Then took place the wicked spell
the undead mermaid hell
little girl turned into one of them
luring other girls to that realm.

Prominent were their ribs
with hair that became thin
so emaciated and addicted
to rotting in their grey skin.

Once choice is all it takes
a little curiosity in your brain
to turn you into a slave
recruiting more undead mermaids.

– Valerie Parente (4-23-2022)

Blue Lips

Blue Lips by Valerie Parente

Something about the cold
and how it makes my lips blue.
Something about the frostbite
in being so crude.

I vowed to be explicit
in everything that I do.
I vowed to be so cold
to every man that swoons.

Don’t touch me,
I’m made of ice
and you’ll be frozen too.
Don’t touch me,
it’s my demise
from the fear I have groomed.

Yes, there’s something about the cold
and how it makes my lips blue.
Well at least when I’m cold
I’m the color of you.

Valerie Parente (1-27-2022)