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)


Thunderstorm Ritual

Thunderstorm Ritual by Valerie Parente

The thunderstorm ritual,
light a candle,
open the windows,
and with every flash,
wait for the clap,
because this life,
its lightening fast,
written in the stars,
there is a crack,
striking a light,
from your past,
it already happened,
but it comes back,
the flicker of a moment,
never loses its impact.

Revel in the storm
like it’s your last.

– Valerie Parente (7-16-2022)


SALVATION (A Mask)

SALVATION (A Mask) by Valerie Parente

Saving lives
and ruining lives
are two very different things
but often the ones who promise salvation
are the ones that follow it with condemnation
and it is this very intolerance
that muddies all common sense.

They say they want to help
by creating a concept of hell
but they don’t really want to save your soul
they just want power and control.

True salvation doesn’t come from a hierarchy or rules
true salvation comes from acceptance with the truth
and the truth is there’s something within
that makes you ever so resilient.

– Valerie Parente (7-15-2022)

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)

A Harpy’s Observation

A Harpy’s Observation by Valerie Parente

The harpy fought her darkness
but vowed in her core
she would never haunt another.

Quite often she noticed
from her bird’s eye view
something ever so cruel.

All throughout the village
so many so called lovers
continuously hurt each other.

So she asked the lunar druid,
“Why are there so many toxic pairs?”
and to that he declared.

“Damaged people damage people
when mental health defects
remain unchecked.

Yes we all have a dark side
and I shall not fault one for their darkness
unless it goes unaddressed.

So many become a pair
and they foster displacement
from their own self-hatred.

You must at least try
to find healing in yourself
before you find love in someone else.”

– Valerie Parente (6-10-2022)

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)