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)


Anomaly

Anomaly by Valerie Parente

You said my mind was weak
when I developed OCD
but I say my mind was strong
strong enough to rewire it all.

You said I favor my defects
because honesty is my reflex
but I’m denouncing the stigma
with this abnormal wisdom.

You said I have an excuse
to revisit my refuge
but I’m happier in the open
socializing instead of coping.

I’ve got this mental illness
pushing me to my limits
and you think that I’m complicit
but I’m really just its witness.

– Valerie Parente (6-23-2021)

Nemesis (Not Me)

Nemesis (Not Me) by Valerie Parente

I’m finally happy
and my OCD still found me.
I see you in my dreams
with a tangible body
but when I go to defeat you
you’re the nemesis that continues
like a chain that keeps repeating
in a relationship so uneven.
I see you in so many forms
using my sweet slumber to return
and I punch, I kick, I scream
I wrestle to separate from the enemy
and I get oh so frantic
to justify my antics
begging the peers before my eyes
to understand that I’m the good guy
that I am separate from this disease
but then I wake up and it’s not a dream.
I still have this sickness on my skin
when I’m awake I’m still hallucinating
and it’s hard to believe I used to be afraid
convinced I’d be so lost without this charade
but now that I’m full grown I finally see
that this disease is nothing without me.
You’re just a sickness that attaches
used my puberty to take advantage
and I was far too young to understand
that your golden offer was a cruel scam.
How dare you stick yourself to me
even when my brain is asleep?
How dare you attack those I love
as if my entire psyche wasn’t enough?
And even though I’m so damn exhausted
by the nemesis in my subconscious
I’ve finally found my grace and solace
knowing I can manipulate you as an artist.

– Valerie Parente (6-13-2021)

I Feel The Earth

I Feel The Earth by Valerie Parente

I feel the earth,
under my toes,
it’s one of the only things,
that doesn’t feel gross.

The soil, the dirt, and me,
we are nature all the same,
I am one with the earth,
no such thing can contaminate.

I’ve always been in touch,
I just had to put it to paper,
material from the earth,
expressed back to the maker.

Don’t cry for me and my hang-ups,
every person has their own fight,
mine in particular was obsessive,
but I always felt the earth on my side.

– Valerie Parente (5-22-2021)

Third Poetry & Prose Collection

Do you want to own a hard copy of my latest poetry?
My third poetry and prose collection is currently in the works and includes fan favorites such as:

Not Bionic
These Laurels Were Never Meant To Rest
The Spider Princess
Material Girl
Seascape

Like Fine China
Poetry: Sight and Sound
Fishnets
Pamper Yourself

Celestial Being

…and over 150 more pieces!

Make sure to Follow this blog, valerieparente.com, to stay up to date for the new book release!

Spellbound (Analysis)

Spellbound Analysis

A major project I have been working on in 2020 and 2021 is a fantasy series (to be completed). The poem Spellbound is not part of this series, but it is inspired by the same artistic process I’ve been using to write my dark little fairy tale. This process consists of me translating my mental struggles into fantastical terms and motifs. I was thinking to myself about the obsessive nature of falling in love or falling into fascination with a person, place, or thing as someone with OCD. It is an experience more negative and toxic than it is positive and enjoyable. And it’s something I get called “crazy” for a lot, so I wanted to write a poem in my own little self-aware way as a hypothetical rebuttal to anybody that weaponizes my OCD against me. With that in mind I started to refer to the that mind-altering moment when I fall into fixation with something as a “spark”. This spark, something that many people feel with “love at first sight”, is always exciting at its inception. In the mirrored fantasy version of my psyche the spark is, quite literally, “magic”. That spark has proven since I was a teenager to always end badly though, and that’s why Spellbound describes the origin of this spell as a blessing from a witch that has gone awry. “[She] struck my heart, but must have missed […] because I feel it in my brain.” This whole concept of feeling love in the brain instead of the heart is, well, at the heart of my experience with obsessive compulsive disorder. It’s a trick. It’s a gift gone wrong. It’s not the magical feeling that one feels in heart, it’s obsession, and that is the difference between OCD and real authentic love. One is felt in the brain, and one is felt in the heart. The one felt in the brain is a toxic version of the latter. And I’m no fool to how that spell has manipulated the way I handle social situations in the past.

Spellbound carries on to describe three stage of obsession in rhymes. First the excitement, second the longing, and last the devastation. This is pretty self-explanatory of how OCD feels in any brain that feels the initial “spark”. Then the poem finishes off in a closing stanza about the repetitive nature of the OCD cycle. OCD fixations happen in the following order: Obsession, Compulsion, a feeling of Relief, and then starts over with a new Obsession. This model for the mental disorder was directly referenced when writing the last stanza. The reason I even thought to write this poem was mainly due to the sentiment expressed in the last line, “It never works out and I get worse. A brand new spell with the same hurt.” This is where my frustration comes in, because I do truly feel like falling in love for most people is like a spell, but its a magical experience that is innately positive. I don’t feel that way as someone with OCD. This positive experience that seems so great for everyone else always goes wrong for me because of the way my brain malfunctions in an obsessive compulsive manner. I thought about this recently because I started to feel a new spark, and it was fantastic, but I shut it down as quick as possible. I just don’t have the energy or will to be spellbound again. Not now, at least. Someday I’ll figure out how to be spellbound in my heart instead of my brain, but that day is not today. I’ll stick to exploring psychological phenomena with a rhythmic fantasy backdrop for now.

You can read my poem, Spellbound, here.

– Valerie Parente (1-29-2021)

A Little Sympathy Would Be Nice

A Little Sympathy Would Be Nice by Valerie Parente

I think a lot about my past
but that doesn’t mean I want it back.
My brain was wrongly designed
to dwell on former times,
getting caught on the same loops
and I know that gets you confused.
I don’t want the same things,
but that’s what my conscience brings.
If you find that weird
then imagine how I feel.
OCD is like a chronic bad habit,
a royal jester playing old tricks
and when its trying to fool you
just know it tried to fool me too.

– Valerie Parente (1-18-2021)

Not Too Little, But Definitely Too Late

Not Too Little, But Definitely Too Late by Valerie Parente

Like a memory bank
I always had you in the back of my mind
convinced that one day
I’d find the courage to finalize
what always made an imprint on my brain
in ways I didn’t fully realize
until it was way too late
and I no longer had the right
to say what I always wanted to say
once my hunch was clarified.
I made a critical mistake
strictly following my own timeline
I carved out a space
in the shape I had been traumatized
and I forgot in my craze
that I could pause my own life
but that does not initiate
the freezing of someone else’s time.

Like a broken gift
I always knew there was something wrong with me
so hyper-focused
on my emotional needs
memorizing feelings like scripts
ripped out of a teenage diary
daydreaming on autopilot
as I wrote detailed stories
to compensate for what I missed
heart-flutters in my memory
and I always kind of wished
that I could satisfy an old belief
my daydreaming brain’s secret
that once again we could meet
but I’m not supposed to talk about this
even though I remember you so clearly;
I guess that’s why from age 13 to 26
they called me a psychotic freak.

– Valerie Parente (11-14-2020)

Cogs In This Machine

Cogs In This Machine by Valerie Parente

The cogs in this machine
get stuck on repeat frequently
I understand the mechanics of my mind
and how it operates on rapid fire
but sometimes I need to be checked
because I have a tendency to forget
that it’s not normal to dwell and replay
and every now and then I need an update.
It’s gonna take a little grease
to loosen up my psyche,
so if you tell me its time for a cleanse
I’ll take your word and reflect.
It’s not easy for me but I’ll lend my trust
I’ll get down in the dirt and scrape the rust,
then when I get these OCD gears turning again
I’ll try to remember the importance of maintenance.

– Valerie Parente (8-10-2020)