Popular Posts

Thursday, October 23, 2014

When Your Best Friend Tells You She's Dating Your Ex

When your best friend tells you she’s dating your ex
You know you’re going to end up writing a poem about it
You feel lines forming
As you ask her, on a date? and she tells you just plain dating
You try to act unsurprised and quickly change the subject
To how much you’d like to watch a new episode of orange is the new black
and when she gets up to pee
you manically repeat the words kill me
Because you already feel like you’re dying inside
you stick your tongue into your tea
Even though you know its too hot
Because that edible is kicking in
And you don’t normally do drugs at 10 in the morning
But you were just having that level of a shitty day
That you just wanted to be up so high that your feelings look like ants on the ground
But now you shove some more sushi down
Trying to clog your throat from the verbal vomit

When your best friend tells you she’s dating your ex
You wonder if she’s taking so long
because it takes a lot of fucking effort to shit all over you
And you can’t tell her you feel bad
Because then you become the jealous bitch
You don’t have the right to control her life
It’s her decision
But its not about the boy
But it’s just the fact that she did it
When she knew it would hurt you
That you’re not the kind of girl who gets over things
You crawl under them and you still have scars from their barbed wire

So you don’t say anything
Even though you feel like a stream of gasoline slithering across a parking lot
And no one will donate a match
There’s a fire within you but you just feel like pollution
And when she takes some out and asks you to follow her to the shoot
And you watch her stuff a black bag down
You find new sympathy for used tampons

You stare into empty spaces in an attempt to export your mind
And even though the file is too big you try to refresh refresh refresh
But you’re stuck on the same old page when it’s been updated
and also you’re computer has been stolen
And so is your phone
because the person you’d call when something like this happens
When you are hurt in the kind of way
where you just need to be told you are right
Is too busy rinsing blood off her knife
Everything is disconnected
You never want to speak to her again
but you want to because she’s the person you tell these things
But now there is nothing left to say because even though its her face
Those are not the ears you’re used to
They can’t hear you right
You are going to sound possessive
Over someone who doesn’t want to be with you
And you don’t really want to be with
But you could never really stop loving someone
When you fall
You are opened up
And even though over time the wound is reduced to a scab or scar
When you brush against it
It still hurts
And she is not a pair of raw fingers she is a lit cigarette

And you’re thinking all of these things
Concentrating on empty space in the room
As she keeps on mentioning his name
When you try to disassociate the & attached to his and hers
You become thankful for the weed
Because it becomes an excuse for your inability to function
Or hides the handprints from the  slaps across your face
Every time she looks at you like everything is alright
and expects you to think everything is alright
And you tell her not everything is alright
in a thousand monologues in your head
But your lips don’t know the lines

So you decide not to watch the next episode of orange is the new black
and let her think that your life is falling apart rather than the friendship
You scurry out of her apartment
And try to forget how to breathe because every intake comes out as a cry
You can’t walk straight and you nearly run into a woman
Who flinches at your presence
and tells you she’s not used to being close to a prostitute
she starts muttering to herself “unholy whore” “unholy whore
And when you look down at your tee-shirt and shorts
you don’t know if she’s mentally ill or a hallucination
Because nothing feels real anymore
And you aren’t sure if it ever was in the first place

You’re in a stream of unconsciousness
and you drown your way back home
And lay on your bed sobbing
Wanting to reach for the phone
but there’s no one to call except your inner strength
Which is held up by toothpicks
You’re all alone which is a relief
because you don’t want anyone to see you like this
But a curse because you’re not flexible enough
to rest your head on your shoulder and cry on it

When your best friend tells you she’s dating your ex
You know you’re going to end up writing a poem about it
And you can’t
Because it feels like
It feels like
It feels like
I can’t come up with a metaphor to describe it.
It just hurts.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Last night I realized that I’m not in a single picture on my wall
Out of all 50 images
I’m not in one
As the clock struck two
I knew that I was in those moments
And my face is placed above my bed
It’s not really my face just a retouched head
All my life I have been told to edit
It’s not done until you’ve reread it
Redraft your papers
Spell check your poems
Don’t ever make the original your final decision
It was only a matter of time before my body became just another place for revision
I just never thought it would get to this
What started as removing a zit
Became full fledged air brushing
I used to put blush to emphasize my cheekbones
But now I move my cheekbones to emphasize my blush
Even when I’m rushing
I draw on my eyebrows in the mirror
And then again in photoshop
I’m a house 
Without foundation my walls will drop
And as I razor off the fat on my thighs
I wonder if that’s the only part of me I’m slicing off
I always liked my nose but last night I made a job out of it
Went to down
Shrunk it down
Then made the photo my pro pic
It’s not just about reducing the size of what my mother always called my ugly fat lips
I brighten and widen my eyes
Lighten the shadow
Line the liner
And I don’t want to sound like a whiner
Because I don’t think I’m ugly
I just have been told I’m not typically pretty enough
To know that I’m probably not at all
Now don’t be appalled
Don’t ask about my insecurities or mentality
I’ve just accepted that guys will always date me for my personality
My priority will never be getting into the top sorority
I’ve accepted that reality
Let me explain and refrain
That I am not ugly
I’m just prettyif
prettyif I had less acne on my face
prettyif there was less fat around my waist
if my eyelashes were thicker I’d get you drunk like liquor
prettyif I possessed a more lifted chest
and i didn’t jiggle when i walked
and my crooked bottom tooth didn't show when I talked
the dress I tried on would look great when I finally lost those 20 pounds
and any guy would dance with me after a couple rounds
I just need a filter
that could change water to alcohol
my skin to a complexion
a jpeg out of my reflection
but my face never cleared up
the diet never worked
my misaligned tooth never felt like a cute quirk
so before I went berserk
I edited out the if
Ariel Sobel is now a beautiful girl
She just rents out her world to Mark Zuckerberg
She’s thin
Has perfect skin
She might be single
But baby you want to be relationshipped in
But no one can reach me at my web address
It doesn’t matter how many likes I possess
Last night I asked my roommate if you can recognize me on the internet
And was surprised when she said yes
I’ve realized that this poem is never going to be finished if I don’t stop editing it
I’m never going to fixed until I stop telling myself I’m broken
Never going to be whole until I stop tearing myself apart
I can’t be pretty if I can’t let myself be
And it doesn't mean anything if I only make the term
Skin or pixel deep
And the only like that matters
Is the one that comes from me.

Monday, August 4, 2014

My Friend Greg

Hey, have I ever told you about my friend Greg?
He was what I’d call a teacher
He showed me how to bandage a foot in the middle of the street
Hide the hotel keys I forgot to return
And that public places make excellent nap spots
Greg was a special guy
He taught me how to roll my first cigarette
And recommended I didn’t have second
He collected all the college gear he could from us
Treated cardinal and yellow sunglasses like they were ruby and gold
Loved a leftover university sweatshirt like it was 2008 Obama
Greg didn’t speak often
But he had a lot to say
Like how we Americans apologized too much
Embellished every accidental tap or nudge with an unnecessary sorry
When there’s no need to ask forgiveness when no one’s hurt

A month and 5500 miles away
I wonder if he’s apologizing now
If he salutes sorrys as bombs shudder on the Gaza strip
Load his rifle with regrets
As he patrols Israel for incoming rockets
When you put on that uniform, Greg
Do you wonder what the letters IDF really stand for?
You know what they’re calling us
We’re used to worm
But Mass Murderer never came to mind as the next trendy anti-semitic slur
And now you must be wondering why I’m saying we
Because I’m in America
I’m in American
The cardboard box and all its layers I’m supposed to call home
I was born here
I was raised here
The only language I speak is English
And some high school Espanol, si?
But this will never be my country
I can never be united with these states
Because I am Jew
I am the well where they threw pennies at in New York
The Massachusetts summer camper who heard outsiders tell us
Hitler should’ve finished the job
I am the Jewish Frat house that has been swastika-ed 1, 2, 3, times more than any college in a progressive city like Los Angeles should tolerate
And you can tell me that I’m trying to victimize myself
But that won’t change the fact that citizen doesn’t mean safe
Just ask this years 90,000 rape victims
The three million children abused
Or anyone who’s been convicted by the color of their skin
Despite what my passport says
I will never American

I am part of country who’s revolutionary war took 2000 years
A nation that had to earn its borders
And now they are under attack
Today 119 rockets plummeted towards our villages
Our homes
Our children
Today there were 119 attempts to murder us
Yesterday they found that a terror tunnel destination was a dining hall
That the underground passageway’s machine guns
Led to dinner
Led to breastfeeding mothers
Not to a military base
To Sunday Night Supper
But I guess they don’t count as civilians

The other night I found one of my old notebooks
And 80% of the entries started with
I hate gym
When I was 10 we had to run the mile
My fastest time was 15 minutes
You know that’s all we have
15 minutes I’m sorry, my facts are skewed--
I meant 15 seconds
To get to a bomb shelter
Or be obliterated
Become one life closer to Hamas’ mission
Now their goal isn’t to #freepalestine
It’s to #killallthejews
I guess what sounded good in their charter
Doesn’t sound as nice on facebook

But because Israeli 5th graders are faster than me
They don’t have to die
They just have to apologize
I’m sorry I survived
I’m sorry that my life doesn’t balance the statistics
I’m sorry that the New York Times
Or whatever depiction we’re clicking on
Can’t make me the sob story
The tale of injustice
I’m sorry my splattered skin will not be the cover of some call for humanitarianism
I’m sorry my father built the Iron Dome instead of rockets
That he made us bomb shelters instead of terror tunnels
That it was more important for me to live
Than to make you die

Is that what you’re saying Greg?
Are you the soldier who doesn’t thank God for life
But apologizes for it
Apologizes for winning the war
Because Jews are not allowed to win
We’re only the good guys when you can feel sorry for us
Because when we stand up
The world gets angry because we are not allowed to be tall
We are a minority
We are someone’s pity project
America doesn’t find us so cute when they’re not rescuing us
Not scooping us out of an inquisition, pogrom, or Holocaust
Runt is not a disposable title
If we grow strong
If when the world has forgotten we keep our promise never again
We’re committing a genocide
But last time I checked
Wounded civilians left the Nazi’s hospitals
Not the other way around
They showered us in lethal gas
Not evacuation warnings
They reduced us to ashes
When all we’ve tried to do is pick them up

And I know that I’m not supposed to talk about the Holocaust
That this is not about the Holocaust
Or pogroms
Or the exiles, inquisitions, the denial or degradation
Because that is the past
That is ancient history
But last time I checked
“Night” wasn’t written by Moses
I know this is about today
About the middle east
Not the extermination of my people
This is about the facts
And half of the region doesn’t even believe it actually happened
And who am I to question your beliefs
Want kind of monster would interrupt your honor killings to question what you do in name of G0D?
And anyway I’m not supposed to involve my emotions
Because emotions weaken my argument
This is about numbers
But what are numbers than how we count pages in the story of us
All the text is out of context
I know that
But I also know that 8 year old me
Shouldn’t have bragged about her blonde hair
Because it meant I might survive the next Holocaust
I know that some Palestinians call Hamas freedom fighters
But I also know that Hamas believes homosexuals should be exterminated
Women should be subjugated
And celebrates 9/11 as a national Holiday
I wonder how my classmates who post pictures of the violence of Syria
Linked to articles of the massacre going on in Gaza
Would feel if they knew the people they are advocating for
Toast to the death of their parents
Because it’s not terrorism if the people you are trying to kill
Don’t have the right to be alive in the first place
I know that villagers by the Gaza strip cheer as bombs land on civilians apartments, hospitals, and mosques
But do you know
That those houses are homes to rockets
Or machine guns lay next to prayer mats
And empty emergency rooms because the funds and materials to buy equipment that could save citizens
Were spent on weapons to kill them
Did you know that destroying that rocket buys those villagers more 15 seconds
Or that when 3 Jewish boys younger than Travyon Martin were abducted and murdered
Hamas handed out treats in the streets

I know that Palestinians are dying
That we are killing them
Do you know
That when we notify an area to evacuate
Hamas says
Run to the target
Protect those weapons
You are more valuable as a casuality
More valuable than as a mother
A brother
You were meant to be a statistic
A digit in an article
Which will give us more legitamacy
Do you know that the people you are giving legitamacy to
Are the 1%
The 1% as in billionaires
As in the 1% inside bomb shelters
That is fed
Who gets to wrap the Palestinian struggle
Which is every bit as hard and painful as mine
In an hateful, anti semitic, murderous blanket
My best friend is Muslim
And no part of her relationship with Allah
Has anything to do with her relationship with me

I’ve walked through the crematoriums in Birkenau
The ghettos in Krakow
Examined the claw marks that line gas chambers
But when I read about temples being burnt to ground in France
Look at bomb proof playgrounds
Cancel my volunteer work in the Ukraine because it’s no longer safe for me there
I wonder if this is the existence my grandparents survived for

I don’t understand using the oppression of one people
To crucify another
I know that we don’t look like the good guys
That we have an army
And their defense is putting children in front of bullets
I think of Greg putting out that cigarette
And I don’t see a baby killer
Do you know there were 5 cease fires
And Hamas violated every one?
Because hey, what’s the point of a militant group without a war?
Did you know that we want peace?
That we greet and goodbye each other with that message?
Shalom Palestine
Hello brothers
Shalom Hamas
Goodbye terrorists
Oseh shalom b'imromav
Make peace your greatest example
Hu ya'aseh shalom aleinu
He who will make peace for us all
V'al kol Yisrael
And in all of Israel
V'imru amen
We agree
Do you know what we sing in our rallies?
I know Gaza’s civlians are falling
And that is a massacre
And it’s not the same as the loss of our soldiers

But do you know my friend Greg?

. . .

. . .


Ariel is available and interested in anything creative!
For spoken word performances & workshops, web & graphic design, or other writing/film projects please contact via email at arielsob@usc.edu.
New York & Los Angeles work preferred!