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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wolves


We fuck like wolves
Matted hair drenched across the sheets
Two alphas love wrestling in bleeding starlight
I tell him
Bite my clothes off
Devour my bones
He likes that I howl for him
Likes that I make too much noise

I say I like him

He tells me
Don’t to get too attached
I bark for him rip off my limbs

I’ve spent too many nights with clawless betas
Hungry for some hunger
Hungry for some blood
Here there’s no space for softness
No lullabyes between our sleepless snarls

Beta kissed me so many times
Whispered how he liked my face
Liked me intense
Offered to buy my first pair of blue jeans
and teach me to tie my shoes
He untucked my arm from its awkward bend
My head a precious magnet on his refrigerador chest
In the morning
He offers me a pear
Attempts to help me clasp my velvet choker
Even though he no nails

He was so human
Until he wasn’t

The moon cracked like a porcelain plate
His nose shattered into a snout

I found a werewolf breathing on my neck
Not holy enough to be man or monster
He fled towards the forest with no goodbye.

I’ll take a naked wolf over a beast in gentlemen’s skin
Crooked teeth over crooked smiles

I know what you are.

Hold me in your fangs.
Stick your talons around my waist.
Just don’t let me go.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

A Voicemail for My Newest Ghost



Next week,
when you answer my text
all big smile and tiny ears
Trimmed scruff and kind eyes
I will use every particle of my being,
every feminist article I read off Facebook,
every you’re worth more than this bullshit pep talk
I’ve given my friends before me
to not answer you.


I’m worried that still won’t be enough.


Because I want to answer you.
I want to be with you.
And that’s why this hurts.
Why I hurt.
But I changed your name to fuckface on my phone
And once I do that your number means
I won’t


I won’t
tell you how you set free the butterflies in my stomach
de-metamorphasized them into worms
I won’t
describe how I’ve felt more beautiful in your bed
than I have for years
of waking up mid-dream of someone holding me
to a padding cell of my own emptiness
Your head back
My legs tongue-tied around your back
I asked if I could do anything
and you told me to stay sexy
But these sentiments are now sediments
at the bottom of a drained pool


Why did I think that if I broke enough rules I could have you?
That when you laid next to me,
staring at my morning face
evaporated smile,
thinking rippled across your soft eyes
you just downed a shot of this bourbon heavy early love?
I’m punch drunk
An upside down cake in a cupcake liner
Dessert misspelled into desert
Thinking respect meant to be seen


You kissed me so many times.


This time I wasn’t a collection of broken veins
No ventricles that never reached fluttering atria
This time I wasn’t the girl waiting for the next man to leave


When I was five
I told my entire class that today I was meeting my daddy
Today he’s going to be my father
See,
I come from a world where fatherhood is worth bragging about
Where showing up seems like silly girl fantasies
My heart whispers paper airplanes that sail to the ground


I became a woman
when five-year-old me spent two hours alone
in the post-dismissal parking lot
and knew he would never drive me home


I won’t tell you that story
I won’t tell you I collect stories on the metro
casting for extras for my dreams
I won’t tell you that I’m standing in that elementary school parking lot
Your shadow all over me like sunscreen
I won’t tell you that it was mean
You were mean
Not playing it cool or causal
Fucking someone twice, then not having balls to say you no longer want them is mean
and I won’t tell you
That I am not mean
I am snowflaked eyelashes
Taking walks in the frosty rain
Bubble wrap in angry hands
I am blunt humor
New York pizza bubbled to the roof of your mouth
Sticky cheesy burning goddamn bliss
Knitting scarves out of yesterdays
The phone number you call in the middle of a human hurricane
I won’t tell you I’m beautiful
Because you already know I’m beautiful
You know the things you’ve forgotten,
they’re just misfiled in your brain
I won’t tell you that my brain reads like a dictionary
my memories come in definitions
I am a garden where every tree has a name
Every paper cut is dressed in poetry
I am poetry
The best book you were too busy to read
When you ghost a ghost hunter
You haunt your own tomorrows


And yes,
you’ll stay here,
a vague moment of tangible
of me feeling like I could touch infinity
or lullabies
or something that could hold me into sleep tonight


But I won’t tell you
Tonight I will still be as silly-sexy
Eating metaphors off the bar
That I’ll drink up half empty glasses until I’m full again.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Anxiety - CoWritten by Ariel Sobel & Susan Lin




this is where it starts-
right before
i think about getting out of bed-
anxiety-
with sylvia plath’s voice
will start saying in my head:

“your room isn’t your prison, you are”

i am a 5 foot prison
anxiety my warden
prison girl
overcrowded
with voices,

like the voices are too loud,
everybody going in for the kill,
and the kill - that’s me-
when there’s a person who says they love
me
they love me
and i just want to say that
i'm too anxious to even
know what that means
cause all of a sudden
i'm too busy looking
in my backpack
for my purple pencil
all of a sudden
like
my god if i don't find that pencil  
i don’t know what will happen if i don’t find that pencil
maybe my legs or my lungs will stop working
maybe my heart
will stop beating -

my anxiety has me on speed dial
greets me
in parking lots
or movie theaters
or fucking staircases
this bitch isn’t just a double text-er
she’s a three times a row
2 am hey
9 pm what u up to
random ass poop emoji fucker

you know when you stop dating someone
they start getting really hot
yeah my anxiety
she got really hot
modeling low cut blouses stitched with abandonment
she wears lipstick in the shade of memory loss
a kiss from her tastes like amnesia
tastes like eating my own voice every day
like silence is a room i can be in without
taking up too much space
where i'm yelling at myself to SPEAK
SPEAK
SPEAK
but i’m afraid my tongue is only fluent in crazy

but self who started writing this poem
so concerned about holding your pencil
you forgot how to outline yourself in metaphors
you are not crazy

you are lucky

lucky for a hand to hold,
whispers, rocking you to sleep in the back of a car
times you knew you were safe
lucky for people taking you back home
to where you were a kid again,
staring at the night sky
through the moonroof,
smiling like maybe this was a dream
maybe this was just a stuttering dial tone
when anxiety seems to be the only person who has your number
remember to call your strength
call your therapist
call your sister
remember to pour trembles into voicemails
remember you have horse shoes inside your throat
a tongue clanging with imagery
you hand out pieces of vulnerability
and people translate it into hatchets for their lonely
remember anxiety calls because she's lonely
can’t stand how small her hands look
when they’re not around your throat
wear her fingers like a necklace
holding your chin up
use her nails to dig deeper

the scratches are not scars
they are seam lines to your growing fabric
bless the curses in your ouija board cranium
and change the voices in my head.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Seventeen

Tonight 
I washed off seventeen
Crumbled in the haze of apologies
scrubbing off the soot of insecurity

I found out my scars were temporary tattoos

Tonight 
I held a cat against my chest as I walked through TSA
Replaced my makeup with a
Sports bra and  lesbian haircut
and radioactivated the sun with the solar systems
 crawling out of my smile

Tonight 
I won't discover my beauty
in a dictionary or a magazine
but G-d refused to show Moses his face
to remind him the holiest is yet to be seen

And tonight I am holy
Tonight I compared myself to G-d
With the first poem that is not about
hating myself
Or surviving myself
Or swallowing myself

Tonight 
I am not a setting sun 
begging for another thirty pages
I am an Alaskan summer
the first southern fried northern light

Tonight 
I compared myself to G-d
Because I stole some wind
Crafted its flares into a razor
And shaved off all this seventeen
All this nervous sinkhole of apologies
All this long hair 
because he said 
he would sleep with me that way
All this silence 
because he said 
he could sleep better that way
All this hating other girls who were like me
Who didn’t acquire 
the taste for wordlessmess faster 
than the ability to sip warm beer
Tonight I compared myself to G-d
Because when she was seventeen
she probably sipped warm beer
at parties where no moonlight spoke to her
She probably got lost in all that darkness
And in all that eternity

When she realized 
all it takes is a hug 
in a crowded terminal
When mom cries she’s proud of you
To forgive yourself 
for all the people you’ve been

Tonight,
When you reconstruct destiny
Using chewed pencils 
and knee-high converse
You'll shudder as you contact memories 
and blooming tomorrows

When little you is large enough
To be everything 
they told you not to be

Remember, seventeen bellyflopped out teardrops of opportunity
It doesn’t matter how it ended up in your bloodstream
It is 92% percent water
And we are 97% clean
You will finger dust all the souls napping in your skin
At the diving board of 21
Your breath still bathes in rose petals

You will become become your own prophet
and drunk text the lightning

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

To the people who ruined spoken word for me—

To the people who ruined spoken word for me—
Fuck you.
Fuck your scream-cries,
personas,
the conversational beginning with splattered jokes
dragging letters into cracked voice endings
Fuck the shut eyelids
head down
three minute character preludes
Fuck your poorly developed metaphors
devouring highly complex issues
Picking prejudice up
like a weekend daddy who never wanted custody

Fuck the times it wasn’t about poetry
it wasn’t about empowerment
or snatching a voice out of the tunnel of shattered yesterdays

When we listened to a performer instead of a person
Fuck performing
Fuck enunciation and word choice
Articulating each line into calculated in construction
Sealing bodies of work in sidewalks
stirring letters into cement blocks to build a narrative
An injured, helpless, socially relevant narrative

Fuck every time you told me to peddle my trauma for points
Told me to capitalize on my identities
as if they were the beginning of a life sentence
To showcase my oppression
peel off my seared skin
so people would throw bandaids on my battle scars
Fuck the unscathed fingertips that quivered harpoon
and told me to be
The queer
The woman
The rips on a punching bag
Told me to emphasize the ruptures in my battered swing

Fuck every time we put up a rape poem because those swing well
or didn’t put up a race poem because maybe it wouldn’t

Fuck calling them race poems
and painting the people of color on our team as only one shade

Fuck your over the top hand motions
The normal sentences you made sound like questions
Or screamed for effect

Fuck the trembling pupils you watered like cactus flowers
so bystanders would drink up the undigested pain

Fuck every time you disenfranchised my joy
Because it wasn’t compelling enough
Because happy poems don’t win rounds
Because it’s better to drunkenly drive your life
so the audience can enjoy the skid marks you leave behind

Fuck every minute I thought that if I could explain
I hated myself
lyrically enough
maybe you would listen
maybe you would care

Fuck you.

Fuck every time we wrote to win a poetry slam instead of a voice

And fuck me
for writing this

For forgetting that poems forcefed me courage
pulsed truth that sips tea underneath my fingernails and nightmares
for believing in strategies instead of myself

Fuck every time I listened to the score instead of the poet’s face
or the last clap instead of the last line
Forgetting when it mattered what I had to say,
not how rehearsed I could say it
When it could never satisfy a room of strangers
Because when you drip poetry
Real,
frosted lavender
tangerine sunrise
we are damn alive
and still breathing
poetry

There is not a stranger in the room

When did we become audiences instead of families?
When did we find the time to judge between listening?
To exploit atoms of devastation into playdough?

Every word is a vibrating chick passing through silky palms
Your forgiving thumbs
That cannot crumble a pulse
cannot rehearse a raw soul into submission
Poetry can’t be trampled into a political agenda
Because there is nothing political about survival
It pirouettes through reincarnated hope

Leaves of spoken word refuse to wrinkle in the sunlight
Refuse to plummet into dust
Stanzas will not decay
they are god rising from a sea of tomorrows
and maybe I can I only find colorless miracles at my doorstep
maybe you ruined them for me
But you will never ruin them for good.

Contact

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!