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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

alLIES


If poetry slams worked like privilege
Each scar carved other would be
a step back from the microphone
People of color
Step back
Queer community
Step back
The wrong religion
Step back
Wrong bank account - back
wrong neighborhood - back
the wrong body
the wrong back
back
back
I never find myself far enough on the stage
For the mic not to outstretch its wires
My privilege accompanies my words with brass echo
This poem is for those who had everything right
Whose aorta memorized the tune of forward
Who’ve never been to war for their own existence
But crave the breeze of ruptured grenades

This poem is for the ally
The poet whose only tasted riot in his metaphors
The non-survivor who takes back the night she’s never had
I am an ally
hashtagging child bones
Without the spine to protest the police
Donating expired cans of apology
We dress up bruja a thousand miles from Salem
We say, I am at the witchhunt
I am an ally
I am
I am an ally
I am
I am
I
I
I
All I
All I

I've realized so many allies are mirrors trying to sand themselves into windows
It’s so easy to claim you’re burning for other people
when it’s just friendly fire
How many platoons have white savior flags shoved down their throats?
Yes, we need allies
Without French bullets our nation would still be coated in red
but you’re not a social justice warrior
if you never bother to walk in someone else’s boots
you can’t paint your heart purple
when you’re not sketched by the frontlines
when you don’t do basic training
Learn how to be an ally
how to avoid stuffing  your roommate’s tears with question marks
Even when they fall from a bipolar episode
Be man enough to shield your girlfriend when she bleeds through her pants
Demand campus police find the girl soaked in smirnoff and frat salvia
When they shoot humiliation
Remember your shame will only last tonight
Remember denying a transgender man his name
Is stitching numbers on your grandma’s forearm
Rip toxic pronouns from your mouth
Rip slut
Rip victim
Rip all lives matter
Rip until your teeth are fossils in a graveyard
carrying eulogies memorized by black mothers
When they tell us to shed pounds,
remember five year old brown girls
are mixing up bleach cocktails
to shed the melanin from their skin

My privilege is genocide I never have to acknowledge
The battle scars I don’t have to cover up
Being an ally is looking at American curb stomping
and picking the concrete out of your neighbor’s teeth
Look through that mirror—
Notice not everyone’s skin is a bulletproof vest
Remember what this poem would sound like
Without my whiteness
my education
and my gas money

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Manic Pixie Dream Girl


FADE IN
ACT ONE
the ordinary world
The boy rain dances in 
December hoping to befriend 
all the other special snowflakes
I rollerblade 13 minutes in
a balloon in my hand
an indie soundtrack in your eardrum
I am the inciting incident 
in his love story
with himself
CROSSFADE
He sees me spit poems in a floral crown
Which I collect
I am a collector
Of stories and calories
Granny hammy downs
Thrift store receipts 
and boys who ask for my number before my name
Because I'm also a collectable 
A silver token for your trophy shelf
Beside Zooey Deschanel and Kate Winslet
We are manic pixie dream girls 
And men love us for sport

ACT TWO
I call them men but they're boys
Not done with school
So I teach them
Feelings are red ants 
let them construct a colony in your stomach 
They will consume your veins
Set your fractures free
Freedom is a decision
As is kissing at every statue
As is sprinting through sprinklers
As is our quirky romance
You feed me alphabet soup until I puke up love letters
I am a prop
Oscar worthy production design
The Cinematography is shot from your point of view
What's the budget for channelling a free spirit in a mind of mirrors?
A relationship?
You can't date an experience
SMASH CUT
You directed
Save me from my car crash organs
Tissues crumbled with surrender
I donated my atria 
And now you want me 
to open my thighs like jaws of life
LENS FLARE
I'm a scene in your feature
And you cut to the climax 
You Fade in
I Fade out

ACT THREE
the thing about letting a woman be your temple
Is that when you kneel in peach sunbeams
You forget they come through our stain glass skin
Mosaic broken
bound by abandoned promises
You walk over our cracks like sidewalk
Afraid of breaking the back of your fantasy
I'm just the path to a less foggy mirror
Transplant my kidneys as you fade to black

I've had enough sleepless nights to realize 
that I may be a manic pixie dream girl
But the dreams are only yours

I want to rupture reality
I want to go off script
I want to go out
Fade out
Fade out
Out of this body
Out of these lines
They call them acts because we are only acting
life isn't 35mm
You can't crumble each breath into a frame
I am not a character
I am the writer
Inking up the pages of my flesh
each stanza tattooed permanence 
bleeding honesty
The sequel will be about me.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Piñata

Neon string cradles my neck
as I dangle from the ceiling
purple limbs outstretched
from my crayon tinted belly

they parade beneath me
clenching thick clubs and sealed teeth
they say I’m too colorful
a flamboyant mess
concealed in paper maché skin
an elementary school experiment
with safety scissor edges
bleeding from elmer’s glue ligaments
the game begins
boys and girls take blind turns
attempting to kamikaze my ribs
stampeding me with wood
to see what they can beat out
as if I have not already felt the collision of fists
as if I haven’t rubbed salt in my own wounds
as if my life path isn’t paved with egg shells
As I’m choking on my noose
a boy whispers
they are just egg shells
I glance down and realize
the reason they swing
is because I hang three feet above them
that they are men playing a child’s game
I wasn’t invited but yet I am the main event of your fiesta
I’m a peacock who didn’t need her feathers
so you take stabs at my stomach
desperate to consume my calories
and fill that empty heart chamber

what’s it like to be hollow?
to beat hypertonic blood and too much oxygen
create words but just spit out air
you are a crowd of waning atmospheres
without enough burn to evaporate the sea I carry
the vulnerability to release my feet from the earth
my dangle feels a lot like flying
my thick thighs clap as I walk down the street
applauding my parade to heaven

put down your pine branches
I am no vampire
no Salem descendant
you’re bringing lit pikes?
you can’t burn an inferno at the stake
you picked the wrong piñata
you can’t break me

and if you puncture my flesh
bite me
I’m made of jawbreakers
hard enough to crack your strongest bones
my bubblegum lungs exhale honesty
the shape shifter of beauty
I don’t care if my flavor is too much for you to digest
I surf in a sea of stomach acid
they made my tongue from embers and heart of steel
because piñatas crave more than gold
you don’t need a staircase of trophies
when you seized permission to pierce the sky

I snicker at gravity
even Newton can’t get me to obey his laws
they say
every action gets an equal and opposite reaction
but when you slap me I body roll a torpedo
bursting my stomach will only make me more hungry
so go ahead,


take a swing.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Mourning Glory

I wake up to sunlight shrieking
wonder if one day
my bed
will be a graveyard
my bones fossilized between its sheets
there are days when I don’t have the strength to get up
days when I hold my core
to stop it from crumbling
days when the mirror is the nastiest girl in school
I cover up
cover the zits
cover the excess fat
cover all the ugly
swallow
swallow pills to fix my acne
pills to liquidate my pudge
pills to make me seen and not heard
heard the makeup across the counter
coat myself with foundation,
to create a thicker skin
a wall to seal ruptures beneath
this crazy
this crazy bitch
bitching and twitching
I’m a wind up doll dancing out of turn
it is always a dance
a tapping across my flesh
fleshy ants colonizing me
I’m hollow
Wood infested with termites
sometimes I wish I was ugly
had an excuse for the hatred
radiating from colliding eyes
everyone treats me like the kid daddy never wanted
because I am the kid who daddy never wanted
who still wanted to want her self
I have dreams of bulldozing people
aspire to make myself flat
purge my personality
because they don’t want a woman with a personality
they convict me for convictions
say I’m prettier with my mouth shut
that girls this girly shouldn’t act like a man
shouldn’t fight like a man
shouldn’t fight a man
but surviving each morning is fighting a man
my bathroom is a battlefield
I’ve cried in that shower
ripped off skin in that sink
I’ve learned to vomit so it doesn’t mess up my hair
mess up
mess up
it’s a mess
i’m a mess
possessed
by this flesh
by this need to get ready
I wonder if one day
it won’t feel like night at my vanity
I won’t massacre my own face
getting up won’t be going down
to a hell
I call my morning.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Santa Claws


I’m walking through the borrego desert
and a piece of lightning catches my flesh
like a zipper zipped too fast
I do not break
this sensation comes like rain
but since I’ve moved to California
I’m used to thunder outside my spine
I look into the cloud:
an old car with a man inside
a man who looks like my father
or at least what I know my father looks like
a bald head
white beard
round belly
and frosty skin
it’s the tenth anniversary since I’ve seen his face
all I have is a description
for all I know, my dad could be Santa Claus
arriving once a year
I know this is lousy metaphor for my abandonment
but when you’re Jewish
Santa loses jolly texture
no Christmas
no dripping sleighbells
no coal stuffed stocking
naughty and nice lay upside down
empty
check
you are not on his list
check
at the bus stop a boy recalls
the book where the baby bird falls from its nest
and repeats to strangers
are you my mother?
in brooklyn
he says
they ask, “Are you my daddy?”
laughing at my jagged punchlines
the ho ho ho
shuddering thunder at the mall
and the target parking lot
Are you my daddy
the chinese restaurant
Are you
the movie theatre
you
you know it’s the holidays
when you find familiar faces on strange skin
christmas carols shriek hail
pouring down undetermined ifs
if you were a figment
a fig ready to shrivel before
I grow beneath beatings
radiating memories bleeding mourning
it is christmas morning
and a knock echoes through my hollow house
I look through the window
and find lightning bouncing
no it’s snow
let it snow
let it snow
let it blizzard through me
the face that I see everywhere
is blizzarding through the window
finally cold enough
It’s the real Santa
sleigh bells bang
I tell rebecca
get up stairs
get up
float away or drown in ice
Santa screams
open the fucking door you cunt
reindeer gallop and clang
I am so glad we don’t have a chimney
for him to crawl down
no fireplace to beg for coal
mama’s out for milk and no cookies
and Santa Claus
claws at us
less saint and more bear
I can’t bear it
bare bones whispering
you are not real
you are not real
you are just a reel trying to catch me
I’m no longer a fish
I’m a woman in girls skin
skinning this ideal alive
this searching in empty pockets of my lungs
leaving the mall
filling the target parking lot
chinese restaurant and movie theater
washing lightning from my lips

clouds part an hour later
Santa leaves two rolex watches outside
I close the door
realizing it was never locked
I’m 12
and I stop believing.

. . .

. . .

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!