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Friday, October 2, 2015

Fading Tide

I am too accustomed to drowning above sea level
Gasping in a flood of forgotten memories
When you give yourself to a whirlpool
the strokes of her fingers won't wash away

When you kiss a tsunami
Spend a night 
pressed against a blushing ocean
The blue you don’t fall for
But into
You'll take razors to her waves
And snort her foam like cocaine
Like swallowing syllables
Like inhaling a song
Belugas singing operatic lullabies

Whales do not have gills
Which is to say
They do not breathe under water
Which is to say
They live half drowning
Feeding off a universe they were not built to inhabit
The sting of saltwater across their lungs

She was crinkled toes
The misplaced habitat
And you were an orca in the closet
she wasn't going back inside

You loved her more than breathing
More than the dresses you hid the gay under
You gave her the parts they told you only belonged to men 
Tasted your mother's trembles on her lips

I’ve never loved someone for their convenience
Someone who could deliver all of themselves
So I chase tidal waves
Let them step on me
because their footprint is a larger stamp of passion
than any second date

Have you ever suffocated above water?
Would you dive into acid
Because it’s the pool big enough to swallow you
Because it’s the only body that can cradle yours
Because the air you can breathe tastes like arsenic
Like cracked veins
Like open wound apologies
The stabbing empty?

I am too accustomed to drowning above sea level
Transplanting my heart into the fading tide

Monday, September 7, 2015

Massacre On Demand

So last week I read my grandma’s memoir.
It’s been years since she’s passed
and eras since I’ve heard her talk about the Holocaust.

You see us children of genocide
never quite visit our family trees.
Massacre coats our branches
browning memory into history
like leaves exhaling chlorophyll.

Before you know it everything is crumbled
in a pile beneath stained converse.

At 19 I’m literate enough to read my DNA
and it feels the picture book beasts I shoved under my bed
burrowed into this tattered oak of ancestry.

I learn to count people reduced to numbers,
branches I never knew were chopped down.
Nazis came to her village
clogged every Jew into the temple
and set it on fire
set it to charring flesh
set it to the dress rehearsal of broken bloodlines

when they played jenga with her neighbors corpses
when swastika hooked smiles collided with her mother’s begs
when they compressed children into the cattle car
the other girls didn’t wait to become livestock.
they told her gas chambers serve death cold
they told her shave your skin
they told her slice your wrists before the slaughter

I come from lambs who painted their own doorframes crimson
to avoid meeting the angel of death.

My grandmother coated her gold necklace in their blood 
and burrowed in her vagina
hoping Mengele would mistake her last bargaining chip
for her final traces of womanhood.
She sold it in starvation and it paid for the next 60 years of her life.

I didn’t write this poem about the Holocaust.
I could write a thousand poems about the Holocaust
but I would just be a newborn describing the agony of my mother’s labor.
You see more people would be disturbed
by the mention of my grandma’s period than the genocide of her people.
It’s harder to talk about menstruation then mass murder.
They make horror movies
but tampon commercials use unidentified blue fluid.
And I don’t know if it’s because the men who are running this world
know that little about female anatomy
or it’s easier to silence girls bodies before their mouths.

We are marble chiseled to porcelain
to trimmed skin and concealed faces
to limp hands and sleeping tongues
They carve question marks into our throats.
Mold my privates into so much shame
I'm afraid to get off my knees.
Apparently my vagina only matters when it's vacant
Apparently pussy only sounds right on a frat boy's tongue
Apparently my grandma’s body is more repulsive
than starving infants
than shattered skulls
than 11 million forgotten names
dinner places and lullabies
Apparently we have redesigned genocide.
They will call me a feminazi
for wanting to be heard instead of hunted.

I read my grandma’s account because some stories can’t be said out loud.
The syllables sizzle your tongue.
Learning my history is swallowing matches,
hoping my oxygenated mouth won't catch fire.
But when yesterday is a gas chamber,
defiance is to keep breathing--
filling each exhale with words.
Don’t tell me my body isn’t fit for conversation.
Don’t censor my tampons and put game of thrones on prime time.
I’m bored of massacre on demand.
We’ve fought for 5,000 years to be human
but our women are still fighting.
So what’s more barbaric?
The people who tried to kill my grandma,
or what that kept her alive?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


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
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
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

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
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

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
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
I'm a scene in your feature
And you cut to the climax 
You Fade in
I Fade out

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


There are a lot of things I wish stayed in middle school
my six foot boyfriend and his six inch jewfro
my portrait snapped mid sneeze
and being the class piñata  
I’m halfway through college
and I still recognize my face on unwanted posters
my name better in gossip than greeting
Some of us never outrun our bullies
never discover how to conceal the kick me tattoos
We are never invited to the party
but find ourselves
dangling from the ceiling
neon limbs outstretched
from a crayon tinted belly

They parade beneath me
clenching thick clubs and sealed teeth
They say I’m too colorful
a flamboyant mess coated 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
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 friend whispers
they are just egg shells
I wasn’t invited but yet I am the main event of your fiesta

To all my pinatas;
the reason they swing
is because you hang three feet above them
Don’t forget they are men playing a child’s game
Empty heart chambers stab at our stomachs
because they’re desperate to consume our calories
Ask them,
what’s it like to be hollow?
to beat hypertonic blood and too much oxygen
create words but just spit out air
Call them a crowd of waning atmospheres
without enough burn to evaporate the sea you carry
the vulnerability to release your feet from the earth

I’ve learned my dangle is just clumsy flying
that my thick thighs applaud as I strut to class
that you picked the wrong piñata
that 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 bursts of stars
I don’t care if my flavor is too much for you to digest
They made my tongue from twizzlers and heart of hershey's

Let’s snicker at gravity
Even Newton can’t get us to obey his laws
They say every action gets an equal and opposite reaction
but we can drown stabs in a tsunami of sugar
kill them with candy

bursting our stomachs will only make us more hungry
so go ahead,

take a swing.

. . .

. . .


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
New York & Los Angeles work preferred!