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Thursday, July 26, 2012

We Can

Here's a message that I think all young people should hear.

I can.
You can.
We can.
--Underage Voices

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Diversity Means:


A state of difference; dissimilitude; unlikeness.

That’s what Webster says

But he is wrong
For the part of the song that is diversity is not dissonance
But harmony
When two different voices weave gracefully
A vibrant tapestry of separate ideas
Different places and keys
To doors that only a single one is incapable of opening
Diversity is when we
Are one
You and me
Yes, just the two of us
Not every hand of every race
Holding each other on a mural’s face
For I know that diversity is more than that
Diversity doesn’t have to mean the entire world
There is diversity in our own homes
In our own hearts
In my heart
Every time you walk my way
The diversity means the stew of emotions frolicking within my deepest chambers
Nervousness and then comfort
Begging for me to mold myself within your arms
Or run away
The phenomenon that I cannot classify as natural or not
When one human can get so many thoughts
But can derive nothing to say
That is diversity
Diversity is defined
By the time we first danced
The rigid ice of my movements
Cradled by the flimsy uneasiness of yours
How both fluidity and order lurked in the awkward teenage affair air
Diversity means the moment when I thought I knew what it all means
Yet I still felt lost
To me it is defined
Not by rigid lines
Just when two things, two feelings, two people
(If you can even call us people when we are together,
for I feel we are just spirits
dispensing in the moments or surrendering ourselves to these emotions we cannot control)
That are separate become one
When differences become cohesive and create one being
One memory
One beautiful thing
That is speckled with the ingredients that make us each separate
And make us
Breathtaking
Amazing
Rippling
And blazing
A fire that we want
That we need
To burn up each of our homes
Diversity is when I look at your aphotic complexion
And then you brush against my cheek
And joke about how I make the snowflakes freefalling on us
Look like they dived off a tanning booth
I’ve always said that I wanted to yield children of my same blood
And diversity means that nothing could be more delicate and ethereal than our two identities
So separate
Merging as one
Diversity means that in one relationship
We can laugh over how the repulsiveness of school lunches has increased exponentially
And then talk about the paths we are taking and paving
In one conversation
Diversity does not mean
Just variety
Diversity does not mean
Two colors
Or thoughts
Or dreams
Or directions
Or schemes
Diversity is when those thoughts are joined
When those dreams become a single blooming vision
The two directions merge into one road
When multiple schemes are overarched as a magnificent theme
Yet each individual retains its own identity
When we can still look at the beauty of the different components
And admire all they have to offer
Diversity means that the fusion
Is turbulent
Permanent
Opulent
And is meant
To be
Contingent
Sufficient
A mission
That we must all grab with soft yet firm fists
Diversity means this world
Diversity means us
And if we mean something
Then we are meant to be.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A letter to my future lover


Dear future lover, 
My heart is not a clear map
It is a multicolored kaleidoscope
That I constantly stare at
But never can decipher
It is a whirlpool of lines and dots and emotions
That swallow everything and anything in their path
It is a conglomerate
Of forgotten best friends
And best friends who forget
First loves and old flames
That sometimes still scorch me
It is a beast that can only feel safe in poetry
Happy in the deserts of Israel
And grateful at the summit of Masada
It sings with a broken voice box
For freedom
It is a bird who isn’t caged but constantly feels enslaved
It is a child who grew up
And just wants to return to its neighborhood
Childhood
It feels, acts, and then finally thinks
It’s full of unjustified faith that speaks for what it believes in
And learns after everything has been said and done,
Collects seas shells after the ocean has already washed most of them away.
My heart is a chamber of regrets
Of the times I didn’t say I deserved something
And watched it be tossed over to someone
Who would toss it away.
It sometimes contracts with anger
Rage towards the past
And then fury at my own self pity
And refusal to move the hell on.
It is a college applicant stuffed with fear
Who doesn’t know if it wants to write poems
Or save lives when it grows up
It begs for independence
Yet is terrified of it
It loves the sensation of sunlight
But prefers the scent of rain kissed leaves
It wants to be held and nurtured and treasured
But not by just anyone.
It has accepted a new stepfather
It has attempted to guide a sister
And has produced undulating thoughts about a mother that always end in love
It worries about a grandmother
And longs for a stolen grandpa
My heart is bold and outspoken
And it pisses a lot of people off
But it is so insecure and sensitive
It hides behind a wall of individuality.
It is occasionally creative
And constantly passionate
Inspired by the whims of a g-d it thinks it believes in
And the world it has been told he (or she) created.
Sometimes it lumps activists together as whining liberals
And then fights to become one.
It has no goals but to be extraordinary
But has not a clue in which field
Nor how to accomplish the goal.
Its favorite activities are thrice offenders
When it comes to heartbreaking
And my heart loves to throw itself upon people who aren’t even sure
Which shade of pink it is.
It breathes quickly and deeply
Climbs slowly and steeply
Over wrong mountains
But laughs because the journey was the right one.
It wants to be valuable
But not to have a price.
It despised 5th grade
But fell for sophomore year
And wept when he left her.
It craves to be in control only in out of control situations
And argues if it is a synonym with soul.
It’s a fickle friend with the mind.
It tries not to get stuck behind
But adores history
And the past.
And it moves too fast
And its elements are longer than what can be described in a single poem.
So future lover
If you would like to explore the 700 seas of my heart
Bring a large yet gentle ship
Your voyage will be long and hectic
Climatic and dramatic
But don’t you dare depart.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The 9/11 Generation Poem


Where were you when Kennedy was shot?
That was the question that unified a generation
A generation that I am not a part of
And lately I have been speculating about my question
Our question
What experience defines us?
What's our eternal and internal reflection?
I peered into the past
And found it easy to discover
Polluting paint in fireman's helmets
Rippling through wandering smoke
Lurking around the ruins
Pirouetting on crumbled bricks
It's heavy feet shattering the glass
Of already broken windows
Where were you when the planes hit the twin towers?

This is not going to be a morbid poem.
There will be no political undertones
No lingering devastation
Just an underage voice.

Most youthful poets have embraced this prompt
Using mysterious diction to describe
The bitter clash of cultures
The electrocuting uncertainty
And the event that we barely remember
But can never forget

They say I'm a member of the 9/11 generation
Nurtured by TSA violations
The Muslim backlash
and the Patriot Act
No, I don't remember a world where you didn't
Expect the government listening in
On your call to grandma
Asking about her health
Fear is normal, natural
The supernatural is expected
And the discomfort is reflected
When I say I am an American
And my peers want me to declare it in shame
Claiming that our constant intervention
Sticking our noses—
guns into everyone else's business
Caused this
They say we brought it upon ourselves
They say a lot of things
They say a lot of wrong things

They say I'm a member of the 9/11 generation
I was in kindergarten when the plane dove into the towers
When the smoke consumed thousands of lives in mere moments weaved into hours
When the insecurities and the anguish of the once modern building
Collapsed into itself
Then into us
It fell
We were left tilting
Petrified
The teachers wanted to protect us
So they said nothing
We made macramé instead
Mine wasn't twisted red, white, and blue ties
Lilac and sunrise were the only shades in my eyes
For I was no patriot
I didn't have patriotism or politics in my head
I didn't know relations and war
Or how they both made us sore
I couldn’t comprehend terror
Or why it dwelled in the term terrorism
I knew that Michelle and Sam left early that day
So when my mother pulled me out of school
And asked me the question
Do you know what happened?
I couldn't understand
Even after she explained it

They say I'm a member of the 9/11 generation
I've heard that everyone thought that was our final day
That panic pierced the air in vicious way
Images of destruction cemented in our parents' minds
That it was the crucial moment
When we had to create the courage to fight
Or the agility to flee

They say I'm a member of the 9/11 generation
But I don't agree
There were no tumbling skyscrapers on my television
There was Clifford and Sesame Street
In my hands I cradled Goodnight Moon
and Where the Wild Things Are
Instead of newspapers
Narrating where the wild things really were
I was a child
And I'm still a child
Just one gripping a pen
Raging and wild
I'm tired of being defined by something I don’t understand
By fear and death at others' hands
All the destruction and decay
That swallowed that day
I'm defined by creation
By the 10,000 babies born in those 24 hours
By the heroism of Flight 93
How they let the plane crash into a barren Pennsylvania field
Before the courage in their hearts decided to flee
By the man adorning a scarlet bandana
Who scurried from the offices
Liberating the news of the true situation
Our contemporary Paul Revere
The dead are just that
Dead
But I'm alive
Fresh ivy has grown over the ruins
A girl celebrated her 10th year
The newborn beauty
Will outlast the devastation
The fire on the buildings' skin has extinguished
But the roar of determination
The flames of resilience
Never will
It will fuel our American engine
Push us to sing louder
Dance faster
Fight
But love harder
We will fill those moments of silence with reincarnated hope

I am a part of the 9/11 generation
The generation of redemption
And forgiveness
Of strength in the face of hatred
We are the generation of liberation
Of the oppressed
Of the terror
Of the intolerance that spawned the event
The generation that kindled light in the shadows
The generation that took down Osama
But wishes we didn't have to
We are the generation who used Blue's Clues
to find out Where's Waldo
I am the generation of the first female president
The one who will expand the statute of limitations for rape
Who will eliminate poverty
And lynch racism

And this is our 9/11 poem
It is not morbid
It has no political undertones
Just thousands of underage voices
Shouting for justice with dignity
This poem holds the scent of freedom
And a taste of liberty
There is no lingering devastation
But bushels of loitering hope

We are the 9/11 generation
Don't define us by the agony we witnessed
But by the way we stood back up
Identify us with the reconstruction
Redirection and reflection
Stop telling me I am where I've been
I'm synonymous with where I'm going
Because I am embarking on uncharted territory
And honestly, I am terrified
But not enough to turn back.

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!