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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Bringing Metaphors to Gunfights

You tell me I can't bring a metaphor to a gunfight
But my mouth does more than bite
I put the light into literature
Fight dicks with diction
Eclipse stones and sticks with fiction
Because I have an addiction to alliteration
A fixation on characterization
And I'll con you with my connotation 
Bring a catastrophe with my anastrophe
And damn I'm slam your hands with an anagram
Because I can't stand to use my fists
If you get me pissed I'll resist with a poetic list
And I'll twist our times into rhythm and rhymes
Remind you of your crimes and convict
Because I know my words can't prevent a punch to the face
But after the event they are my might and mace
They can't erase but they can misplace your power
Because I haven't faced defeat
Until I've drawn up an epilogue and conceit

My voice lasts longer than an attack
It derails your vile realism
Impales your narcissism
With a euphemism and a denotation
You might have mastered degradation
But I'm in a flirtation with verbal castration 
I've found salvation in narration
Dedication leads to a reformation of an altercation
And in publication I'm not a loser but an incarnation
Of using devastation as inspiration
Each poem is an amplification of my strength
Regardless of form or length 

This has a fist of irony
So go ahead, diss and be rude
I've got satire and mood
You'll get creamed in an stream of unconsciousness 
With each stanza and verse
I've slapped you with my poetic purse
And I don't need to rehearse being cold and terse
Adversity is life having diversity
This is the anniversary of the pain that will make you need some 
Oxy, moron
Because you're just synthetic
And I might stand silent but the only thing pathetic about me is my fallacies
I can take up any beef with biting motif
Any nemesis can face the gem that is my antithesis
Of what they think is right
Because tonight I'm bringing more than metaphors
To a gunfight.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Emotional Slut is An Artistic Addict


They say addiction runs in the family
Aunt Ellie was an alcoholic
Bathed her organs in liquor until they drowned
years too early to see Grandma
obsess over feeding us more servings than even Jewish guilt could digest
She offers every layer of her refrigerator
Desperate to cook up a way to be needed
When necessity escapes my mother
And I venture to adulthood
She regurgitates the same speech
Binging on old grudges
And vomiting up rants
like a bulimic of rhetoric

But I am no different
My life is a series of alls and nothings
I could never get enough of a boy or business
I get hung up on hang ups
Retell the same stories
I’m a running example of someone who can’t exercise constraint
Too loud
Too quick
I’ve been never been anything but polarizing
Addicted to the chaos that is me

These poems are just a fix
Each creation is an escalation
Because I can’t settle
With the last thing I’ve penned being the most potent
I’ve heard of cocaine addicts
peddling all their belongings for a new dose
Well I’ve been selling my life story for a new hit
The only difference between us
Is that I write lines rather than snort them

I’ve scraped up memories that don’t belong on paper
Pawned stolen moments for some rhymes
Never apologizing for degrading people into characters
Hoping to be acquitted in the silence
Dousing my liver in intoxicating letters
taking shots of words strong enough to erase yesterday
But I can’t backspace history like its in a word document
Drenching my voice in sterling metaphors never made my tongue silver

So I write things in someone else’s voice
Some big shot who thinks she’s hot
Because she can rhyme some slime
Chime in with a symphony
I slammed together a girl who wanted your respect not your sympathy
They weren’t poems
They collections of words that sound pretty
Language that fits but doesn’t fit me
But when I write and say it
Plan and play it
I borrow the tongue of a character I created
And my empty voice box is sated
Because no one will think it’s void when dressed in wrapping paper

Strangers exclaim I have a gift
But my family of addiction experts
can detect the scent of me fucking myself over
Drowning my personality in persona
Even if the aftertaste is talent
The last time I gave away heirloom of whispers
Finding validation through publication
Mama grabbed my pen and tattooed whore across my wrist
And it made sense
I’ve been walking around naked
Plunging zippers and seams with prose
Hoping if I decide to make myself this way
when the world touches I’m not being probed
You can’t hurt me if I make the first cut
And Mama’s right when she tells me I’m an emotional slut
Undressing to deposit more snaps in my vault of self esteem
But what gives you the right to intervene
Just because you sing another tune of obsession

When I rhyme I’m not honest
I am safe
No one recognizes a cry for salvation expressed in art
All the artists I know
Are broken pieces shattering on the floor
But it’s acceptable because after a certain point it looks like shimmer
Something innovative or creative
A beautiful abstraction
Because we love when we can relate to things
When the cracks match the ruptures in our hearts
But I’m tired of being enabled
By a world that lets me drunkenly drive my life
Because they like the designs of the skid-marks I leave behind

But where’s the rehab or remission
For an obscure addiction
Like poetic submission
Derision for my love of revision
Incision that can refrain the wordsmith in my brain
That explains my progress and pain
On a public platform
Maybe you can reform
Someone addicted to drugs or sex
But what do you prescribe to an obsessed scribe
Who only feels alive

When the life is recorded in text?

Friday, December 20, 2013

For The Girl Who's Name I Can't Pronounce

  1. I found you in the in-betweens. You were deposited on the shorelines of my life, waving between odd and even elevators, home and the party, your fingers laying in the cracks in mine. You’re the boundary between me being socially normal and completely insane, hysterical breakdowns and emotional laughter, Catalina and that bird excrement coated island. I like walking on the edges, following the cracks between slabs of sidewalk. The in-betweens are a direction worth following.
  2. The only time that I had more fun walking home than during the party was when we became friends. We didn’t communicate so well, but we had a conversation. There’s a path across Los Angeles painted with pieces of you,  an improper but perfect introduction.
  3. I’ve never told you this, but I don’t know how to actually pronounce your real name. We never formally met, and for a while I identified you as Vaidalgdhgshoi. Isha is a good start, but once I return to sharing every moment that matters with you, will you please spell it out in the most phonetically simple white person way for me?
  4. If I still can’t manage to impress your official name within the crevices of my atria, I’ll name you myself. Because in my head you are the girl with the big eyes and bigger smile, the ear that doesn’t just listen but hears, the oar pushing mine forward, the anytime cuddle buddy, the child who watches Bollywood films but refuses to be anything but authentic, the drunken fireworks. You explode in an uninhibited chaos - your colors illuminating the night entrancing those around you with a vibrancy that an experience alone can’t establish. Or I can just call you my friend.
  5. You’re my friend - one who gets along with all the pieces of me. I appreciate that more than I can describe. You’d need a real poet to do that. But if I was a real poet I’d tell you that the girl at the gym would run as many miles as you’d want, the one in the dining hall isn’t afraid to eat weird cheese and tomato combos in front of you. The shard of me sitting on that moonlit staircase located in Unfamiliar, California doesn’t feel lost because it’s in your zip code. It’s the same security that lets a fragment of me sleep on a public quad unafraid that the sunlight is my only blanket. You get along with the scraps of me that feel worthless and the ones that have less worth. They say that great friends are the people you don’t have to change for but irreplaceable friends are those who you can change in front of. When I pull on a new pair of identities you don’t avert your eyes. You’ve seen me naked so many times and even when I’m putting a mediocre outfit and outlook you’re never ashamed to stare right at me. When you accept the collisions and catastrophes that accumulate to the disaster that is me, you make me feel like I can do it too.
  6. I’ve slept on your futon, but one night, can I sleep in your skin? I’d like to spend a night cradled in a beautiful home.
  7. I’m a big mouthed monster who messes up stories and retells the same narrative over and over again. I hope that if I repeat it enough times the truth will taste right in my mouth. I might be saying realities over and over but that’s the lie that my head is replaying. I talk to stampede the sounds out of my mind yet you keep listening to the same tune. I’m a broken iPod. I can’t move onto the next track. Yet you never replace me with a make and model that can actually function. I’ve checked to see if your headphones are broken. They’re not.
  8. I think the reason you aren’t playing Lorde instead is that you believe I’m better than the person I know I am.
  9. That’s funny because you’re twice the person you think you are.
  10. We’ve got this ying yang thing going on. You feel like holding onto people binds you; I think wrapping me and every guy of the week together in chains is liberating. You bask in the privacy of introvertedness; solitude haunts me like my first allergic reaction. You’ve stroked farther into the sea, softly inhaling the salt lined air while I’m half way there and hyperventilating, choking on the experience lined molecules, momentary splashes devastating, inflicting destruction on the hometown I call normal.
  11. The ying yang’s figures are eternally curved inward, as if in a hug.
  12. I wish I could hug you forever.
  13. Because your hugs feel like first kisses, favored fortunes, college acceptances. They taste like the bubblegum inside a blow pop, the skin of cheddar over fresh mac n’ cheese, free food that wasn’t yours to take. I don’t feel worthy of them. But the person you describe who wears my face and name is.
  14. If you asked me to go watch paint dry with you I’d do it. And it would probably be more fun than half the other activities I’ve donated minutes of my life to.
  15. It also would go pretty fast because there’s this warmth you emit every time you laugh. Whenever I want to go swimming, I tell you a joke. As soon as that hot music cascades over me I have a pool of wonder big enough to backstroke a thousand laps.
  16. I don’t quite know how you manage to say “aw, baby!” and never let it have a weird connotation. It’s not sexual or strange, not some patronizing sympathy whisked together through simple words. It’s just you caring.
  17. You should be studying caretaking. You take care and transform it to compassion, fashion that to encouragement, taper it to courage and mold it into strength.You hold up things bigger than weight or mountains. Your small hands bolster people, levitating us. You convince us we are flying or at least have the ability to fly.
  18. I think you’re my newest long lasting friendship, the freshest person in the list of individuals who matter, who make me feel like I matter. You’re a new candle plunged into the cake I call my life.
  19. Wedged between levels of chocolate ganache and strawberry jelly, you bring a light I didn’t think I needed. And as you whisper wind and wishes across your blazing pastry I hope those little fires give you everything you ask for and also the things you forget to desire or don’t even know exist to pine over. Because those are what make a new year of life worth living.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Performance Art

We cluster around the table like knots at the end of a hairbrush
Mesmerized as we watch a girl
Douse herself with milk
Chanting moderately relevant mystical statements
We find meaning in the nothingness she has created
The potent ideas that we can’t find behind her
“performance art”
We are obsessed
For we are the elitists when it comes to other people’s pretension
Claiming ironically that we were
Just trying to be free
As we make the same bad decisions
We laugh at the kids with beanies
Because we are the true artists
Dressed like homeless people
Sipping tea with our laptops
We snarl at the hipsters
Declaring that we despise the phonies
As I coil my head with another band
And lust over boys with sweater-collared-shirt combos
We are too modern to be politically correct
And never afraid to shock ourselves with our own ideas
Empowered by the fact we rebelled against society
See we refuse to conform to your nonconformity
We ignited the revolution of normal
Sneaking into Spielberg screenings
Competing over who can pry into the psychology of our partner best
Our fights are when we shove the internal to the external
Arguments about narcissism and originality
We lie to each other
Display the character flaws we love about each other as vices
We define ourselves as the coolest uncool kids
Trampling on the toes of our faiths
I say Jesus is a false idol
You tell me that the only one who chose Jews was ourselves
I mix you liquid melodrama
And watch as you force it down
It never kicks in
We are living the placebo effect
Never connected to the series of stories that compose our lives
The world is just malleable material
That we churn in our minds
We want to be crazy
So we can post-analyze why and how we did it
Feel accomplished in our ability to live
Not because we mean it
We mock the liberal arts college idealist
And the NYU indie filmmaker
As you minor in philosophy
And I in resistance to genocide
Feeling superior because
Some list told us that the film school we attend
Is slightly more elite
We, the anti-hipster intellectuals
Claim to be the real artists


But we all know is performance

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Lunatics Called Geniuses

If you were to diagnose me 
With the right form of insanity
It'd have to be creativity
There are voices in my head
I thread what they say
And that's not ok
I need some medication
For this sensation
Of obligation
Every time a line or rhyme
Wanders through me
I need to state
Or create a place for it
I don't have needles
But I constantly knit
Traits and quirks together
I listen to the rain
And claim it's the past speaking
Tweaking moments of my life 
Into instants of light
And there's no treatment in sight
Because I put prose in prozac
The riddle in riddlin
Every piece of advice becomes a device
that i try to spin
Into characters I treat as kin
Then place in a bin 
To use at my disposal
Until I can muster a proposal of place
A use to my taste
and I waste the pieces of my self I put on paper
I can't taper the taunts I hear in the wind
Because I think it's god tapping on my shoulder
Every boulder
Is a holder of secrets
I pretend I'm nature's Ryan Secrest
Obsessed with obtaining 
A way of narrating and explaining
The world that I'm just another member of
I accept only fantasies
Of life and love
Don't believe in stuff
Like ends and enough
The world's greatest profanity is humanity
And I wish you could hand it to me
So I could see some clarity
Because inspiration comes and stares and me
And I don't know what to say
It's that awkward elevator silence
That won't be silenced
Won't be sent away 
It likes to play within the caverns of my mind
Unwind my DNA
It's madness
The maddest madness
That I possess
And I can't address
The unrest
Cased within my bones
Thoughts about voices and tones
Trying to be the one who broke the phones
So I could hear the message
Because sometimes you have to make it unclear
To make it make sense
I'm getting tense
Because I don't know what I'm saying
Just playing with words
Hoping that some idiot is going to make sense of them
Squint their eyes hard enough to discover a gem
Find the amazing in my mania
Say there are lunatics called geniuses

And that I'm one of them.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

For Your Own Safety


Please refrain from expressing your emotions
Except in the predesignated areas
This includes
Your own mind
Your best friend’s arms
A hidden folder on your laptop

If you allow your feelings to be expressed
At a party
To a guy
On your blog
On your face

You will be prosecuted for indecent exposure

Anger
Betrayal
Love
Discontent
Fear
Are not permitted on a public platform
And are inappropriate when shared via song lyrics
Or through social media

Thank you for your consideration
And remember, this is for your own safety.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Reality Ends Here

The West Coast has taught me that being a strong personality can be seen as a weakness
That to be liked more I've got to speak less
Not address the issues
Swallow tears and tissues
Confine the stress within my mind
Be dull and that's how you'll shine

But I can't find the key to lock myself in
You say I have no filter
But that's not the way I've been
There are secrets locked in a tomb
Instead I heave and thread some thoughts in my head
So the ones that can't leave have some room

And it's not an explosion even though you heard a boom
It's just the sound of my voice
The sound of my choice to live my life out loud
I've been told power is silence
Wordless scheming violence
But command is for those who have the courage to make themselves vulnerable
Who can hand you their secrets with no shame
Tell you their story but also their name
But California has just passed me passivity and the same

You tell me to be seen and not heard
But no one will look at you if you don't have the courage to call out their name
I can't hum the sum of the same
It's good to drum your feet to your own beat
But what if mine is my own flame
I'm told being big and bold should cause me shame
What if I'm supposed to speak my life story
Put out my private parts and don't let the world ignore me
Don't give a shit if what I spit makes you deplore me
There is beauty in the beast 
Who's not afraid to step on toes
Who doesn't make a scene but puts on whole shows
Doesn't show up but actually goes there
Doesn't care if they snap or snare
Because Los Angeles if reality starts here
I'm still living in the fantasy
And if the crowd abandons me
I'll feel safe and have faith in my friends
Because there's no isolation when your world opens
No hole when your heart extends
So Hollywood bring your best weapons

Because I'm the freak
Who'll speak
Kiss life on the cheek
Cry and not be weak
Sigh as I shriek
Change but not tweak
Flood never leak
I am not meek
I am unique
And my mystique
You critique
But it's beautiful all the same
Because I'm strong and a personality
The dry hurricane.

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!