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Sunday, March 23, 2014

19 Thank Yous

  1. The moment we met keeps on splashing on my windshield. The droplet is attached to my windshield wipers as I sit here, trying to steer, and all I can do is gaze at it. The same interaction: I make a mistake, you correct and forgive me. Even though I know it's distracting, I love the rhythm it's creating by my dashboard. It's comforting.
  2. Thank you for parenting me through my 18th year. For stitching up my clothes and wounds, pouring in the occasional hydrogen peroxide or bleach when needed. I appreciate the fact that you do it and even though it hurts you to watch me sting. 
  3. This poem is going to be a lot of thank yous.
  4. Thank you for being so worthy of gratitude.
  5. Thank you for understanding honesty in a way I can't. For me, I always need to go right out there and say it, let all the words and emotions drip out of my mouth. You don't say it, but you speak it. When you wrap the truth in subtext it looks more like a present. Your modesty is more grandiose than my boldness. You figure skate on the thinnest ice and you look damn beautiful while doing it. 
  6. I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm following the engraved curves you've left behind. I fall a lot, but it's good to know there's a path out there worth following.
  7. Thank you for being my floaties. I know that I'm going to drown because I'm submerged in you instead of the chaos. Sometimes I just need to be held up and your arms are always willing to expand around my form. I'm glad that you're affectionate, that we can stroke each other's hair and spoon awkwardly. 
  8. I'm glad that we can be awkward, or rather that we've accepted each other's brand of strange. Maybe it's because we have a similar barcode laced in our lives or DNA but I feel so lucky that we compute.
  9. It's pretty fabulous how close we are sometimes feels like a secret. It's always after the party or the hang out or the moment that we curl up in each other's dialogue. Our souls like to linger behind closed doors and that makes it a lot easier for our spirits to show their private parts.
  10. I'm always the giver in my relationships. I've taken so many scalpels to my veins and let all my secrets spill out. I'm the main donor in the connection bank, providing all the inner opening up moments that we measure close friendship in. But I'll never forget that time you told me I was easy to talk to, that you felt safe drawing out your emotions. That was the first time anyone has told me that. You were the first one to trust my big heart over my big mouth.
  11. Your secrets are the only ones I've ever cared enough about to keep hidden.
  12. Our friendship is a series of trust falls but life is a never ending free fall. No one ever told me the difference between falling and flying but I think when you fly you know that you're going to land someplace you belong. I think you're my landing. Don't worry, I'm not going to fall on you but knowing you exist gives me the right to fly. 
  13. I think your writer fetish is adorable.
  14. I'm honored because for most people that repels them from me. They're all afraid of being inspiration because we'd rather be the ones making art than being put up on display. No one wants to see their reflection through someone else's eyes. Our pupils are cracked and we like to admire or despise the morphed form that we call ourselves. The real thing is terrifying, which is the other reason my writing puts shivers in people's boots. They want the girl in the poems not the one who wrote them. I see it in you too sometimes. I'm much cooler when I'm scripted, and people want to be friends with the one who speaks in rhymes rather than thinks in them.
  15. Thanks for being friends with the girl who talks in fears and bad jokes and scattered ideas. The one who resembles of bag of Ruffles, creased rippling hair, greasy face, and salty tears.
  16. That time you helped me move wasn't the first. You've helped me drag my crap from place to place, showing me where exactly to hide my dirty laundry and tuck in my comforters. You are my motion, and homeostasis is not everything staying in place but every particle and cell dancing in the right direction to the right tune. If my life is a body than you are it's heart, pounding the proper beat so I can stay in pace.
  17. I've had a lot of soup in your room. It's one of my favorite foods, and I think it's appropriate I have it with you, because you're one of my favorite people. Of course, there's going to be another metaphor, because you're one of the few who still say I have a gift, and what's the point if I don't use it on you? We are the soup, a conglomerate of different ingredients, shapes and forms, that have a satisfying sense of harmony. They shouldn't taste like one thing and they probably have are worthwhile on their own but together they flow like water that binds them.
  18. I didn't know that I could truly feel happy for someone else until you. I know that doesn't sound nice - I've been glad that my friends are doing well, but when you're thriving, I actually feel joy on your behalf. Knowing that the world is being kind to you reminds me that it's the beautiful place they tell us about.
  19. Once when I came off stage, you told me that you were fangirling for me. I just want you to know that I am always fangirling over you. You don't go to open mics, but I'm always amazed by the way you perform, by the resilience, the determination, the fearlessness and modesty in every step you take. I can't act, (as we learned the hard way) so I'm stunned by how you can play every role - a friend, a sister, a mother. I'm just so grateful that you've let me cheer in your stands.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sand Castles




They call it Long Island
not because of the outstretched miles
but textbook history
half a century ago we invented the picket fence
Laying out lines of identical sand castles
made from a Levittown mold
My new next door neighbor
walks through our overgrown lawn
and asks Mama if he can meet her husband

When she tells him she doesn’t have one
he says
You’ve come to the wrong neighborhood.

This poem is for you, Mr. Weinstein.
For the current you sent down my shore
crumbling wet pebbles that made our structure belong

You were so concerned with who my father was
when all I knew was who he wasn’t.
He was not a void
not a burrow in my familial tree
Mama taught my branches to pierce the sky
so I was never consumed by my roots

I never felt abandoned until you told me I should
using shattered seashells to carve my bark incomplete
engraving lines like
Maybe I need to be in a relationship to prove not every man’s my father
If he couldn’t love me what gave me the right to love myself
I’m supposed to be broken

I reduced my heart to shards
and handed them out to any man with palms
issuing love poems as adoption papers

But Mr. Weinstein,
I was not always sand
I was a boulder condemned by punches of salt
Chiseled away from a tide of values
that stole its rhythm from the 1950s
No wonder the island where Gatsby drowned
told me
As a woman I was commodity
and as a survivor of domestic violence I was damaged goods

But no for sale sign dangled from my neck
I refused rennovation
begged for attention for the trauma in my atria
stitching up wounds with self victimization
but instead of scars I got stories I couldn’t stop retelling
hoping if I wet my eyes with enough
salt water I could break out of this mold

I moved to a new coast
Grasped fresh sand just to morph it into more poems for my father
For the fact I can’t show my teeth in smiles because he refused to get them fixed
Made me believe I am prettier with my mouth shut
For the time he strangled my sister and as she shrieked my name
Convinced me I had a mouth, but not a voice
For all the times I wished I lost him in a tragic accident
because that kind of fatherlessness is less painful

Mr. Weinstein, who is this the right neighborhood for?
Men like my father?
Kids who know their daddy’s fists better than his face
Women who choke on their own silence?

Picket fences promised protection
But they just caged the violence in
I am more than what I didn’t have
and maybe I am made of sand
But I will be nothing less than a castle

So...welcome Mr. Weinstein.
Welcome to untamed tides
Welcome to goddesses emerging from bloody seas
Welcome to the acceptance you never had the courage to give

Welcome, to my street.

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!