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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

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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!