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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Losing My Artistic License | TEDxTrousdale

"There are cowriters in our life-stories, and the reserve the right to keep some pages private."


Please check out my official TED Talk, addressing creative entitlement and ethical storytelling. It's a deeply personal journey on humility, self discovery, and it includes some spoken word!

Friday, July 29, 2016

A letter to the Stanford rapist, from his mother:

Brock.

I keep repeating your name
afraid the headline shutters
will erase it

Afraid history will madlib you
into actions instead of nouns
To attack instead of boy
To clench instead of student
To rape instead of son

I let Brock echo across my tongue
like swallowing early Alzheimer's
and shoving it down my esophagus
I wish I could sip memory carnivores
in my morning coffee
could peel off my last name
like dried sunburn

But this peach shame lives past skin
past the ridges on my sahara elbows
In the howls in my bedroom
After I've checked three times I'm alone

Brock, I always wanted a daughter.

There was a chance
That in the twenty minutes of action
That your DNA collided to make you human
That your chromosomes
could've sat cross legged
identical twins with auburn braids

You could have been woman
Could have been curved hip
and stuttering thigh
stirred precious panic into your Cheerios

I thought of naming you
Cleo
Or Ruth
Or Willow

But you belly flopped out of me
All Brock
All American
The kind of boy
We sell our souls
to keep whispering

But sometimes I think about
If I had Cleo
Or Ruth
Or Willow

If I had a daughter
I would teach her
stay away from boys like you
Teach her
there are monsters in men's clothing
be a wolf under sheepskin
I would have liked the
Brock Turner for Prison 2016 Facebook page
Splashed our last name across petitions
to moth zap you off dim streets
I would have reconsidered sending her to Stanford this fall
Or Amherst
Or Harvard
Or USC
Or UNC

I would have trembled
in my Honda Civic
in the JFK senior high school parking lot
as she took her SATS
You see, for us girls
filling out a college application
is submitting your name for the draft
The UN has declared rape an act of torture
and when 1/4 are sexually assaulted
for fighting for an education
People still have the audacity to claim
There isn't a war on women

But I did not have a girl
I had a boy
That I was not woman enough
To raise into a man

You dove through no Ganges
There were no sacred marigolds
Just too many space bars
where I should have entered conversations
I thought I'd have to teach you how to swim
I never thought I'd have to teach you
That an unconscious girl
does not belong on the ground
You do not belong
on her bare goosebump body
Pine needles
And dust
And your harpoon fingers
Do not belong inside her

Brock,
I used to tell people you were my greatest achievement.
Your father says you do not belong in jail.
Agreement now puckers my tongue like gasoline
Like licking drunk pavement
Like the back of a dumpster

And maybe if I said
NO
more
If I sketched my bones with enough wind
If I didn't nod every time
he slammed my insides into porcelain riots
I could've given NO some meaning
Maybe I could've slipped you some too

But instead of NO
I know
I didn't pack enough humanity into your lunch box
Or floaties
that could rise about a culture that eats women
like fast food
teach you
kiss a girl like ripples
only she can open her gates
like platinum waves

We learn to drown before we walk

I should've bought you googles
So you could see
You must say sorry for even the things you can't apologize for.
Your father says you don't belong in jail.
And he's right.

You belong in prison.

I'm waiting
(t)here
for
you.

A letter to the Stanford rapist, from his mother:

Brock.

I keep repeating your name
afraid the headline shutters
will erase it

Afraid history will madlib you
into actions instead of nouns
To attack instead of boy
To clench instead of student
To rape instead of son

I let Brock echo across my tongue
like swallowing early Alzheimer's
and shoving it down my esophagus
I wish I could sip memory carnivores
in my morning coffee
could peel off my last name
like dried sunburn

But this peach shame lives past skin
past the ridges on my sahara elbows
In the howls in my bedroom
After I've checked three times I'm alone

Brock, I always wanted a daughter.

There was a chance
That in the twenty minutes of action
That your DNA collided to make you human
That your chromosomes
could've sat cross legged
identical twins with auburn braids

You could have been woman
Could have been curved hip
and stuttering thigh
stirred precious panic into your Cheerios

I thought of naming you
Cleo
Or Ruth
Or Willow

But you belly flopped out of me
All Brock
All American
The kind of boy
We sell our souls
to keep whispering

But sometimes I think about
If I had Cleo
Or Ruth
Or Willow

If I had a daughter
I would teach her
stay away from boys like you
Teach her
there are monsters in men's clothing
be a wolf under sheepskin
I would have liked the
Brock Turner for Prison 2016 Facebook page
Splashed our last name across petitions
to moth zap you off dim streets
I would have reconsidered sending her to Stanford this fall
Or Amherst
Or Harvard
Or USC
Or UNC

I would have trembled
in my Honda Civic
in the JFK senior high school parking lot
as she took her SATS
You see, for us girls
filling out a college application
is submitting your name for the draft
The UN has declared rape an act of torture
and when 1/4 are sexually assaulted
for fighting for an education
People still have the audacity to claim
There isn't a war on women

But I did not have a girl
I had a boy
That I was not woman enough
To raise into a man

You dove through no Ganges
There were no sacred marigolds
Just too many space bars
where I should have entered conversations
I thought I'd have to teach you how to swim
I never thought I'd have to teach you
That an unconscious girl
does not belong on the ground
You do not belong
on her bare goosebump body
Pine needles
And dust
And your harpoon fingers
Do not belong inside her

Brock,
I used to tell people you were my greatest achievement.
Your father says you do not belong in jail.
Agreement now puckers my tongue like gasoline
Like licking drunk pavement
Like the back of a dumpster

And maybe if I said
NO
more
If I sketched my bones with enough wind
If I didn't nod every time
he slammed my insides into porcelain riots
I could've given NO some meaning
Maybe I could've slipped you some too

But instead of NO
I know
I didn't pack enough humanity into your lunch box
Or floaties
that could rise about a culture that eats women
like fast food
teach you
kiss a girl like ripples
only she can open her gates
like platinum waves

We learn to drown before we walk

I should've bought you googles
So you could see
You must say sorry for even the things you can't apologize for.
Your father says you don't belong in jail.
And he's right.

You belong in prison.

I'm waiting
(t)here
for
you.

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!