Annaliese Arnsten

Pandemic (Victoria Waddle)

In Protest

A city in a Petri dish;
A dysfunctional pixel glitch
Where the tensions run high, but the sweet smog flies higher,
And entangled tongues pillage any trace of desire.

Empty agendas and concrete stares;
Sinners that ignore their very own prayers;
Life is carved out of scraps of old dreams,
Now decaying and betraying their muses in ripped jeans.

Lecture me again on why perception calls the shots.
Is there a reason why everyone’s stomachs are all in knots?
Maybe it’s because nobody knows where they’re going;
Walking, eyes open, unaware of their own unknowing.

The acquisition of our own vital cognition
Is not more important than human condition,
And while we need to embrace education’s consequence,
There’s no knowledge nor life without substantial cognizance
Of the problems we’re facing, the climate that’s changing, the history
for future generations we’re painting.

So grab the brush, feel the rush of a hurried adolescence,
Where we all grow up too fast, hooked on antidepressants.
They say the need for them lessens, but then they silence our questions,
And it’s impossible not to wonder what it’s all for—
Will the last step you take be the one through that classroom door?


A man-made sunset drenched my wisened soles,
which were worn but content from the weight
of the bricks they wandered across
and exchanged memories with.

A history composed of tattered tea-stained pages
waltzed across the Atlantic breeze;
Pedantic pleas
have all but drowned in attempts to confine its tangible myth.

A celebration of the passion and courage of the underdog’s flesh,
captivated by the statues parading in the street,
which triumph to the beat
of the drums;
My hums
echo their sentiments,
to a glorious independence,
crawling with desperate, underestimated relevance.

A reflection of humankind as we now know it;
A new unfamiliar ocean to outgrow—it
possesses me like a flashback,
urges me to dash back—
an unconscious pull to the historical unknown,
an oracle of my own
need not declare
that the undeniable complexity which procreates there
could and shall be mine.

For centuries, these spirits of the soul,
at once so alone and so whole
and victoriously unraveled by a future
that has yet to exist
emerge from the mistand mingle with my being,
tingle with seeing
the spark that became me bloom and beckon again.

Oh, the swelling sacrifice and incomprehensible revelations of the sea,
The inner epiphany compelled by a bustling city drenched in white—
I bittersweetly crave the day
upon which we may

Colored Chairs

A light coating of memories settles like dust
On the emptiness,
Unseen but omnipresent.
The facade chips away like garish paint,
Still begging to be probed by the nosy imagination of a casual passerby,
Drilling through glass with ignorant irises
              Before another takes the place of their footsteps—
                                 The construction never ceases.

Beyond any venomous gaze, concealed by the inconvenience of complexity,
Comfort begins to cluster:
A papier-mâchéd concoction of buoyant laughter, clinking water glasses,
Innocence neatly wrapped in a bubble,
Floating past the parkside, above the limits of any metallic redwood,
              Echoing the soft strums of an old inner solace,
                                   Scouring the city for a corner yet to be claimed.

It strolls past sidewalks branded with relinquished gum,
Dodges exclamations from the unlucky that crawl the streets,
Carelessly considers the rows of parking meters, counting down, counting down,
              Until it arrives at its nostalgically trivial destination.

Another Saturday morning sauntering in with a faint trail of caffeine;
The motley of vibrant chairs shuffle across a wizened floor—
               Pick a color, any color.

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