The Cynic and The Lovers: Poems at the Polls by Brian Sonia-Wallace

Brian Sonia-Wallace wrote these inspired poems outside of the polling place at Cornerstone Theatre Company, in downtown L.A., on Election Day, based on conversations with voters. “Each voter has the original copy of the poem, written on a typewriter, and each poem takes on a new meaning in light of the election,” said Brian. The poems were written as part of the #PoetsatthePolls project, originally sponsored by LA2050.

The Cynic

Another day in humanity, how many miles of toast
and do you want butter or jam on that?
If this choice alone paralyzes me,
what hope do we have as a species?

Choosing to fight, fight or flight,
Amelia Earhart, women on wing,
declarations of independence & the capacity for choice,
rational or not,
the ability to do otherwise,
free will or free coffee with an “I Voted” sticker,

at least do it for the photo op, why don’t you, he says cynically,


his beating heart

isn’t leaking

from between his fingertips.

The Lovers

Forces of nature come in all shapes and sizes,
know no boundaries, no limits,
they roil —

we, in the eye of the storm,
are a love letter, a prayer
that is more assurance than ask.
“We will be ok,” we say, we sing, film it,
play it back over and over,
“Hey, I love you!”
across boundaries, tongues, bodies,
warping in each other’s torrent, what storms may come.

What storms may come.


Brian Sonia-Wallace is a poet, theater-maker and cultural journalist living in Los Angeles. He is a 2016 Writer-in-Residence for Amtrak and Artist-in-Residence for the City of Los Angeles. Yak Press published his first book of poetry, “I Sold These Poems, Now I Want Them Back” (2016). With collaborator Linda Ravenswood, he developed and performed the play “Bike Odyssey LA,” an adaptation of Homer on bikes that toured neighborhoods through Los Angeles with support from CICLE, METRO, National Endowment for the Arts, City of Long Beach and others. As a cultural journalist, he has written for KCET, LACMA Unframed, HowlRound, ArtsBeatLA and others.