Writing: ‘The Sirens’ by Britney Muñoz-Arriaza

This piece placed third for high school writing submissions in the 2021 Ánimo Voices Writing and Art Competition, which invited students to express the reality of the challenges they or others face and/or how they or others find hope through difficult times. The competition is an opportunity to motivate, recognize, and celebrate our strong student voices through writing and art.

Britney Muñoz-Arriaza


By Britney Muñoz-Arriaza
Ánimo South Los Angeles Charter High School

The Sirens

Growing up in a city that never sleeps
Because you hear the sirens
And the helicopters
The cries of agony.

The morning arrives
You leave the protection of your sheets
The sun burns as you turn on the street.

Ah, yes. There it is.
Another memorial by a light post
A lover bringing flowers
Where his love took their final breath
A mixture of rage and grief circulates through his aura
As he touches where his lover once stood
And now resides.

The vibrations transcend into the Earth
You can hear Mother Earth weep
Gone too soon.

Everywhere you turn
Begins to feel like a cemetery
With all the unjust killings
The justice system however
Turns its other cheek.


When the winter comes
As you relish in the comfort of your shows
The wind begins to cry for those
With no home to go to
Those barely managing to get by
Poor living conditions
In food deserts.
As the disease continues to spread.

Hey, where’s your mask?


And where do we go from here?

A loophole of questions continues to feel unanswered.

Are you listening to what the people really need?
What the Earth craves and prophesizes every night?
As time, pain, and joy merge into oneness.

A big collective shift.

The mystique of the unknown begins to show itself
Once again
In its grandiose magic.
Only this time
It feels more clear
As a glimpse of hope and acceptance
Travels through the people around us.

In love
In laughter
In unity

In the beautiful human consciousness.

Our eyes dance and expand
As we stare at our loved ones:

Maybe we can’t control what continues to happen
But we awaken to a choice
To re-embrace the simplicity of life.

What we once forgot to enjoy
Discontent and unsatisfied
As our tired eyes remained wide
On artificial screens.

Our bodies slowly deteriorating
As we worked away
Becoming prey
To the lethal propagation
Of hustle culture.

A grand disease
Killing their workers with the illusion of productivity.

The idea of deconstruction and reconstruction creeps in
By undoing the damage done to our subconscious mind.

We too, can turn our cheek.

As we heal and nourish our shadows
Of our wounded feminine

And damaged masculine
Through empathy and connection.

Re-parenting ourselves from our Founding Fathers
Who simply did not listen
In their never ending power trip.

Yes, it hurts.
The trauma left by the sirens
Disguised as all the pain
That correlates through the human experience.

Feel feel feel
Feel it all out
In honor of our ancestors
In honor of those who weren’t able to
Be in this physicality up to this point.

Honoring this pain and accepting the polarity.

This how we grow
This is how we move forward.