Czarina

Czarina, czarina

Divine queen of my heart

You reign over the kingdom in my mind

and bless this land with your lips of wine

I take a knee at your throne

and swear fealty to your name,

for I am shackled in your power

and I can never run away

 

Czarina, czarina

Goddess of love and war

You invade my body with foreign life

and cut my soul with your perfect knife

I have no strength to resist

My armies abandon their posts

I surrender at your mercy

but it is I who beg the most

 

Czarina, czarina

Lover of gods and men

You were born from tears Heaven shed

but you take a swine to your holy bed

I am doomed to watch in vain

for I had not the slightest chance

but I weep as though I lost you

as you stumble in your trance

 

Czarina, czarina

Black temptress of demons

How I curse your grace and artless charms

that lead you into a monster’s arms

Are you his master or his slave?

Who is the darkness and who is the light?

Will your fiery heart explode

when he leaves you in the night?

 

Czarina, czarina

Beauty bound to thy beast

You stand in white like a ghost of yourself,

stripped of your soul, locked in towers of wealth

I shall never know your sweet kiss

My pleas are all in vain

My queen, the choice is yours alone

but my feelings eternally remain

Moonlight Queen

Sky still burning, fate still turning

The world came blazing into smoke

I lay in ashes, singed black lashes 

Glimpsing my life before it broke

 

False crimes on my name, body bound to the pyre

The witch takes the blame, so they set me on fire

Better a traitor than a coward

White flags of surrender, light them ablaze 

In defiance I found power

Clawing through wreckage in a choking gray haze

 

I ran in circles till I traveled all nine,

drinking bitter poison instead of wine,

but the devil never took my soul,

for hope still glowed within these coals

Heart of iron, forged by flame

A weapon rises from the embers

Volcanic throne, carved from chaos

but my demons cannot enter

 

I woke in pure darkness –

not a thing could be seen

but I lay beneath the peaceful curtains

of the evening serene,

and a pearl moon lit my path ahead

to a realm I’d never seen 

 

Uneven ground, the slope grows steeper

Step by step, with the moon as my guide,

scorched flesh falling from my feet

Uncharted waters, the sea grows deeper 

Stroke by stroke, with the moon on my side,

rinse my wounds and wash me clean

 

Sapphire night, sweet crystal sky

The past is a memory, the future still unclear

Nothing to hide, no tears to cry

I crossed the dark forest but now I am here

The road may be long or the end may be soon

but tonight I will dance in the light of the moon

—-

This poem is inspired by Ksenia Stolbova, one of the strongest, bravest, and most resilient people I have ever known. In 2018, she missed the Olympics, suffered a serious injury, split up with her previous skating partner of nine years, and moved away from home for a second chance to compete in the sport she loves. She has been one of my favorite skaters for over five years and her strength has inspired me to keep fighting during the most difficult times in my life. No matter what lies ahead, nothing makes me happier than seeing her chasing her dream. Ksu, I believe in you!

Clean

Once upon a time, I had a dream
I was bathed in lights and flowers
like a woodland fairy queen
It seemed so simple all those years ago
Little did I know

I used to think that glory came for free –
if I worked hard and stayed strong,
I could achieve my victory
I thought faith held true and the world was kind
but it was a lie

Step, step, feet bound
Marching to the Coliseum in a colorless parade
Step, step, cold ground
A million eyes upon us as we take our walk of shame
Keep your head down and look away
They don’t want you here anyway

Little girl, why don’t you smile?
You should be grateful they let you in
Glass vials, denial
so we bear the weight of our nation’s sins

Stripped of our names, drowning in bleach
You held salvation just out of reach
You fire at vultures, but all you caught were doves
Small and white, flying free,
then falling from above

All men are created equal
All people bleed the same
but to maintain the balance,
some must take the blame

We were not accused, for no reasons were given,
but one man is guilty, so we all were imprisoned
Judas was a traitor, so twelve apostles hang
Were your thirty pieces worth the price?
White flags of surrender, I waited forever
to stand alone on your jagged ice

Esteemed sir, I ask but a moment,
for I’ve played your game every day
Why do you grant the world such happiness,
only to steal it away?
I kneel before you and beg forgiveness,
but I don’t know what for
How do you decide who is welcome at the feast,
who is worthy of this right –
do you think yourself the Lord?

I do not judge you, but I cannot understand
I’ve done nothing wrong but dream
So why did you take my moment from my hands
if you know I am clean?

—-

This poem is dedicated to the “Olympic Athletes from Russia” at the 2018 Olympic Games. They were proclaimed innocent but still subjected to humiliation as a result of a state-sponsored doping program that had nothing to do with them. My inspiration came from Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva, who won gold and silver medals in ladies’ figure skating that year at just 15 and 17 years old. They were burdened with a whole nation’s expectations and shame, but they came back victorious.

These Scarlet Lips

Trigger warning: sexual assault

These scarlet lips were taught to smile,
like all good girls with class and style
Take your seat, don’t rock the boat
Keep your head down and never say no
A wandering girl with no roots and no home
No one to save me, but I wasn’t alone

These scarlet lips were not for you
when you held me down and stole my youth
Those five minutes felt like a decade
so I spent ten years building a blockade
You ripped the last of childhood from me
but I’m the one who can’t make a scene

These scarlet lips never said yes
Your dirty hands couldn’t let me rest
Go on and sleep in peace tonight
while you leave me with demons to fight
The world sees a beauty in the sun,
not the shaking girl too scared to run

These scarlet lips will not be hushed
although you tried to tape them shut
It’s so easy to make yourself blind,
but I must tell the world your crimes
I’ll bury the hatchet but never the truth
Look no further, I am your proof

These scarlet lips will tell the world
so you can’t hurt another girl
I couldn’t stop the flood,
but I can lead them to higher ground
This I swear in blood –
one less flower will be drowned

You cut off one head and two more grow back,
mouths speaking stories of all that you lack
You shot me in combat,
but I end your war
These scarlet lips are silent no more

——

This poem is dedicated to all the brave voices of the #MeToo movement, but especially Ashley Wagner and my sweet friends Kayla and Martha ❤️ While I am not personally a survivor, I stand with every single one of you and hope my words can make a difference. Survivors, I see you, I love you, and I support you.

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