Weep for the Widow

She runs like a wild deer through the midnight wood

She decimates a dozen men with one laser look

She fights like a lioness, she hunts like a beast

She’s deadly and she knows it, woman of the east

A master assassin and she does it in style

But nobody knows why she never smiles

Black nights screaming, running in the dark

Widowed, with no country and no home

Black grief streaming, blasted broken heart

Widowed, with no family, she’s alone

Shadows on every wall, whispers behind her back

Snipers in the windows, spies watching through the cracks

And in the darkness flows a world of red,

a running tally of the innocent dead,

singing in her ears, haunting her head

Hammer to the brain, sickle in the heart

She bleeds scarlet but won’t fall apart

When the regime crumbles, she keeps reaching higher

When the bombs explode, she flies through the fire

When the smoke clears, she’s the sole survivor

Child of darkness, woman of steel

on a cliff of battered stone

Unafraid of the black abyss

when they let her fall alone

She’s seen darker places, she’s seen the worst

She’s walked nine circles of hell and back

She’s been broken, bruised, it hurts

but she’s grown fond of wearing black

Fly on, Natasha, your soul is clean

Dive below, then climb above

Come home, Natasha, now you can rest

The black raven is now a dove

This is the story of a hero,

a story told far too little

Remember her name—

our fierce Black Widow

The Devil’s Lover

From the moment I first breathed, I learned

to respect what was not mine

Then why, oh heaven, do I still yearn

for one look from those fierce eyes?

If there was a goddess of desire

she would have those lips of red

But she has fallen into hellfire

for she lies in the devil’s bed

You demon, you beast

you wild animal of the night

stalking your sweet young prey

You’ve found a fresh feast

to scar with your vampire bite

for your unholy buffet

Your poisoned mouth tastes her spiced wine lips

your cursed eyes watch her swaying hips

your filthy hands touch her satin skin

your wretched mind fills with hungry sin

her midnight lace on the floor of your cell

her perfect body on your dirty sheets

as you capture her soul while she sleeps

You invade her body like a savage

plundering the new land for gold

You murder her soul and leave the damage

vanishing when the fire runs cold

Take her to your coffin bed

stained with the blood of maidens dead

a casualty of your thirst for flesh

A precious jewel you’ll cast aside

when you meet your next child bride

and bring her to your Hades of ash

My heart grows vines ’round an iron gate

deeper than envy, darker than hate

Black leaves uncurling, barbed thorns unfurling

They say green is the shade of jealousy

of money, of land

of the simple desires of every man

But my heart feels only ebony black

of her eyes, her hair

of the silent magnet that leaves us paired

If ten thousand men stood in the way

then ten thousand men I would slay

for what are men compared to the violence of this raging love?

Oh devil, I steal your Helen of Troy

steal your passion, steal your joy

for you deserve nothing but the fury of all the gods above

You will never have her heart,

because it is not love you crave

You will never hold all the cards,

for I keep the queen of spades

You can take the silver shell,

but the pearl still lies inside,

and you have no prize to sell,

for in heart, she’s already mine

——-

This poem was inspired by the fabulous movie Moulin Rouge. It’s written from Christian’s perspective as he watches the evil, mad Duke try to take the beautiful showgirl Satine as his own throughout the movie. It was also inspired by my celebrity crush.

The Mad Titan

When I was young, I used to dream

of hungry monsters and evil queens

who made the children thrash and scream

When I was young, I used to read

tales of tyrants filled with greed

who loved to watch their victims bleed

 

But I never thought I’d see the day

that Lord Vader took our rights away,

that children fought in a hunger game

that Thanos turned the world to gray

 

I remember the morning all too well:

a few days shy of fourteen years old,

shaking in the closet, my blood gone cold

I remember whispering, “what the hell?”

too scared to even tweet my thoughts,

for who knows what’s safe and what’s not?

 

I swore they couldn’t be serious

It was too bizarre to believe

But I’ve been waiting to awaken

since November 8, 2016

 

Mama, I can’t sleep tonight

I had another nightmare

Please tell me it’s all in my head

Oh Mama, I’m so scared

 

Every dictator claims a noble cause

You promised to make this country great

But I guess your definition of greatness

just means white, male, and straight

 

You take whatever your madness touches – power, women, money

You scream bitterly into the void

about turban-clad enemies

But to truly fight the war on terror,

you must shoot the man in your mirror,

for you are the one who inspires such fear

in the women you’ve branded with your dirty hands,

in the children left orphaned in this foreign land,

in the soldiers thrown away because they were trans

 

This is Samira

She cries into her black veil, like a widow,

widowed from her family,

widowed from her freedom,

widowed from her home

 

This is Ernesto

He doesn’t understand why mama won’t come,

why his crib has steel bars,

why it’s so cold here,

or why he’s all alone

 

This is Joanna

She still trembles from your wicked, starving touch

that stole away her dignity,

that stole away her confidence,

that stole away her youth

 

This is Benjamin

He used to be called Jacqueline, but now he’s changed

He wants to meet a girl,

wants to serve his flag,

wants to live the truth

 

There is no Iron Man to snap his fingers

and no Jedi to call upon the force

But I am a girl and I have a choice

to plant my feet and use my voice,

for one spark can light the torch

and give hope to those who cannot speak

I’ll shoot my arrow straight and true,

shout for the speechless and stand for the weak

 

You can buy your votes but not my respect

Your foul words will never reach me

Tied to the mast with pitch in my ears,

I will stand strong with what I believe in

 

You’ve painted this country state by state

with the red in your ledger

and the lies from your hideous mouth

You’ve poisoned our borders with filth and hate,

but four years is not forever,

and every fire you started will be doused

 

Even the longest night will end at dawn

Every sadist must meet the dark

Until you and your death-eaters are slain and gone,

I must speak what’s in my heart

—-

I hesitated to post this poem because it’s very political, but I can’t stay quiet about the state of U.S. politics anymore. I was 13, almost 14, on that fateful Election Day when Trump became president, and I was terrified. In that dark time, I found strength in Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games trilogy. I was so inspired by the thought of a brave young woman who led a fight against an oppressive government, so I started to write poems about it. It really helped me express the anger I felt. As a LGBTQ+ woman of color, I feel like it’s my responsibility to stand up against tyranny that affects people like me. The American dream should be available to everyone. Period.

 

Queen of Atlantis

I used to stand in the golden sun

Crowned in dawn, bathed in glory

But my empire has come undone

A legend lost, a forgotten story

 

I held the stratosphere, the holy grail

with my fair and gentle king

We planned for victory, but plans do fail

and I heard the rebels sing

 

Uninvited to my own coronation

as traitors received standing ovations

A festival, a massacre, a red wedding filled with twisted elation

How did the whole world shatter

in a single, terrible breath?

They murdered my sweet lover —

curse you, angel of death

 

I lay him on the emerald hill;

he rests on higher ground

‘Twas my heart, not his they killed

My white dress now a shroud

 

The night crashed in, and I stood alone

A hunted widow on a crumbling throne

An island lost in the raging black seas

What once was a city is now but charred bones

 

Betrayed and beaten

They plundered my kingdom

and had me banished

Burning and bleeding,

I slipped under the water

and found Atlantis

 

Deep, deep, where the mighty sun has no power

Where we seek refuge in our darkest hour

He flew above, and I jumped below

Nothing left to hold, so I let go

 

I surrendered my body

to the all-consuming ocean

and drifted away in the current,

but I did not drown;

I lay myself down

 

I stopped looking for all the answers

for the world is but a question,

a dark ballet with drunken dancers,

and what use is reason in this wretched chaos

while our souls succumb to this cancer?

Now I sleep in peace;

I found my release

 

I built myself an iron castle

from the artillery they aimed at my head

From there, I plot my sweet revenge

My heart is broken, but my mind is undead

Don’t turn your back, I stab from behind

I follow no rules, all justice is mine

 

Call me sinner, call me fool

I’ve witnessed the kind, I’ve dealt with the cruel

Let water, not voices, fill my ears

Forget all thought until I can’t feel fear

Atlantis, bow down; your new queen is here

—-

This poem is inspired by the fierce women from Game of Thrones. It’s not intended to tell the story of any particular character, but I took inspiration from Daenerys, Sansa, and Arya, as well as my own personal heroes in real life.

The stunning portrait of the mermaid comes from this Pinterest post. I had to crop it for my header, but here is the full portrait.

Atonement

 

Your arms were open

Your smile was kind

Your laugh was hearty

But I was blind

 

You filled our hearts with happiness

You had sweet but gentle eyes

You spoke words of goodness

But they were only lies

 

It’s like it must be someone else,

because I knew you too well

How did someone they called an angel

wander to the gates of hell?

 

Broken mirrors, glass cuts deep

Shattered reflections as you sleep

Troubled water for a troubled man

Tears of grief, tears of rage

I curse your name and then I pray

I should hate you, I should turn my back

I should forgive you, but I just can’t

 

I’ll never hear your voice like I did before I knew

that there was a sinister side to you

I can’t grieve without shame

with the crimes on your name

 

I lay in the dark, silently crying

for the ghost of a loyal friend

Broken inside, I’m still denying

but I know it’s too torn to mend

 

Maybe this was the only way

but I still wish

that it didn’t have to end

quite like this

 

Bleeding heart, burning veins,

a bitter earth so void of hope

I break for you, I break for them

a stolen illusion at the end of a rope

I wish I could just go back to sleep

But it’s my duty to stay woke

 

So I lay to rest all but my mind

and pray for resolution I won’t find

Here lies the man I used to know

but that good man died years ago

 

Answer to God, atone for your sins

Your apology came a lifetime too late

The Lord holds the map of the places you’ve been

Only He can decide your fate

—-

I originally wrote this poem to help me deal with the news that someone I had admired and respected had done something completely unforgivable, then took his own life. Part of me grieved for the man I remembered, and the other part of me hated the man he truly was. In the end, I had to accept that the man I had known was a lie. Writing this poem really helped me understand my complicated feelings about it.

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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