Sayonara, Los Angeles by Andrea Lambert

Upon leaving Los Angeles
October before Trump’s election:
My father’s lung cancer.
Emails about my lease not being renewed for 2017.
Pre-eviction letter from my landlord’s lawyer.

My Hollywood apartment in box Tetris pathways.
Two suitcases of clothes.
One bowl.
One mug.
One fork.
One spoon.
It was bad already.
I didn’t know how bad yet
It was going to get.

The poet as "Sexy Trump." Halloween, 2015
The poet as “Sexy Trump.” Halloween, 2015

An uncertain future.
For better or worse.
I accept what is
Because I must.
Hoping for Reno
To my House of the Rising Sun.
Hoping like a dog at the pound
For a forever home.

Last corner scrapings of highlighter in a Sephora palette.
Empty Elizabeth and James Nirvana perfume rollerball.
Putting on one pink lip gloss after another
Yet all were empty.
Chapstick as last resort.
White roots growing in
Now left to grow long.
Vow of celibacy.
Vibrator out of batteries.
Scale reading 100 lbs before I pack it away.
Irregular sleep schedules.
Doubled Klonopin and Prozac.
Gaunt, grim-faced selfie
Instagrammed at 9 a.m.

Canceling all further social engagements until I leave.
Canceling my 40th birthday party.
Texts from a friend
Offended I can’t see her before I go.
Texts saying I should “Try harder”
When I am trying as hard as I can.

Friends drop one after another
Until no one is left
In my life.

Car in the shop for an oil change.
Sunglasses on in the Lyft as I don’t want to talk.
100% Prime Time markup.
Band billboards in Silver Lake while struggling bands are gentrified out.
Failed presidential candidate bumper stickers on cars.
Bernie was burned to the ground.
Praying for a Hillary win.

Biggest cockroach corpse ever on the apartment steps.
Hungry cat mewling at my feet.
Cockroach corpses floating in her water bowl.

Empty cupboards cleared for an ineffective fumigation.
Still twitching roach corpses smeared all over blank walls.
Holes in eggshell white where paintings once hung.

Scrolling Yandy’s Sexy Costumes online
Not ordering anything.
Not even “Sexy French Fries.”
Not dressing up for Halloween
For the first time ever.
“Sexy Donald Trump” costume
Of last year’s success
Deemed too offensive,
Too scary,
Too real.

Twitterfriend suggests: “Donald Trump Cockroach” costume.
I consider:
Less offensive
Less scary
Less real.
More likely to get me killed
If worn to the wrong party.

Cockroaches are my past.
I hope they are not my future.
Gay marriage is my past
I hope hate crimes are not my future.
Reno is my future
President Trump is my future.

I listen:
To Dolly Parton sing “In the Ghetto” and “The Bargain Store”
To Tanya Tucker’s “Spring”
To Kenny Rogers sing “The Gambler” and “Coward of the County.”
To Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.”
To Iggy Azalea’s “Black Widow.”
Over and over again.
I listen:
To the beat of my heart in fear.
To Anderson Cooper.
To Rachel Maddow.
To Ana Navarro.
I listen:
To Donald Trump say
“Grab ‘em by the pussy,”
Over and over again.
Triggering my rape PTSD.

CNN is always on
Before I return the cable box.

On November 8, 2016,
I watch Donald Trump become president.
Yoga, crying in front of CNN.
Freezing Nevada night outside.

"I Voted"
“I Voted.” November 8, 2016

I realize Reno
Is the Sierra sanctuary
I need
To hide out in
While my world

I grieve for Los Angeles
Left behind me.
I grieve for Obama’s America
Soon to be gone.
My America
Where I feel
A stranger now.

Andrea Lambert is the author of JET SET DESOLATE, LORAZEPAM & THE VALLEY OF SKIN and the chapbook G(u)ilt. Artist. A CalArts MFA graduate, Lambert’s work has appeared in 3:AM Magazine, The Fanzine, Entropy, HTMLGiant, Queer Mental Health, Five:2:One Magazine, ENCLAVE and Angels Flight • literary west. Her writing has been anthologized in Haunting Muses, Writing the Walls Down: A Convergence of LGBTQ Voices, The L.A. Telephone Book Vol. 1, 2011-2012, Off the Rocks Volume #16: An Anthology of GLBT Writing, You’ve Probably Read This Before and Chronometry. Find her online at

Main image: “Heroes and Saints: Portraits of Jeremy Mikush, Hank Henderson and Wendy C. Ortiz.” Oil and mixed media, Andrea Lambert, 2014.