Death to the Valley by Alex Machado



“California, did you say that’s where you’re from? You must be crazy!”


I grew up in a desert land shucked with transplants

        and gentrified because LA grew up and out.

        All my friends were different and I was different,

        the first time I had sex I was in a room that was dark,

        not long after that I began the tally marks:


  • Nameless guy #1

  • Cute boy who drives hatchback Honda

  • Boy who slightly resembles Pharrell


I skipped class and no one noticed, I wasn’t a huge fan

of drugs or alcohol but I was less a fan of high school.

My first ‘cool’ boyfriend was also named Alex.

He spent most of his time in a dank garage wasting

his well procured talent for guitar in a dead-end metal band.

I would go to his practices and pretend to care but really,

I was just afraid of being alone and too jealous to trust anyone.

Sometimes I would drink.

This was before I discovered Negronis so

I thought Pinnacle whipped vodka was a goddamn remedy to life’s ailments.


      This was also before I discovered women.


        Sometimes, I would get to a point where I was able to move

        without constriction.

        In those moments,

        I was dancing to Beyoncé and pretending

        I was out of the beer perfumed garage;

        using the tri-colored stained carpets as a personal disco floor,

        adding to the wreckage of spilled drinks and vomit.

        But it was better than home.


Home, as I remember it,

was a war scape

a darkened doorway

where people like me were not welcomed—

So I was always ‘out’








Alex Machado is a poet/writer/bartender living in New Bedford, MA with her girlfriend and cat, Luna. She has a love for cooking vegan meals and obsessively pricing flights around the world. You can follow her on Instagram @alexxmachado.


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