In March 2023, news leaked that Tom Sandoval, one of the stars of the Bravo reality tv series Vanderpump Rules, had cheated on his girlfriend/co-star of nine years, Ariana Madix, with her best friend (and co-star) Rachel ‘Raquel’ Leviss. The affair and resulting scandal was dubbed #Scandoval, which resulted in Leviss leaving the show, Sandoval’s reputation in tatters, and Madix getting cast on Dancing With the Stars after receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in brand deals. These are poems inspired by the controversy, the cast, and lines from the series.
Scheana Shay: A Duplex
I don’t even know what else to say.
I don’t know you at all. The person I knew wouldn’t do this.
You wouldn’t do this, but the person I questioned
six years ago in fucking Miami? That was true.
It was true, so was this the first time you cheated on Ariana?
No? You’re sick. Was that just a random person?
A random person with whom you had an affair with for a long time?
If so, then why did you and Ariana buy a house together?
You bought a house together, but you couldn’t be a
fucking adult and have a conversation with her?
Have a conversation with her, tell her you’re not happy,
then we’ll pick up the fucking pieces you left. You don’t fuck her friend.
You fucked her friend, and now we’re not friends anymore.
I don’t even know what else to say.
Ally at The Abbey
It’s 1 am at The Abbey and
I’m wondering where all
my friends have gone.
James’s fingers have blistered
from spinning records at SUR,
so he’s gone home with his hands
in an ice bucket while I want
to give myself one last WeHo nightcap.
I see Mayhem Miller dancing on
the bar before taking a dollar
from the mouth of a gym bunny.
Trixie Mattel has taken over the
DJ booth to blast Barbie Girl.
They said this place was built
to look like a church,
and I can see the religious fervor
the community bucks and grinds at their command.
Just a glance around the room and
I see Tom and Raquel dancing
underneath one of the black chandeliers.
I want to go say hi to them,
but I’m not sure if I can without
a camera present.
I haven’t earned my VPR stripes yet,
haven’t survived a cat fight, nor
have I escaped an encounter with
Lisa Vanderpump without James beside me.
I’m not sure what I’m allowed
or not allowed to do yet.
Perhaps Ariana will see me in the crowd
and bring me over to join them.
She has to be somewhere around
here with Katie, Lala, and Scheana.
It’s hard to see the girls between
the crop tops and the bottles of poppers
being passed around the dance floor.
Hopefully, someone learns
I’m here and pulls me into
the masses, anoints me with
oil mixed with body glitter, and
tells me I can dance with the rest of them.
Until then, I’ll stand here and
watch Tom and Raquel as they
dance the night away, and wait to
become invited to become
a part of their world.
Something About Her
There’s just something about her
I can’t put my finger on,
but something that makes me
want to put my finger in.
There’s something that feels
like a lightning bolt to the groin
when I look at her.
There’s something in those
murky brown eyes
I can’t see my reflection in.
There’s something in the way
she speaks with a voice
as flat as a desert plane.
There’s something about how I spent
so much money for another
man to propose to her.
There’s something about how she was
almost, almost, almost, almost, almost
There’s something about how
the Galaxy lamps in her apartment
make me feel like we’re making love
under the evening sky in Palm Springs.
There’s something about her that makes me
want to start a fire, and there’s something
that makes me feel like a fool if I didn’t
light those matches.
She kept her t-shirt on. It was really hot.
Of course it was, Tom.
Have you seen Ariana?
To be so disgusted by a piece
of clothing seems strange for
a man who loves a leisure suit.
After all, you love to keep
things in the dark, so why not
savor the mystique of her body?
Or was it solely because
of what was on the t-shirt
that incensed you so badly?
Was she promoting
Something About Her
in your bedroom?
Did it remind you that
you still haven’t made an effort
to watch Love Island with her?
Was it something she got from
Beyonce’s Lemonade tour, reminding
you of when Queen Bey said
“Ashes to ashes, dust to side chicks?”
You know Raquel will wear only
a TomTom hoodie for you
if you ask her to, even if you
truly desire to see her in
nothing but a lightning bolt necklace,
like Rose laid out on the chaise.
You could have picked up
a hoodie for Ariana the last time you
went out for batteries and toilet paper
and asked her to roleplay for you.
Or maybe that t-shirt bothered you
because it showed you that
even Ariana could keep things from you?
You never expected the rage she
presented to you when
the lies were revealed, but you should
have known it could have been lurking underneath.
Maybe it bothers you because you
know that you will never see all of Ariana again,
but now everyone knows what you look like
when they peel away all the layers of you.
We Don’t Live Our Lives by Logic
If we did, I doubt we’d have a TV career.
We could continue to wait tables
and tell our friends about how
various celebrities acted the evening
they came into SUR.
We could have been content
living with three roommates and
driving cars we found on Craigslist
as we mulled over lines for auditions
and lyrics for demo tapes.
We could have been the kind of
LA people who lived our lives
based on what traffic was like from A to B today.
But instead, we decided to
put ourselves in a semicircle
with a graying Cheshire Cat in the middle.
We dressed in leopard prints and
polyester suits, taking sips from
bottles handed to us by PAs as
we found new ways to scream over one another.
We don’t live our lives by logic,
but hopefully when we’re older,
we can tell our grandkids about how
we were once TV stars, and pray
they think it was cool that
all of America saw us
throwing drinks at each other
and calling each other words we don’t
want them to know just quite yet.
And we’ll hope they think that it
was even cooler we got paid to do so.
Image generated on neural.love
ABOUT THE POET
Alex Carrigan (he/him) is a Pushcart-nominated editor, poet, and critic from Alexandria, Virginia. He is the author of Now Let’s Get Brunch: A Collection of RuPaul’s Drag Race Twitter Poetry (Querencia Press, 2023) and May All Our Pain Be Champagne: A Collection of Real Housewives Twitter Poetry (Alien Buddha Press, 2022). He has had fiction, poetry, and literary reviews published in Quail Bell Magazine, Lambda Literary Review, Barrelhouse, Sage
Cigarettes (Best of the Net Nominee, 2023), Stories About Penises (Guts Publishing, 2019), and more. For more information, visit carriganak.wordpress.com or on Twitter @carriganak.