Maya (1).jpg

Lafayette, Anywhere

August 15th, 2022

Poem By Carter Cumbo

Photograph by Maya Heins

 I dream my friends speak to me, the ones I left behind.

The ones shrunk to spittle 

in the yawning oval of an airplane window.

Little Lafayette, Colorado, cracked cement porches

 

entombing haunted mine shafts.

Behind gates on the skirts of town,

one percenters with pregnant teen daughters. 

Single mothers east of Old Town, Sir Galahad

 

and Minotaur Drive, with teen sons in rehab,

stretching paychecks and losing sleep daily. 

The dead brothers on drugs in the arms of live brothers 

on the same drugs, the young

 

lovers mourning spirits with bottom shelf 

ghosts, sat against the car, 

butt on the asphalt, 

taking deep drags from a cigarette.

 

I heard the Boulder money rumbled in, booming cannons

of Patagonia clad conquistadores,

hailing down indie

boutiques and a dozen options for brunch,

attacking any empty space inside brick

and mortar with craft beer and cornhole.

 

I heard the Sonic is now a bar for dogs.

 

Dear Lafayette, Colorado little Anywhere, America,

Dear Anywhere Americans.

It’s ok if you don't love me back,

I drank your mom’s whiskey and slept with your girlfriend,

I befriended your boyfriend

after. I rarely call. I love you. 

 

I have not forgotten, here in Portland, Maine

wondering if every hometown 

feels as cursed 

for the kids who grow there,

joined by a collective survival.

How Jerry died on cut Xans,

why not us? Remember, 

we did dumber shit than that.

Remember:

 

Half a gram of dope inside

a cowboy killer hard pack

Aaron’s tattoo says his parents are on fire, 

 

blacked out, strung out, 

bombing dad’s minivan down 36th

Jaime’s parents are just her mom,

 

one of us half hung

out the window

Wesley’s parents aren’t parents anymore,

 

eating all that air through

smoke-stained teeth 

my parents are doing just fine.

 

As though I was bathed in a whiter light, 

my friends bursting incandescent, burning cigarette-

yellow, smoldering over apartment 

railings and under parked cars,

inhaling the exhaust

like addled street cats, eyes glowing

to behold a bloody sunrise.

 

I dream my friends speak to me, those cats, 

slyly from the corner of their mouths,

the cigarette bobbing between

chattering teeth, mumbling,

we were never really friends.

for me to believe them. I mean this for endearment, we are the butts

 

of a grand joke, our butts being proof—our relationship to each

other's butts—that god really gets our sense of humor, and supplied

us with endless material. Below the jokes, an endless web of irony. 

 

Prayer: Lord—for the love of god—please don’t let the joke go over

our heads, keep us always from the purchase of alligator loafers.