One Month in Vietnam
I once was a king. I was the man in the lights. Now look at me. Last night I slept in my clothes and this morning I cried. I’m new in town, keep going out to meet people, and it keeps not working.
Everyone here is already established. Their cliques, impenetrable as secret societies. Everyone here is 23 and does festival drugs. I’m 30 and they can smell it on me. My responsible drinking, all the drugs I don’t do. They want nothing to do with me. My boring aura.
Ah, fuck. I didn’t see this coming. This wasn’t supposed to happen. I escaped America and serfdom and car insurance and audacious city cops. I have the dream life. Which like all dreams has to be balanced out with a nightmare.
Dream: I have enough money to rest and write for a few months.
Nightmare: If you don’t work, you don’t mingle.
Nightmare #2: You get older all the time.
I might have found people my age to hang with but they’re all in America. And so now I have to face these young gods in the city who I can’t relate to. Their Macklemore haircuts and discordant music. All drunk driving their scooters home for sloppy raw sex with strangers. They won’t crash because they’re young, and they won’t get AIDS either. The good thing about being young is you get to be bright and handsome and bad things won’t happen to you. The good thing about getting older is nothing. Will I ever be able to handle it.
Dream: I once was a king.
Nightmare: I grew up, made changes.
And now I look back. And thank God I am, because it’s a nice view. I see things shifting. I can now see what the dream really was. It was a
Nightmare: because even though I was the man in the lights, I still, somehow, always found ways to be miserable.
Which means that there’s a new
Dream: where I know the new kings have to be secretly miserable too, and probably won’t even know that they were kings until it’s over, and that really does make me happy.