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Thursday/Friday, May 2-3, 2019   I  dunno.  Sometimes  the  days go piling into one another. And you turn  and  go  crashing  into  the  drumset.  Taking  each  and  every  cymbal.  Flinging  them  across  the  room.  And  you  play  your  guitar  upside  down.  You  kick  and  thrash  at  the  amplifiers.  You  give  the  crowd  the  finger.  You  spit  and  growl  and  yell  at  the  lights  above  your  head.  Thinking  that  everyone  and  everything  is  the  enemy.  A  terrible  way  to go through life.  I  think  it  was  Christopher  Hitchens  who  said somewhere during  an  interview  that  any  writer  who  could  only  write  when  he  was  drinking was, in fact, a bum. Well, that was his opinion.  Here  I  am,  drinking  cans  of  beer  up  on  the  fourth  floor  of  our  new  apartment  for  the  next  month.  (We  were  on  the  first  floor  the  last  two  nights.)  I’m  saying  “us” because my girlfriend is still with me.  Yes.  That’s  correct.  Although,  who knows? How long will it last? Will I  drink another beer? Am I a total asshole? Yes. And yes.  Grinding.  Kicking.  Thrashing.  Choosing  to  be  on  fire.  But  not  wanting  to  be.  Feeling  the  light.  Somewhere.  Somewhere  deep  into  the  abyss  is  where  I look when things turn to shit. What did Nietzsche  say  about  it?  Didn’t  he  go  crazy  somewhere  in  Bologna  Italy  or  Amsterdam or Swiss Cheese, Switzerland? Huh?  You  know,  it’s  not  easy  when  your  girlfriend  calls  you  a  “crazy  man”  and  your  landlord  (new)  explains  to  you  that  you’ll  be  paying  for  the  window  you  broke as you’re staring out the window, new, and  he also asks you, “Nice view, huh?”  “Yes,”  you  respond,  calmly.  Hungover.  From  two  or  three  days  prior.  Thinking,  all  right.  This  is  it.  I’m  gonna  hafta  bail.  I’m  gonna  leave.  Everything  behind.  This  is  what  I  do.  This  is  what  I’ve  done  to  myself.  Maybe  I’ll  jump  out  this  window  after  cracking  my  head  across  the  glass?  No.  That’s  no  good.  You  like  life.  You  enjoy  living  it.  This is just an episode. The clock is spinning, eternally.  “I’m  not  a  genius…”  she  says  to you as you’re both talking a blue  streak in the new kitchen. “I don’t think that way.”  I’m  the  stupidest man in all of Da Nang. A total bum. Worse than  that, in fact. There’s a beautiful girl sleeping in the bed behind me.  What the fuck?  No. Seriously!   

snoring   snoring when it's too late  snoring past midnight  snoring coz she can't hear the classical music in my head  groaning and moving around coz I'm typing  snoring in my mind's eye  typing  softly, softly  oh, so  softly  soft now    yes    snoring with a frown  naked  white drapes pulled shut  snoring  in bed  alone    no crazy  douche bag  taking up  space    snoring  peacefully  softly  serenely    the trainwreck  parks out  front.     

you know, I could have anyone   afterhours  debating  she tells me something about another guy  "thousands of them come up to  me!" she's getting dramatic    I stand up, yanking at my  trousers    "now you just out with  it! what guy? where? who is  he? I wanna know! did you take  his number?"    "I'm not saying anything! I don't  have to  answer you!"    she's right, of course—and I am too in my own silly way    "just tell me! I wanna know ... I wanna know if  you were out there getting numbers when I was  in here  waiting on  you!"    "no," she says, unperturbed  getting annoyed  baiting me  the hook's in good  and it stays there  for  some  time 

"this is where we first ate when we met..."  she says  something like this  I feel the hook  twisting  like a knife  her moaning  with another  man  fuck me    maybe  I'll spit  in her cabbage?    "I wouldn't meet  any other man  or go out  with one, I mean..."    I'm listening intently, finishing  most of my beer  in seconds    "until our relationship  was finished"    "is that supposed to make me feel good?"    "you wanna feel bad? is  that it?"    "no"    ...    "I'm not 

that kind of person," she says    and you feel  the poison  of her  words    "that's enough"    "you've had enough, is  that it?"    Jesus Christ, what will it take  for  another beer?    the world crashing with shadows  "YOU OBSESS OVER MINOR  DETAILS!"    fuck me  fuck me  fuck me  it's all over    I can handle this  NO  I CAN'T  yes, it's fine  stop  you're overreacting    she just wanted you  to admit  you still cared    "how's your cabbage?"  damn, brown 

eyes   fuck. 

I WAS AN IRISHMAN FOR A NIGHT   You  know,  sometimes  things  ain’t  just  clickin’.  The  sun’s  too  hot.  You’re  all  torn-up  inside.  Dead-end  job.  Stupid  people.  Human  resources  bullshit.  Lonely  editors  with  nothing  better  to  do  than  to  correct your mistakes. Minor or major. Mostly minor. (Usually major.)  Your  taint  stinks.  No  clean  clothes  left.  You  end  up wearing some shit  you  borrowed  from  a  friend  two  years  ago  at  a  drunken  concert  that  could’ve  been  used  as time to spend on Revolution. Instead, you got to  the  front  row  mosh-pit  and  expelled  your  17  beers  through  a  hard  July sweat.  Just  as  I  was  saying.  The  cylinders  end  up  not  functioning  properly.  Fighting  with  the  Misses—as  some  English  prick  might  forsooth  …  to  the  conversation.  This  is  how  the  Universe  works.  You  walk  away,  a  loudmouthed Italian asshole. And you walk directly into  the  path  of  some  Irish  prick  (as  Tony  Soprano  would  say)  who  is  wasting  his  day  and  money  in  a  foreign  land,  drunker  than  piss  right  in the middle of the day…  “Hey,” he said, “where ‘ya from?”  Right away, I could tell he was Irish.  “Hey,” I responded, “I’m from America.”  “Why don’t you siddown?”  I did that. We kept bullshitting.  “What ‘ya doin’ here?”  “Gettin’ somethin’ to eat.”  “No, I mean. What ‘ya doin’ here in Da Nang?”  “Oh, yeh. Right. I’m just traveling with…”  “Why don’t you sit closer?”  He  motioned  to  the  table  at  which  he  was  perched,  sitting.  Drunk. Nearly crosseyed.  I  laughed,  somewhat.  He  tossed  back  some  of  his  beer.  In  a  can.  Classy.  I  had  my  two  cans  of  beer  on  his  table,  I  was  waiting  for  some  chicken  and  rice.  Somewhere  in  my  gut,  I  felt  uneasy.  I  didn’t  trust  people. And for good reason. Fucking prick! 

“My girlfriend’s  a  bitch,”  he  said,  almost  mumbling  across  the  table.  His  eyes  were  …  sideways  …  and  his  hair  was  short,  slicked  back,  brown,  and  gelled.  He  had  a  beard  going,  brown  and  orange  mixed  in  with  gray  and  black.  Strange,  I thought. What a strange guy.  Sitting  there,  like  that.  All  drunk.  Eating  chicken  and  rice  that  was  falling  off  his plate and onto the metal table. He looked like he needed  a bib.  “Ex-girlfriend,”  he  said,  correcting  himself.  I  noticed  some  black  splotches  of  paint  on  his  forearms  as  he  lifted  the  dried  and  greasy  chicken  to  his  mouth.  Some  of  the  bones  fell  from  his  hands  and  he  wiped  his  face  with  a  napkin.  “Sorry,”  he  mumbled  again,  “I  noe  it’s  stange and deesgustin’, watchin’ someone eat food.”  “No,” I responded, “it’s okay.”  I  tilted  back  my  can  of  beer  as  a  Vietnamese  woman  came  over  and  handed  me  my  own  chicken  and  rice.  Neatly  packed  in  a  container  with  rubber  bands  and  hot  soup  with  green  onions.  Chopped. Diced! Wicked…  “I’m Italian,” I told him, “was in Italy not that long ago.”  That  got  him.  He  went  off  on  an  incoherent  tirade  about  the  Pope,  football,  and  his  former  girlfriend’s  rich  parents.  “They  were  ridiculously  wealthy,”  he  was saying in his Irish brogue, “I mean, they  watched the Pope on one TV and football on the other…”  “Far  out,”  said  I,  knocking  on  Heaven’s  door.  Cracking  open  the  second can of beer after finishing the first.  I  could  see  that  he  was  highly  intoxicated.  His  right  eye  kept  drifting  into  space.  I  stayed  focused  on  his  left  eye.  (Have  that  habit  with  people.  When  their  face  terrifies  me,  somewhat,  I  focus  on  one  spot. That makes talking to them tolerable. Somewhat.)  He  went  on  and  on,  about  his  ex-girlfriend,  his  new  “Bottom  Bitch”—this  took  some  explaining  on  his  part—showing  me  her  naked,  telling  me  about  MDMA  in  Saigon,  we  swapped  stories  about  hookers,  and  then  he  said,  “You  know,  Bryan  (by  then  he  knew  my  name), you’re really cool.”  “Uh  huh,”  I  nodded.  “Nice  to  meet  you  too.  I  haven’t  had  much  time  talking  English  with  somebody  in  a  while…”  I  explained, briefly,  my  recent  travels  and  then  I  told  him  about  a  fight  I’d  been  going  through with my girlfriend.  “Oh, yah? I saw you goin’ past about four times.” 

At that  moment,  he  was  finishing  another  beer  and  I thought he  was  going  to  fall  face  forward  into  the  soft  metal.  Maybe  I  could  get  away? I thought.  Instead, he asked if I wanted to get another beer.  “Sure,”  I  said,  hesitantly.  Unprepared  to  drink  heavily  at  2  or  3  o’clock in the afternoon. Or was it closer to 4? “I just wanna go back to  my apartment to piss and drop off this food.”  “Man,  fuck  it.  Leave  it.”  He  seemed  disgusted  with  my  good  judgment.  It  took  some  convincing.  But  I  got  up, left. And was back in  a  few  minutes.  We  sat  down  at  a  mini-mart.  O,  by the way. He’d been  offering me cigarettes. We kept smoking. Drinking.  “You get these beers. I’ll get ‘em later on.”  “Uh huh.”  We cracked open the new beers. Sunlight heavy on our heads.  “So, whaddya passionate about? What do you like to do?”  He  had  just  gotten  done  with  talking  about  living  in  Barcelona  for 7 years as an English teacher.  “Uh,  I  like  to  paint,  write,  play  music.”  He  nodded,  face  vacant.  Eyes  hazy  and  almost  lifeless.  He  was  kinda  big,  almost  looked  like  a  rugby  player.  He  was  wearing  a  fanny  pack.  I  dunno  what  they’re  called.  “I paint, graffiti. And I also breakdance.”  I laughed.  “What’s so funny about that?”  “Nothing,”  I  said,  nearly  finishing  my  beer  in  that  hot,  brutal  sunshine. “I was wondering what was all over your arms.”  Black paint. Pink paint. He appeared to be some kinda lunatic!  Soon,  it  was  decided  that  I  would  come  to  meet  some  of  his  …  friends?  And  we  finished  our  beers,  got  up  and  walked  down  the  road.  Immediately,  he  pulled  out  some  pens  and  markers,  writing  on  this  and  that,  then  he  had  his  can  of  spraypaint.  He  went  to  town,  spraying,  marking  his  name  or  whatever  the  fuck  he  was  attempting  to  draw  or  paint  or  TAG.  Fuck. I laughed and waited and stared at the  indifferent  Vietnamese  passing  by  on bikes and scooters. The sun was  senseless  and  I  had  the  strange  feeling  that  my  life  was  in  constant  disarray,  that  I  should  be completely and utterly stoned for a moment  like this. Anyway.  We  got  there.  A  corner  with  lots  of  graffiti  and  an  open  lot  with  broken  rocks  and  red  and  orange  dirt.  Rats  ran  in  circles  and  dogs 

chasing their  tails.  Women  were  outside  in  pajamas.  On  the  corner,  three guys were getting into a screaming match.  Phil,  that  was  his  name,  introduced  me  to  Thom,  who  was  British,  and  three  other  Vietnamese  dudes  who  were  all  covered  in  tattoos,  nearly.  We  sat  out  there  on  little  lawn  chairs.  They  smoked  cigarettes,  talking  about  painting—Phil  and  Thom.  The  Vietnamese  kids  didn’t  say  much.  Although  I  asked  one  kid  in  a  Chargers jersey if  he liked AMERICA. He nodded in the affirmative. Good kid.  Thom  said  he  was  going  to  get  some  beers.  He  did  that.  Phil  remained  on  one  of the chairs, a beat-up leather number, torn, ripped  apart, and he started talking about … suicide. Of all things.  I  ignored  him and when the beers were handed around, I drank.  And  we  talked.  About  other  things.  After  twenty  minutes,  Phil  managed  to  get  up  and  grab  us  a  round  of beers. We drank again, the  sun  was  getting  weaker.  I  couldn’t  believe  Phil  was  still  awake  and  drinking. That made me want to buy us some beers…  And  I  did  that,  after  we  talked  about  British  music,  politics  …  and  I  explained  to  Phil  and  Thom  why  I  had  discolored  hair  tied  behind  my  head  …  that  I  wasn’t  in  Antifa  …  “Why  do  you  look  like  shit?”  …  and  once  the  subjects  were  all  talked  down  and  out  of  our  mouths  …  whatever  the  fuck  that  means  …  Thom  left  Phil  and I some  loot  to  go  get  painting  supplies.  Yah.  They  were  gonna  paint  later,  they’d said.  Suddenly, it was just Phil and I. Phillip. I didn’t really know what  the hell to call him.  “Listen,”  I  said,  “I  can’t  really  find  this  place.”  He’d  given  me  an  address  for  the  paint  store  and  I  couldn’t get proper directions. It was  supposed to be on the other side of the river.  “Fuck  it,”  he  said,  hardly  able  to  read  or  see  five  feet  in  front  of  his face, “let’s go to the bar.”  We got up and left.  “Man, Bryan. You’re a cool dude.”  “Thanks, man.”  He  needed  to  find  an  ATM.  I  directed  us.  A  couple  was  using  it.  We waited. And waited. Finally, they came out. Denied.  “Shit, where’s there another ATM?”  I  was  just  about  ready  to  bail  again.  In  fact,  I’d  felt  that  way  a  few  times  when  we  were  bullshitting  back  at  the  corner  on  the  lawn  chairs.  “Just  leave,”  I  told  myself,  “he’s  hammered. Get away. Go back 

to your  cave.” But I couldn’t do it. He was too drunk. I felt bad. Almost  responsible for him. Jesus.  We  got  into  a  cab  and  I  directed  the  cabbie  to  the  ATM.  It  was  a  little  bit  annoying  in  there  like  that, directing a man who didn’t speak  English beside a drunken Irish prick. But there I was.  We  got  there.  The  guy  parked.  Phil  got  out.  The  guy  drove  forward  a  bit.  Phil  came  out  of  the  ATM  after  a  few  seconds.  He  walked  away.  Kept  going.  Shit,  I  thought,  is  he  leaving  me  like  this?  Then  I  got  out  of  the  cab  halfway.  Phil  turned  around.  I  waved  my  arms. He came back to the cab.  We made it to the bar.  Bartenders  were  wearing  flannel  shirts  and  suspenders.  Phil  and  I had some kind of rum or vodka drinks before us. Plus a bottle of  beer,  each.  He  was  talking  about  the  money  he’d  owed  the  bar  the  night before and the Tinder date he’d been on.  “Man,  she  got  here.  And  we  talked.  And  she  just  kept  gettin’  messages on her phone…”  He looked into the abyss. The sick bastard.  “What about your girlfriend?”  “Yeah,” he said, “I’m not a good guy.”  “That’s all right.”  We finished our drinks and ordered another round.  The  drinks  came.  We  clanked  our  glasses.  Then  Phil  got  up  and  went  to  talk  to  two  Vietnamese  girls  seated next to us at the bar. They  were  both  very  beautiful,  talking  to  each  other  nonstop,  dressed  finely, all that. White blouse. Red blouse. Long, black hair. Fine.  “Hey,” Philly said—Phillie, what?—“you ladies care to join us?”  “No,” said the girl closest to me at the bar. I laughed.  Philly  sat  back  down.  He  didn’t  seem  too  bothered  about  it.  At  least not outwardly.  I  let  it  go.  Then  after  a  few  minutes,  he  started  talking  about  needing  to  be  with  somebody,  wanting  to  have  a  girl,  all  that.  I  didn’t  really  understand  it.  Then  he  got  up,  abruptly,  and  went  to  the  front  of the bar, walking outside and talking on the phone. To somebody.  I sat there. Staring at myself. In the mirror.  Fucking prick!  Then  I  looked  out  front.  To  make  sure  the  bastard  wasn’t  going  anywhere. He wasn’t. 

After a few minutes, and what seemed like him ducking his head  between his legs, he came back to his barstool.  “All right, man, you ready?”  “You wanna leave?”  I  saw  his  eyes.  And  I  couldn’t  for  the  life  of  me  believe that they  were still OPEN. Round and red. But still OPEN.  “You know what, fuck it,” he said, “let’s get another round.”  “All right!” I laughed.  Why????????  We  drank.  Full  of  scorn  and  contempt.  In  fact,  when  the  bill  came,  he  got  nasty.  Telling  me  I  SHOULD  BE  THE  ONE  to  take  care  of  it FOR HIM.  For fuck's sake.  Or how does it go?  Then  we  were  out  front.  Smoking.  There was a big tobacco pipe.  About three feet long. I took a hit. It was pouring rain. I coughed.  Rain pelted the streets.  We thought about going back inside. We waited.  One  of  the  bartenders  came  out.  Told  me  that  it  was  time  for  us  to go.  “Your friend had too much to drink, huh?”  I realized I was holding two bottles of beer.  “Hey,  man,”  Phil  said,  “can  you  get  a  Grab  (taxi)  for  me  back  to  my hotel?”  “Sure.”  I  did  that.  The  taxi  got  there.  I  wouldn’t  remember  saying  goodbye to him for the rest of my life.  I  walked  back  to  the  apartment  in  the  sizzling  rain,  holding  two  bottles of beer. Slurping and slugging from both of them.  When  I  got  back,  I  remembered  that  my  girlfriend  and  I  were  fighting.  I  think  I  showered.  Then,  when I got out, I started again with  her.  Fighting  about  something.  I  couldn’t  remember.  She  wanted  to  get  away  from me. I took off after her, walking outside like a madman  in  my  boxers.  When  I  realized  I  was  doing  that,  I didn’t care. She was  standing  at  the  end  of  the  street  with  her  face  in  her hands. What the  hell could I possibly have said to her, then?  We were back in the apartment. Arguing.  Then  I  sat  at  the  table  by  the  couch eating my chicken. And rice.  She remained in the bathroom. That bothered me. 

I got  up  to  see  what  she  was  still  doing  in there, wanting to coax  her  out  of  the  bad  situation  I’d  got  her  in.  With  my  stupid  drunkenness.  “I don’t want to talk to you! You’re drunk!”  “I am not. I’m not. DRUNK!”  “Yes, you are! Go away! Leave me alone!”  “Listen, I understand.”  Hands covering her face.  “Why  don’t  you  just  get  up  off  the  floor.  I’m  sorry.  I  just  don’t  want  you  to  be  on  the  floor  in  the  bathroom.  That  bothers  me.  To  think about that…”  Time.  It  had  a  way  of  fast-forwarding  itself.  It  had  a  way  of  standing still, too. What was time anyway?  “Just go away!”  “Why?”  “Coz, I said so!”  “But you’re on the bathroom floor!”  “So what?”  “Come on. Stop this…”  “You probably gave your parents cancer!”  “What?”  CRASH!  “Oh no.”  “What was that?”  Blood on the tile. Glass everywhere.  The  blue  heart  crawling  out  of  the  gutter  and  pissing  on  everything.  What  did  it  mean  to  argue  about  money?  Why  did  relationships  come  to  this?  Bleeding  in  the  sink.  Or  screaming  and  yelling.  Or  heartbreak. What did any of it mean? Really.  I thought about this, the next day. Hungover. On the beach.  A newly married couple. Taking photos.  I was behind their backs, tilting a can to the sky.  I’ll never get married, I thought.  It’ll never happen to me.  All those fucking tears.  And for what?   

breakup   I tried  this morning, all her shit I’d moved from the couch  to the floor  and the tiredness of sleeping  like a dog—forgotten by  her    unfair personalities splitting at the seams  when you secretly can’t stand someone, where do  those feelings  go?    and I thought about a book I once read by  Sigmund Freud (remember when  you used to read  books?)    and I went out there once again  doing whatever I could to please ​her  forgetting  myself    identity lost to the charade of sex and food  what about the bikinis I said I’d buy her?  how come we never go anywhere?  what happened to us going dancing?  when and where  did it stop  being fun, when and where  was attraction lost?    days of fighting  sleepless nights 

the demons awakening sick feeling in stomach and gut  all that momentum  lost  stopped  stuck there inside of you  where love  almost  bloomed    it’s hard to let go, impossible  to stay  together    I can’t give up writing for her  I gave in  all that food she left in the sink, uncaring  folded her clothes  she took pictures  of the first meals I cooked  and her meals? that sucked, no—    you couldn’t say that  all your mistakes  making you  sick  you need to be alone  with them    demons, mistakes  the empty bullet shells    putting them back  fully loaded  into this stupid  fucking  machine   

it’s like a bomb blast, that sense of freedom    realizing how much you couldn’t stand her  and letting it go on like that  coz of her thighs, nipples, mouth, glasses, eyes  and heart, what about  that?    yah,  what about it?  where’d it go?  maybe she turned it off  and didn’t say  why    clumsy  lazy  bullshit    both of yours  spread out together on the table, all those  cards  lost in the days  of boredom and space  taken for granted  like children, yes, she’s like a  child    when will you both  grow up?    by splitting up, by going your separate ways  to keep that fire lit in your nuts  and to let her get numbers from other guys,  let them see her for who she really is  and maybe  she will 

too   maybe it’s for the best  maybe it was a giant waste of time  like mass graves  like making money  like holidays in Springtime    this massive black hole  created out of  nothing    spitting out another  Universe  that was there inside of you,  all along    all those stars, just waiting to be  found.     

Profile for Bryan William Myers

Everything We Are Taught Is False #12  


Everything We Are Taught Is False #12