Afternoon in Amsterdam


Many thanks to Sandy River Review for publishing (most) of the following poem in their Fall 2016 issue.

Afternoon in Amsterdam

                                                                     —for Roland Möe

Forget the red-light district

. toothless skirts from overseas

.. imported age-old fantasies


I ask the way to the Van Gogh show

. a bearded local walks me there

.. we smoke a bowl on a smoky bench


Inside, alone, nose close to canvas

. amazed by heavy strokes of pain

.. such violence in a starry sky


Someone tugs my sweater sleeve

. that beard with marijuana breath

.. twice my age, here to persuade


I say I’m hungry, leave the show

. he follows, knows a place not far

.. leads me back to his second-floor flat


Up steep and narrow bohème steps

. he serves up bowls of stovetop gruel

..  veggies and grains, a sweet-spice stew


Once he tastes, I try a bite

. smoke another bowl, relax, unwind

.. he lays a lazy hand upon my knee


Downstairs, distressed, I say I’m beat

. heading back to my hotel to sleep

.. he begs me not to go—Please, stay


Half his age, afraid of his long song

I find my way to the red-light zone

.. still unsure if any road leads home




  1. Love this poem. Totally evocative of Amsterdam. I was there 10 years ago, quite a different experience, but you so got the soul of the city and of travel.
    Dana Zed, a friend from way back, turned me onto your blog. Thanks for the good content 😀

    —Daniel Ari


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