marijauna

Afternoon in Amsterdam

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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