Poetry! Yes, poetry. I’m surprised, too.Amsterdam, Spring 2013

I’m a writer.

I do writerly things (like being poor or picking out a box to live in). I never considered myself a poet, despite the fact I’ve had my poetry more recognized in various publications (mostly small and localized). Yet, in a short time here in Amsterdam, I’ve written over thirty poems, and a good half of them I actually — surprisingly — like.

I think I realize now why artist types go abroad for work. Being in a foreign place gives you new perspectives, and makes you very keen about your surroundings, about culture in general, and about appreciating life.

It also can make one cynical or jaded — I’ve had my fair share of cynical bouts while abroad. I was under the “grass is always greener” mentality when it came to Europe. Being slapped in the face with reality instead of ideology can hurt. But the little things always give hope. Recently, a native woman (amused by my girly bike) cycled next to me and we just chatted pleasantly. She had just stopped at the flower cart near my apartment and asked the florist if she could borrow some gloves it was so cold. And so she now sported the florist’s gloves, who let her borrow them despite not being close friends. I think, at its core, humanity really is good and capable of great love and trust.

Enough of all this intellectual nonsense. It’s time to show some poems! Love ‘em, hate ‘em, do whatever you like. They’re my poems about my experiences and Amsterdam in general. Hopefully you take something away from them (even if you’re just reading this blog post to procrastinate cleaning or laundry or homework).

Pannenkoeken

Pannenkoeken

Ik wil pannenkoeken
met boter
een beetje boter

Pancakes

flat, sweet, draped
across the white-and-
blue Delft plate

Pannenkoeken

Ik wil pannenkoeken
met kaas en spek –
ja, kaas en spek

Pancakes

soft, gentle flavors
blending together
my tongue celebrates

(This poem inspired by the absolutely delectable pancake I had at Pancakes! near Keizersgracht)

How Hours Pass for this UvA Student

thee touch lips
hot morning
grey morning
clouds pregnant
and growing
with each
rotation

lock fiets and frame
climb steps
nestle into
seat
lights dim
screen glows
learning commences
to the tones
of a soft
Dutch accent

thighs burn
pedal-pedal-pedal
cross bridge after
bridge, sinews
tying city over
veins of
murky water

winkel smells of
wood and paint
soft scent
pleasant
perhaps it is
the smell that
bewitches the
artist into
spending euro
after euro on
palette, pigment,
and pride

return home
pass the choir
of football kinderen
shouting
discordant harmony
shoulder the door
and rise to
collapse onto
lumpy bed

night falls
dreams trickle
the young awake
and bring bottles
to their mouths
paint face
brush hair
questing for
ghezellig

day ends
when day begins
dragging
body back
to blankets
no brews brought
happiness tonight
but sweet pillows
welkom
promising the
newness of
tomorrow

(This poem is a general outline of what a day like is for me and other international students in Amsterdam.)

Finding ghezellig

Amsterdam, city of tolerance
(tolerance?)
veins of water running
through stone as cycles pedal past
cannabis swirling in the air
leaking through un-Dutch lips
have you found
ghezellig in the
pubs-clubs-bars?
No. maybe it is hidden
in the base of a Heineken
like Wonka’s golden ticket
or flossed in the teeth
of a Red Light girl

(This poem informed by some of my cynicism, especially when concerned with how tourism can objectify a place and culture.)

Well, that’s all the poems I’ll share for now, lest I make this post longer than a Tumblr dashboard scroll (like that could actually happen). I hope you enjoyed them. I’ve surprised myself in many ways, and look forward to writing more.

Poetry, though. It’s weird. I can’t believe I’m writing poems outside of a class.

Amsterdam, what have you and your Dutch muses done to me!? (Fun writerly sidenote: the punctuation I just used is called an interrabang. How freaking cool is that!?)

 

Be Sociable, Share!
If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!
Tagged as: , , , , , , , ,

You May also like:

Leave a Response

Please note: comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.

*