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!?) [gallery columns="2"]  
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