AmsterGrams: First Edition


#1: AMS to PDX in 50 words or less.

A hundred-year-old wood boat,

A thousand broken bicycles under foot

Canal houses lean brotherly into each other

The captain confidently offers me the wheel—

His lack of worry is UnAmerican.

We slide under stone arches close to the sharp edges

Now soft like cream pastries In early spring’s nightly encore.


#2: Exploring the thin line between courageous or stupid.

The Drive By Truckers in a grand old church

Above the stage hangs stained glass streamers

Bought me some merch

Singing “hell no I ain’t happy”

With a room-full of dreamers.


#3: Amsterdam in 50 words or less, through a Portland lens.

Elvis Costello serenaded two-thousand of us

Wednesday night

For “Alison, My Aim is True”

He stepped away from the mic and with only his own voice

and an acoustic guitar, he reached the rafters.

No amplification, you could hear a pin drop,

Didn’t need the electricity.

Elvis provided the juice.

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#4: Sockeye notes from Amsterdam

There’s a great breezeway in the Rijksmuseum

The cellists there favor the acoustics

They drop a hat or open their cases,

Coins dance in appreciation

The pigeons whir, flap their wings

Music pours over all of us

I’ve run three miles so far

And applaud as I fly by.


#5: Sockeye notes from Amsterdam

Land of ex-pats,

Circling for beer on a sunny table

Amsterdam is a hub,

A great wheel spinning Europe

Through miles of cheese rounds and cheekbones

Iron lattice lacquered with sun, turning and turning

No matter if we keep up, or just need home

Or just want another beer.


#6: Sockeye notes from Amsterdam

Walk along the Singal Burrow through the Kalvertoren shopping center

Hit 3 on an odd-angled glass elevator

Rise to Blue, both sky and cafe

Behold the view above canal houses

Look, there’s Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

And behind the bar, red faced with a sly grin,

It’s Augustus Gloop serving regret.