Poem Of The Day: Seeing Double In Amsterdam

Seeing Double. Some people think Amsterdam is a city of sin. But it is actually a city of freedom, and in freedom most people find sin.

*How to read this Amsterdam poem: “Seeing Double” can be read in the left column alone, the right column alone, and from left to right as an entire poem. The left side is centered on a park musician statue photo, and the right side is centered on a woman working in the red light district.

seeing double, amsterdam
Amsterdam. PHOTO Amanda Dettmann
                                                                        red lights like Great Gatsby eyes
Amsterdam bathes in leaves
                                                                        opens 10 am, black curtains crawling
yellowing like book pages
                                                                        people behind glass
everything is falling out of trees
                                                                        a woman’s fingernails beckoning
onto the bronze man’s scalp
                                                                        window display turned human, moving
he plays on
                                                                        when does she sleep
best bass player in town
                                                                        when does she go home
he knows
                                                                        liberty in a single strand of hair brushed sideways
spinning his instrument like a paintbrush
                                                                        swaying her hips to her own whistling
Van Gogh sitting in the park audience
                                                                        in her own maroon world
right along with him
                                                                        a heel four inches off the ground
singing in Dutch           
                                                                        no waver in her undressed silence
red hair tapping the wind like a foot pressing a piano pedal:
                                                                        “play on, risky city, play on”
Amanda Dettmann


Amanda is an avid traveler who calls Maine her home, but her favorite places include Amsterdam's Christmas markets and Shakespeare's Globe in London. She is passionate about poetry, theatre, and teaching writing to kids and adults with disabilities. She thinks the best part of traveling is hearing strangers' incredible stories. Her ultimate mission? To find the tastiest cappuccino in the world.

Jetset Times in your inbox

Sign-up for our newsletter

By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Policy and European users agree to the data transfer policy.