BALLAD OF THE NIGHTMARE CAFE
My Dutch bank, barely recovered from bankruptcy,
has special offers on its website
for reduced admission to the September exhibition of ‘Van Gogh’.
250 reproductions of the artist’s paintings are on show
at Berlage’s Stock Exchange building on the Damrak,
with some of the paintings, it warns, ‘actually coming to life’.
On the café terrace outside, as favoured customer,
you may sample a glass of pastis,
apparently the one-eared artist’s favourite tipple.
You may enjoy a pelting from the Potato Eaters,
or join in the conversation at the Night Café
where the regulars will tell you in no uncertain argot
what it is that makes this louche bar their favourite haunt.