Editor’s Choice – Two Poems by Curt Eriksen

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October 31, 2011 by The Citron Review

by Curt Eriksen


To have
just the time
and the good luck
to sit and watch
all one day
some thing
that never

That’s how
I remember
and the hands
of the old Turk
drooling saliva
and a little
life yet.



She grips the headboard and
braces against his thrusting,
abandoning her mind the way
she surrendered her soul

not an hour ago to the guy
who bought her a hamburger
with an extra large order of fries,
encouraging her to eat, eat, eat

cause you never know when
you’re gonna be hungry again.



Curt Ericksen’s poems penetrated the inner world with well crafted and compacted language. I still remember reading Curt’s poetry on my phone as I walked down to the beach on a sunny afternoon. His work immediately inspired me to write. His poetry was like a match lighting the stove on a cold morning … I needed his poetry. His work reminded me why I spent thousands on a MFA when there’s not a slight chance it will pay off. Curt’s poem “Patience” is just two sentences, but in those two lines I feel what the narrator feels as if I were in Morocco watching the “old Turk.” I immediately was lost in “the good luck / to sit and watch / all one day / some thing / that never / moves.” Artist Paul Cezanne once said, “Here, on the river’s verge, I could be busy for months without changing my place, simply leaning a little more to right or left.” Curt’s line connected to Cezanne’s words and the way an artist takes in the world, studies it, and shapes it into a new work of art. Curt’s poem “Patience” hooked me as a reader and as an editor with the way he couched the observation made in the second line with the lens of having the “good luck” to be an observer with the time to see another person so completely. The second line: “That’s how / I remember / Morocco / and the hands / of the old Turk / drooling saliva / and a little / life yet” gives me a sharp picture of suffering in Morocco, but leaves me with a thread of hope in the last few words. Curt manages to pack in the intrigue of mentioning Morocco with a vision of suffering and a glimmer of hope. This type of tension in such a short space made it easy to say “yes” to his work.

Even a year after accepting Curt’s work for our Fall 2010 issue, I find that it still resonates with me. In Curt’s poem “Hunger” I was struck by the last two lines and how starkly it captures the essence of hunger in its most basic and instinctual form. While hunger starts out like a typical poem about sex, it reaches much deeper, easing down in with simple language. It doesn’t try to be grand, doesn’t try to entertain me with choice words that sound poetic, but the language resonates with meaning and plants itself in my memory because it is so familiar. I am inclined to say “yes” to sex, but I’m searching for something much deeper.


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