Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Raymond Keen- Two Poems

A Tyrant’s Dream – (Originally published in my book, Love Poems for Cannibals – February 2013)
You leave home.
You hate them
For not understanding.
You return, but find
You are locked
Out of the house.
Now you remember
Your mother is on vacation.

You notice
This other woman
Has more hair
On her arms than you,
But you “let that dog lie.”
Then you notice
These other women
Don’t shave their legs.
But they are weak!
You are strong!
So you climb up the tree
In their back yard.
You peer through the window.

Suddenly your path
Seems more certain.
Because you realize
That you are also weak:
All that ability,
But no authority.
Once you were
“The Favorite,”
Simply by playing
A parasitic endgame
With your chameleon host.
Now in this hell
We call heaven,
She can’t even remember your name.

You were Ahab
Trapped in the birth canal,
First-rate spirit
Waiting to be born second,
Swallowing your twin’s shit
As he was born,
Waiting, deciding.
Now you are the Robber.
Now you are the Thief.
Now you have
Blue eyes and blond hair.
Now you are utterly fearless.
Now you are Ahab
Astride the White Whale.
Now you play God with Mother.
Now you shit Truth.

He’s a Fat Boy, and He’s Getting Fatter – (Originally published in my book, Love Poems for Cannibals – February 2013)

He’s a fat boy,
and he’s getting fatter.
Each fat boy
has been given his own instruments.
“Aren’t they pretty?” Nancy asked.
“I help other American children behave,”
the fat boy said, spitting on the flowers,
wiping his mother’s kiss from his mouth,
splashing his urine on the edifice,
his fingers continuing to tremble
from the maternal embrace.
“I want to be famous,” he said.
“He is shy before the cameras,
but not too shy,” his mother said,
running after him, her large teeth
yellow from smoking, not
an original bone in her body,
but without sin.
Some would say another lost generation,
but without sin. 
So we invite him into our house.
We give him vitamins.
“Now my body will be perfect,” he said.
Raymond Keen was educated at Case Western Reserve University and the University of Oklahoma.  He spent three years as a Navy clinical psychologist with a year in Vietnam (1967 – 1968).  Since that time he has worked as a school psychologist and licensed mental health counselor in the USA and overseas, until his retirement in 2006.  

Love Poems for Cannibals, published in February 2013, is the author’s first volume of poetry.  He is also the author of a drama, The Private and Public Life of King Able, which will be published in 2015.  Raymond’s poetry has been published in 30 literary journals.


  1. Dearest God, Raymond! These two profoundly moving and emotionally shocking poems seem bang on, given the e-mail I just sent you about another set of poems I will not mention here. This is poetry at its most powerful. I commend you highly.

    Richard Vallance Janke, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

  2. Thank you, Richard, for your most generous comment. Coming from another poet, and a fine scholar of poetry in all its forms, I could not enjoy more gratifying praise.

    Raymond Keen - author of "Love Poems for Cannibals"

  3. I should not be surprised. Keen is always brilliant. But I'm always thrilled by this poet's work. Twisted juxtapositions that break into virgin terrain and open into vistas of previously unexplored imagery.

  4. Thanks to my friend and gifted novelist, John Rachel, for your comments.

    People should check out your new thriller - "Petrocelli" - on Amazon.com: