Sunday, June 5, 2016

Raymond Keen- A Poem

GREAT MEN SERIES 2:  Freud at the Dentist 
(First published in Love Poems for Cannibals by Raymond Keen – February 2013)
Guten Tag, Dr. Freud.
Guten Tag, Herr Doctor.
(Freud sits in dentist chair.)

How are the theories coming, Dr. Freud?

Oh you know how it is.  It’s hard work,
and in these Victorian times
it’s an uphill battle all the way.
(Dentist nods, Freud opens mouth again.)

Open wider please, Dr. Freud . . .
ah . . . yes . . . that’s better.  You were saying . . .

My theories are hard work,
and in these Victorian times
it’s an uphill battle all the way
with a public that,
quite frankly,
just doesn’t understand.

You know, Dr. Freud,
this is always the problem
with new ideas; they are
way ahead of the public,
way ahead of the times.  Perhaps
. . . perhaps your ideas can only
be understood and assimilated
by a more sophisticated public . . .
a public more psychologically aware.
This will come someday, Dr. Freud . . .
and you will have that public, sir . . .
a public . . . to match . . . your GENIUS, Dr. Freud,
. . . if you don’t mind my saying so.

Not at all, Herr Doctor.  I appreciate that!
It’s always nice to know that someone understands.

Those stains on your teeth
are going to be difficult
to remove entirely, Dr. Freud.  By the way,
how many cigars do you smoke per day, sir?

Oh . . . about 19 or 20 per day I would say.
One of my few excesses.
No doubt a sublimatory behavior.
Wo es war, soll ich warden.  (Freud chuckles.)

As you have said, Dr. Freud, a cigar is
sometimes only a cigar!  (Both Freud and dentist
chuckle together.)


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 (July 1967 – July 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.  He is a credentialed school psychologist in the states of California and Washington, and a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Washington. 

Raymond’s first volume of poetry, Love Poems for Cannibals, was published in February 2013.  He is also the author of a drama, The Private and Public Life of King Able, which was published in January 2016.  Raymond’s poetry has been published in 33 literary journals.


  1. Raymond Keen’s “Freud at the Dentist” is very droll. This is the Keen wit at its best, giving us a very human and vulnerable Freud sitting in a dentist’s chair, as he receives the fawning praise of the dentist. The dark irony of the poem is that the dentist and Freud chuckle over his excessive smoking of cigars. This smoking habit will prove fatal, as Freud will die as the result of cancer of mouth and jaw.

    It is too bad that Freud’s most famous phrase – "Wo es war, sol ich werden" – (Where Id was, there Ego shall be) is miswritten: "warden" instead of the correct "werden". I would recommend a correction be made.

  2. I enjoy the "tongue-in-cheek" wit Ray uses in this fiction/factual piece with an Orwell feel.

    Perhaps SPELLCHECK altered Freud's phrase or perhaps an English translation in the poem would remedy as the astute Anchora alluded or perhaps our editor/webmaster has yet to make correction.

    Regardless, a great addition to DEAD SNAKES as all Ray's other poems on this site have been. (see archives)