Raymond Keen

My Theory of the Persistence of Language-Cover in 
Science and Art

I went to the zoo to study the parallel quality
of the bars of the animal cages. I developed
a theory of parallel zoo bars for caged animals.
Unfortunately, my theory only covers the bars
of the animal cages, not the cage itself, certainly
not the animals. My theory also fails to cover
the previous three (3) sentences, as well as this
sentence which I express sans theory.
Greater men, for lesser reasons,
have given up science for art.

GREAT MEN SERIES 4: A Personal Glimpse of Our Beloved Scientist, Albert Einstein, with Photo Slides

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.
(1st slide is a facial portrait of Albert Einstein)
Albert Einstein was unable
to tie his own shoelaces,
or uninterested in doing so.
Yet he was the greatest physicist
who ever lived.
(2nd slide shows full body photo of Einstein,
cut off at shoulders)
Here is a photograph of Einstein
with shoelaces untied.
(3rd slide shows view of Einstein
from ankles down)
Here is a photograph of Einstein
with shoelaces tied.
We don’t know
who tied them.
Although Albert Einstein
was not very practical,
he was very theoretical.
He was our greatest theoretical scientist.
Unlike many scientists today,
he did not deny
the existence of God.
Some contemporaries
have even referred to
his metaphysical dimension.
(4th slide shows full portrait of Einstein)
Here is the last picture that we have
of our beloved scientist.
Notice the shoelaces.

American Tourists in Europe

In Paris
You can forget about
Those gothic cathedrals!
In Venice
We bought color slides
Of the Holy Spirit.
In Germany
We pretended
(Even the girls and women)
That we were the sons of Hitler.
Some of us role-played on our tour bus.
It was fun. It was very fun!

We didn’t like Paris.
We didn’t like Amsterdam.
We didn’t like Rome.
We didn’t like London.
We didn’t like Madrid.
Too big, too dirty, too expensive,
Too many prostitutes.
Europe is, as far as we can tell,
A very dirty place, you know.
You know what I mean?

Raymond Keen has recently completed his first volume of poetry, Love Poems for Cannibals, and is attempting to obtain publication.  Five of his poems appeared in the July/August 2005 Issue of The American Poetry Review.  In 2010 Raymond’s poems were published in the following literary journals: Pemmican PressThe Smoking PoetBreadcrumb Scabs and Pismire.  In 2011 the following literary journals have accepted Raymond’s poems: Twisted Dreams MagazineUnlikely 2.0Rem MagazineThe Camel SaloonWhite Whale ReviewEunoia Review and The Literary Burlesque. Raymond spent three years as a Navy Clinical Psychologist with a year in Vietnam (1967-68); the rest as a School Psychologist in the USA and overseas.  He lives with his wife Kemme in Sahuarita, AZ.  They have two grown children.


  1. Wow! Keen's writing is so good, so honest, so direct. and such fun. Writing like this could make me want to read more poetry.

  2. In these 3 poems by Raymond Keen, the "deadpan" humor cuts deep: In the first poem, "My Theory of...," we are given a poem which literally reveals the inadequacy of language to reveal truth. Then the speech-poem about Einstein shows the comically clumsy attempt to reveal the "greatness" of the man with clichés about his absentmindedness. Last, and most zany, the mindless tourist, condemning what he does not understand or wish to understand in "American Tourists in Europe." Brilliantly witty poems!