Don’t Blame Marx
by Raymond Keen

In Part I,
the Americans
put on their bright,
Christian smiles. “He and I
can go all night,” she says.
“I hope there is a war. I want
to kill again,” he says.

Now we’re in the cages
with some dead soldiers
…in Huntsville, Texas…
Don’t blame Marx.
We are impelled
to call ourselves,
“The children of Sartre.”
It’s all done with mirrors,
in a place where liars
call liars liars, in a place
where hate itself
is blotting out the sun.

“Step away! Step away!
There’s blood on the apple.”
(The good Samaritan
examines the apple
wearing a cowboy suit,
making the killing easier.)
“Call the police!” he says.
“Call the police!”

In Part II,
the government
blames the rebels, and
the rebels blame the
government, everyone
running like blind dogs
in a meat house
…in Huntsville, Texas…
“We’ll decorate the cages,” they said,
making the killing easier,
making the killing easier.

In Part III,
the clinic discards the embryos,
or so says the Reverend Jimmy Swaggart,
“…To be frank with you…
…..To be frank with you…
We have let the Devil into the house.”

In Part IV,
the children gather round us.
“Can we eat plastic?” they ask.
Marcus shows me his teeth
as I pass by his desk.

In Part V,
the children ask,
“When our beds are burning,
how can we sleep?”

…Or Let Me Tell You The Story About The Man Who Came To Work With A Crack In His Head
by Raymond Keen

In the morning,
After the radiation treatments,
He told us he was the butler.
He told us he was their Catholic son.
He told us he had fucked their mother.
He told us many things,
Blaming it all on Eve.

His doctor,
Not a bad man,
Just another kind yet bewildered whore
Unable to read the brain scan,
Tore up his office records
And prescribed a dose of poison
Large enough to go around.
Fortunately, we have a way of
Monitoring the self-destruction.
A bad memory helps.
Can you name the four seasons of the year?
Je crois que oui,” they said.

City planners,
Tired of thinking on tiptoes,
Bleeding, as it were, from all their orifices,
Thus displaying an unmanly sensitivity,
Where eagles once soared,
Where jackals once howled,
(A drama of good and evil)
Are fully covered by insurance
If “accidents” happen
In “priority” tunnels.
“Don’t let him hug the baby,”
They said.
“He’s radioactive. Very radioactive!”
Would you like a cigarette?
Je crois que oui,” they said.

Tragedy, however, takes time.
Even when everything runs smoothly.
There’s not a lot to do,
But there’s a lot to pay for.
Oy vay iz mir.
Social workers,
In full pursuit
Of the American dream
Of not having to choose,
Explained to volunteers
The plight of the Third World.
“We’ll get right on it, sirs!
Hoot hoot zat! For now,
All we want to do is look good!”
They said. “A bad memory helps.”
Can you name the colors of the American flag?
Je crois que oui,” they said.

After the radiation treatments
In this cold house,
Either way,
We need more liars
Who care about the truth.

…Or let me
Tell you
The story
About the man
Who came to work
With a crack
In his head.

Raymond Keen 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. His work has appeared in The American Poetry Review, Pemmican Press, The Smoking Poet, Breadcrumb Scabs and Pismire, among others. He lives with his wife Kemme in Sahuarita, AZ. They have two grown children.