Raymond Keen

Letter to Maligulea                                                                            

Dear Mali,
It seems like
just yesterday that we spoke,
mi pequena anarchista.

The deer
from the pampas
are still eating
your rations.
The food I left
at the table
didn’t excite them
much.  They still
romp and play.

We continue
to sew the parachutes.
It’s taking much longer
than expected.  Your suggestion
that we let our prisoners
fix their airplanes
and get themselves
out of here without taking
the still torn parachutes
was a good one
because they’ve left,
and are no longer
a worry to us.

Mi querida Maligulea,
I feel somehow strained
in turning now
to the more personal.
Your last letter convinced me
of your commitment to remain
with the mountain people.
I realize that nothing,
not even coffee or tea,
will deter you.
Of course,
I cannot be objective,
but please know
what I know,
that somehow your work
will not be forgotten,
even though as I write,
it is not even recognized.
We share an affinity
for the tightrope, you know.
As ever,

RAYMOND KEEN has recently completed his first volume of poetry, Love Poems for Cannibals.  Five of his poems appeared in the July/August 2005 Issue of The American Poetry Review.  Since 2010, Raymond’s poems have been accepted for publication by 16 literary journals. Raymond spent three years as a Navy Clinical Psychologist with a year in Vietnam (July 1967-July 1968); the rest as a School Psychologist in the USA and overseas with DOD Schools.  He lives with his wife in Sahuarita, Arizona.  They have two grown children.


  1. This very funny poem, written with tongue firmly pressed against a wicked cheek, targets pseudo-revolutionaries everywhere. It is not LOL funny, but still I had to laugh at its "lofty" tone. :-)

  2. I think this poem by Raymond Keen "pretends" to be about something, but is not really about anything. The dude writing to Maligulea (what a name!!) is pompous or deluded or maybe a nerd pining away for his "romanticized" Maligulea. In any case, this communication by letter is absurd and, like most verbal communication, bears little relation to reality. This poem makes me think about language and how it always misses the mark of actually communicating what is real. Kudos for a "light" poem that turns out to be rather deep and absurdly funny.


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