Rocky’s Poem


“These things are good:
Ice cream and cake
A ride on a Harley
Seeing monkeys in the trees
The rain on my tongue
And the sun shining on my face

These things are a drag:
Dust in my hair
Holes in my shoes
No money in my pocket
And the sun shining on my face”

-Rocky Dennis

This poem makes me cry and smile at the same time. It is so simple. It’s literal and basic yet strong and beautiful.  You have seen the movie Mask, correct? If not, well that’s unsettling and you’ll need to stop what you are doing and go and watch it now.

Mask is a biopic drama film about the life of Rocky Dennis. Rocky had craniodiaphyseal dysplasia (also known as lionitis), a very rare bone disorder that causes calcium to build up in the skull, disfigures facial features, causes cranial enlargements and shortens ones life expectancy. Of the few cases known, most of the individuals died in childhood. Rocky died when he was 16 years old. He touched so many people with his easy-going and wonderful personality before he left this place.

Rocky wrote this poem for English class and read it to his ‘wild’ biker mother at one point during the movie (a rather sad point in the movie, as it seems like she is barely paying attention).

“This was not the PTA mother of the year, but she was the perfect mother for Rocky. She never made him feel sorry for himself” said Mask Screenwriter Anna Hamilton Phelan in a 2001 People interview.

Please grab some tissue before clicking on this clip – Rusty remembers Rocky:


The sun! Photo by David Law on Unsplash


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