First, for a bit of context, here is the story of:

My Three Poetry Readings

1st – I was pleased to see an audience member approach me as I left the podium. She said she could help me and handed me her card. The card contained information about her therapy practice.

2nd – I was the guest on a half-hour radio show also simulcast on the Internet. Family and friends (and strangers?) listened from far away. In between poems I was asked to play some of my favorite music, by artists including Joni Mitchell, of Montreal, Roberta Flack, The Rocky Horror Picture Show Soundtrack.

3rd – I had trouble with the printer at the library. I asked a librarian if he could print some poems for me. He obliged, presenting me with the poems on an eight-foot long, three-inch wide receipt, which trailed behind me as I walked to the podium.

Free Poems

By Rob Bonney

Bought A Baby Chicken For The Hell Of It

I bought a baby chicken
That scratches newspaper, so cute
And peeps all night, eventually not cute
I did it for the hell of it
In a box on the floor
By my bed it is my baby
The eyes that close slowly
And open up wide and staring
Means she loves me
Or does that little head
Tilted to the side
Mean she worries
Make mama mad
Get myself kilt
She doesn’t know I could never
As a mama and a lover
But others have looked up
From their box at nice people
Then got old and shitty and
Wandered around nothing more
Than robotic squawking peckers
Until it was intolerable
Or annoying enough
To get pushed back into cardboard
For a dark morning ride
To the shelter
A full grown chicken
In a box by the door


The last Saturday I called
You didn’t answer
You didn’t call back
And I know you’re not dead


In sandcastle halls
Washes up from the sea
Pours out the turrets
Lands in the moat
Flies off my kicking feet

Selfish Dream, Believe Me

This road is loud
But after a while no different than a rushing brook
Always cars approaching passing gone
Brooks are better, though, there’s no plastic straws
There are so many plastic straws at the side of a road
And cans and twisted parts dropped from trucks and vans and sedans

When I want to stop walking
A guard rail with grass the mower couldn’t reach
Fits me well for some hours
No person worries where I am

There’s not a soul
To be embarrassed
For the grease on my shirt
The soles that flap when I walk
Take you
Leave you
Or you leave me
When I’ve nothing anyone wants
Maybe then I’ll be
Even more free


We don’t trespass
We overlap
And yet I must forgive myself
A thousand times a day

Before you lay your hand over mine
To tell me no forgiving is needed
I still believe I was wrong

Greenwich Avenue

I thought you would never lie to me
You said you had bronchitis
You had HIV
For a time you refused to see me
I brought a gift and you had me throw it
Up to where you held out your arms
At a second story window
Perhaps I should have banged at your door
If you were listening for me
I’m sorry
But I suspect you were not

I never knew if you read
That book I threw up to you
Annie Dillard laughing, disgusted
Insect doing what insect gotta do
You may not have wanted irreverent then

Fifteen years ago, was it?
Me standing on Greenwich Ave
Back when we more often tried
To believe we were immortal
Why tell you what was for years forgotten?
Except to know
That day
Don’t mean shit
My friend


With the sun you see
Cool peace revealed
Inside a rushing river
Prisms crash
A thousand facets roll tip and turn
Gathering light
To pop you up to heaven

Today’s Crappy Pop Song

Were they ever good
It doesn’t matter
Kids go where they’re led
And make it fun


May each baby that cries for its life know you
Be understood

Every mystery we want proved
Every fact we wish were mystery
Be met with the words
It’s okay it’s not wrong
This is life

Like geese know how to form
A wind machine in the sky
We know how to do –
Not so much what's enough

Who gently reminds us
We are lovely?
You do

Through My Window

Three shapes overlaid
Above and beside
Three shapes gliding
Towards Frost
By my bedside

A gang war of
Chess pieces
Oddly portrayed
Demoiselles posing

When sun starts to hiding
Three shapes glide
Lay a moment on Frost
Disappear inside

Let’s Go Inside

Would you like to listen
To my idea?
Let’s go inside ourselves
Be together in tune
Sing a song of who we are

Floaters in time, our memories say hi
Hello memories! We are running by
We’ve got big plans to make in our minds

What minds we have!
What plans we make!
How far we see with closed eyes

Don’t you think inside ourselves
Is the best place of all?
Like the biggest park in the world?
Here we can draw our ideas
On sycamore trees
And stay as long as we like

To a girl in a hospital, sitting at the center of a gurney, moaning. Every inch of her exposed skin is bright red from radiation: face, neck, arms, hands. Six attendants wheel her down the hall. Can I console a girl whose skin is too sensitive to touch?


I go far for quiet
Slip down a ravine
Burrs swarm my pant legs
A twig in my hair

Cardinal crack cracks
What you doing here

Me? I’m no more than a brick
From a farm gone a hundred years
Caught in the long crooked toes of an oak
Washed bare by the creek

Go back, crack crack
To the stomp and grind
And the constant moon
Over the hill

My Mule

Eats hay
I fix her fence
Curls a lip shows big teeth
Takes a carrot to crunch
While I rake up the leaves
More come I rake another day
Her eyes
Say you and those leaves
The shovel knocks her hoof
She does not budge
I scoop her shit

The Herd

My eyes rove faces
You see my fear?
See too:
“I won’t go easily”

This herd is forever bumping
Forever bumping without thought
We make space they make space
If a bump was more than needed
Or this morning someone’s grumpy
We grunt but we move
Chewing grass all the while

We accept the bumping
The herd is life
Many many many flow
If movement so slow could be called flow at all
Each stands in danger at the edge
For just the briefest time
Before flowing back inside

If goodbye gentle with the backwards stripes
This must be done and will be done
Why am I confused?

July Morning / Brand New Fan

Our vibrating babe
Will you always stay
One foot from our heads?

Will you grow to be
A great big palm
And sway and sway and sway?

And feed to us
A broken-skin
Stoplight flesh fruit?

Leave the syrup on our lips

Tell us how
To swim in bedsheets
Do not tell me
Where am I


At the window geraniums
Spoiled heavy by the cape summer
I hear
The creak of the hammock
A pebble
To scatter goldfish

Our garden has gone
Save the rose on the wall
To the colder nights of October
And you
Always for the seat by the stove
I am surprised to see
Your footprints
Melted frost on the grass

I want you
Freckled by sun
Through the cedar’s lowest branch
In the moss cradle of its roots