My Pencil

by Chris Cook

The pencil that I nibble on
looks funny with its color gone.
I chewed off every bit of paint;
it once was yellow—now it ain’t.

Its roughness lends a steady grip,
which means my hand will rarely slip.
And such are its distinctive looks
that everybody knows it’s Cook’s.
So if I’ve dropped it carelessly,
it always gets returned to me.

Alas, we’re at that fateful day:
my pencil must be thrown away.
I’ve used it well—there’s just a stub,
a wee eraser-headed nub.

I love it when I buy them new—
when I unwrap a Number 2.
With sharpened point and glossy sheen,
its future’s filled with words unseen.
And then (I feel I must confess),
I sniff its wondrous woodenness.
Is this the pencil I’ll respect–
the one my teeth will not affect?
Can I control this nasty habit?
Perhaps, for once, my teeth won’t grab it.

My pencil had such perfect paint;
it once was yellow…now it ain’t.

  — Chris Cook

Copyright © 2004. All Rights Reserved. From If Kids Ruled the School. Running Press. Reprinted by permission of the author.

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From If Kids Ruled the School

If you’ve ever tried to convince Mom and Dad that the F on your report card stands for “fabulous,” this hilarious collection of school poems is for you! In the tradition of the popular anthology No More Homework! No More Tests!, this book covers wild and wacky school topics, like bringing skunks to show-and-tell, falling asleep at your desk, and ripping your pants on the playground. The big-timers of children’s poetry have converged on the pages of this book to deliver the very best in school poetry. Just ask the hundreds of elementary-school students who helped handpick these poems: Each poem is guaranteed to make you giggle, grin, and/or guffaw!

If Kids Ruled the School contains 50 giggle-inducing poems about school, covering everything from homework and tests to school lunches and detention.

Buy This Book

About the Author

Chris Cook is Spokane’s current Poet Laureate. His first collection of poetry, The View from the Broken Mic, was published in 2012 (Gray Dog Press). Additional work has been published by Sage Hill Press, Scablands Books, and The Spokesman-Review. His children’s poetry has been published by Little, Brown Books, Meadowbrook Press, and Scholastic Press. His latest collection, Damn Good Cookie, was released in 2016 by Korrektiv Press.

Chris competed in the 2013 and 2014 National Poetry Slam, and was the winner of the Limerick Slam at the 2014 Individual World Poetry Slam. He’s also the host of 3 Minute Mic, Auntie’s Bookstore’s poetry open mic, and he co-hosts Broken Mic, Spokane’s longest-running poetry open mic.

When not writing, Chris plays trumpet in the Spokane Symphony and teaches music at Gonzaga University. He has toured the U.S. and Europe as a professional yo-yo demonstrator, and was once a nationally ranked foosball player.

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