On Girls Lending Pens

By Taylor Mali

I walked into the classroom and straight to my chair,

But when I reached for my pen, it just wasn’t there!

I had no pen! Or crayon! Or pencil!

I was stuck before class without a writing utensil.

I could have asked the teacher (if I had dared,)

But I knew she would have said, “You’re unprepared!”

So to be diplomatic and avoid the fight

I quickly turned to the girl on my right,

Do you possibly have a pen I could borrow?

I’ll use it today and have it back by tomorrow.

“Oh! Furshur! What kind? I’ve got plenty.”

And she turned around with a handful of twenty.

I really don’t care what color or style,

I’ll take the fountain pen, I said with a smile.

“Oh, you don’t want that one. It comes out all ugly.

And it’s made of pure gold,” she said to me smugly.

Then how bout the blue?

“No, that one hops.”

Okay, maybe the green?

“Comes out in glops.”


“I’m afraid it’s having trouble connecting.”


“I’ll need it if we do any in-class correcting.”

Look, I said, my voice filling with fear,

Just gimme a pen before the teacher gets here!

“But this one always comes out in tons,

The yellow one skips and the purple one runs.

When the brown one dries, it looks real icky,

And the orange one’s covered with something sticky.

This one’s for emergencies (in case I get confused)

‘cause it’s clean and it’s fresh and it’s never been used.

I keep this one for quizzes ‘cause it brings good luck,

And the ballpoint’s splotchy and the cap is stuck.

This one’s empty, with the silver band,

And the felt-tip will leak all over your hand.

This one’s cracked, and that’s gone berserk!

And that would be perfect but it doesn’t work.

But here! Take this one! This one’s fine!

Oh wait…I’m sorry, this one’s mine.”

I think she went on but I couldn’t have cared.

I decided it was better to go unprepared.

This poem is essentially about a student (girl or boy unspecified) that has lost his or her pen. After asking a classmate for one, that classmate pulled out many pens, all with their own defects, except for one. Unfortunately, that pen is the one the the student's classmate is using today.
I chose this poem because I liked the comical air of it. Many silly questions arise, like why the heck does a girl need twenty pens, and why are only three of them usable? Eventually the student gets fed up listening to her describe all her pens and their various defects.
The poem does not contain many poetic devices, but rhyming, personification and some subtle hyperbole are present.
The rhyming goes in the rhythm of A, A, B, B and continues until the end, and is quite innovative. Giving personification to almost every pen is a stroke of genius. A pen can't really bring good luck, and 'skipping and running' pens, taken literally, gives a unique effect.
The theme of the poem is to always remember what you need, because when you need to borrow something, you're usually way worse off.