Slice of Life Story Challenge March 25 -Initials On A Pencil Case

I have spent quite some time thinking about the mammoth pencil cases students carry throughout the school day.  It has inspired the following poem.

I have used the narrative conversational style employed so effectively by two of my favourite poets, Michael Rosen and Roger McGough. I wanted to create a  possible conversation between two students over some words scribbled on a pencil case.

These are my raw words, lifted straight from my current notebook. I shared them last week with the young Adelaide poets with whom I worked. I was road testing the words I guess. I was seeking their reaction. I am still reworking them. The words need to be polished and refined. I will add and subtract. The more I read these words aloud, the more likely I am to create words that flow easily. I don’t want them to feel like lumpy custard as they move over my tongue.

Initials On A Pencil Case

What’s that on your pencil case?
Right there in the corner
In tiny letters
Does it really say I ‘heart’ JB
Does it really?
Why does it say, I ‘heart’ JB?
I really can’t believe you would write that

It’s not what you think
It’s not what you think
It’s something else
Really it is…

Oh sure it is
I ‘heart’ JB –why would you write that
Where everyone could see it?

It’s about someone else

Someone else?

Julietta Brocklesbee

Who is Julietta Brocklesbee?

A girl

Thanks for the clue, but who is she?

She’s a singer in a band

What band?

The Fishsticks

Julietta Brocklesbee is a singer in a band called The Fishsticks
Never heard of them

They are a new band
A very good band
My favourite new band if you must know

You know what?


You need to get a new pencil case
You need to get a new pencil case, really quickly
It’s either that or die of shame


  1. :) It's funny what kids think is private and secret to them. Of course everyone would see that and think the "other" JB!

  2. Love the repetition, Alan, and the way that you have captured conversation. Also love the image of words like lumpy custard on a tongue. Definitely inspires a writer to smooth it out!

  3. I can imagine the young pets listening, and shaking heads in agreement at the end...

  4. oops! young poets!!!


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