Notebooks within notebooks
Of all the books I buy
other scribes have written in.
Beside what authors spoke forever
with, that black ink which
makes the age what it is,
an earnest stranger, and another,
has foreseen the value of sidenotes.
One says, on De Quincey, “Did he
know about heroin?” Another note
asks, “Did this boy ever work?”
Young simpletons living joyously
in every corner of America wrote
legacies on wet sidewalks like
“I was here,” and so they were
if my books are worth judging by.