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Marbled Composition Notebooks by Richard Fein
published in Volume 9, Issue 2 on April 15th, 2002

Islands of white dot the two black hard covers.
Hardness, marbling, permanence.
Lasting words deserve being chiseled in marble,
the psalm of David, the to-be-or-not-to-be of the Bard, Lincoln's timeless address,
would fit well on the heavy-thread-bound paper within.
Schoolchildren are wrongly assigned these notebooks,
for the pages are unforgiving of error.
These pages must be ripped from the binding,,
with the remaining scraps bookmarks
for every repented word, sentence, paragraph, or page.
Only certainties should be inscribed in such notebooks.

A looseleaf is more relaxed.
Its pages are already mutilated with trinities of holes.
On each page something new can be scribbled,
then with a click of the three metal rings
each page can be shuffled among previous pages.
Regretted sheets are slipped off from the rings leaving no trace.

Don't choose one over the other. Both books are needed.
First in a barely legible script, jot down all rambling
and slide the papers into the looseleaf.
Be patient. Add some sheets. Remove even more. Be patient.
Finally, carefully copy a few lines
from the precariously connected looseleaf papers,
a lifetime's distillation,
into the tightly threaded pages between the composition covers.
If the marbled musings are then thrown into the winds,
the few leaves they're inscribed on will not scatter.

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