The Purpling

a poem by Nick Montfort

If you could read it all, that would be one way. But then, if you could avoid reading it entirely, that would also be one way. A character in a novel manages through tremendous discipline not to read: Try to forget the name of the novel and the extent of the fiction, or of the discipline, becomes evident. So much of what is bad about me is forgettable. Still, I can't choose to inhale select particles and leave the rest hovering there. I can only keep breathing or not — even that isn't really a choice. A similar principle applies to the ocean and swimming, the things you might see and the gaze, whether or not some animal product incidentally touches you while strolling through the food court. It's not as if you can be an omnipotent deity or drive your car down every Western street, but it is at least possible to look and eat thoroughly: Eat everything on your plate, look at everything on your plate. Doing such is one item on my checklist, one that, when checked off, satisfies both me and my checklist.