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† based on Emmy Meli's “I Am Woman” #as palimpsest let me|myself be “woman” let me be “fearless” let me be “sexy” let me be “divine” know—myself— † woman fearless sexy divine
The poem starts off with a comment, denoted by the † dagger symbol. The comment provides a source of inspiration for the poem: this electric song about containing multitudes and being your whole self.
† based on Emmy Meli's “I Am Woman”
The next line, #as palimpsest, is a directive that activates the palimpsest feature. The feature of directives is borrowed from C/C++, where the programmer can tell the preprocessor how to interpret the following program. Here, they’re used to customise the way the compiler can interact with you. A palimpsest is a piece of writing material that displays new writing layered on top of older, faded writing. The concept is adapted here to imagine if variables could retain their written history. With the palimpsest feature, redefining a variable doesn’t overwrite the existing value, but adds to it.
First, a variable called me|myself (which can later be referred to with either me or myself) is defined as “woman”.
let me|myself be “woman”
Then, the variable is redefined with three new variables, but the values are added to the variable’s history instead of rewriting the existing value.
let me be “fearless” let me be “sexy” let me be “divine”
This is made clear with the final line, where the know function, as an alias to the print function, is used to print the value of the variable. Instead of just printing the last value, “divine”, it prints all four values throughout the variable’s history.
know—myself— † woman fearless sexy divine