Friday, January 16, 2015


To be seen
was to be judged.
To be heard
was to be judged.
To be silent
was to be judged--

judged for seeming
to withdraw from judging.
Thus silence seemed preferable.

To try to perform any task
was to be judged.
To prefer not to try
was to be judged and
to be forced
to try, then judged.

To conform was to be judged.
Not to conform, the same.

Every so often in this climate
thick with judgment, one
of the judges might throw
some praise your way, grudgingly,
as if it were a bone to a dog.

To read was to be judged but not
effectively, for they knew not what
exactly to judge you for, quite.

Thus reading became a pleasurable,
soft fortress. To write

was to have the written judged.
Worth the risk.

Just to be and to try to fill out
your personhood was to be judged.

They taught you how to judge
yourself: oppression, swallowed
and digested.

The energy they spent on judging
and you spent reacting to and evading
judgment: incalcuable; to be judged
a misappropriation.

hans ostrom 2015

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