By Harriet Gandy 

To form an opinion or estimation after careful consideration,


we judge

Something that has always been described    as innate,         instinctive,       involuntary


So when has it become something that we trust to tell us      the truth

When has it become anything less than a brutal fuse

that instructs us not to prove a thing              When should the alarm start ringing because


he’s wearing a long beard and got holes in his socks

because he’s wearing Nike trainers and a hooded top

because she’s wearing white skin and fish net tights

because she’s wearing no make up she just might

be happy          to walk free from those glances that attract attention causing you to believe that Suzie      must be


a lesbian


Suzie grew up learning a lot from her father

to be polite, honest

and rather careful with the money that he gave her


but in this surrounding that was hell bent on dealing in nothing but change forced her to believe that she would never be named with another man’s title

never to choose a career like other girls might do

never be christening a son in rags in the church

never be able to lurch forward out from this place which encased her in this nightmare of


string and wool


Suzie wasn’t told by her mother or her sister the ways in which to attract a mate

how to discard of a disposable income

how to transform this face from the ordinary to a new one


She wasn’t told of the judgment that would be thrust upon her

Of how she would feel when those names                 lingered as they dripped down her back


into the cracks of her palms



So she began to wear a new suit of armour

one that was brightly coloured

and full of plastic charm

it gave them a reason to smile and jeer                       something that appeared so truthful and sincere

that she tricked them into believing  that this is what she wanted,

this is what she what she strived for

but she wasn’t sure of how this choice had been made

how she had become so afraid to show her pale face

that was now only a vague space

of who she was

and who she was meant to be

and as she disarmed herself of the books and the pens that she carried so often

replacing her own set of hopes and dreams

that one day Suzie would become a Beauty Queen.