memories of being slaves while reading the label on a t-shirt
“Made in Vietnam”
“Assembled in India”
“Country of Origin – Mexico”
Indentured rising in these t’s and shirts
Tortured hands picking the cotton balls
Separating the strands
The pull of muscle the ache down from
Memory dormant in their malnourished flesh
Broken by the knotted whip
Blood noose tattooed necks behind the sun
Shadows within shadows
The faces of the first chained and bartered
My DNA remembers all
But we will not be like our ancestors
Our language buried
Songs broken in the wind of a new tongue
Now breaking free riding the solar rifts
The whisper of the universe
Runs through our children
The future humming into the rhythm of the present
We are 100% pure
I hope this is written with a nod to the BLM movement
It still it has a long way to go I think until humanity throw off the chains of not just race but culture and religion and can truly speak the final words of your poem
We are us We are WE
But I think not in my lifetime sadly
Hi G, while i take the starting point as cotton, this is not just about BLM, at all the lives that have subjected, black, brown, yellow, and white. There seems to be a code, about uniqueness and entitlement, which gets enforced as people grow and thIt is ey do not see, want to see, that we are all the same beneath the thin veneer of our society, religion, culture and colour. It is sad.
I think it’s the herd instinct to some extent. It bothers me that at a time when there are places where everybody have the same rights you still notice Afros tend to gravitate to Afros , Asians to Asians, and Slavs to Slavs etc. etc. I think it will take many generations for this tendency to fade (if ever) I am so sad to say.
(Congrats on the “gold” 😉 )
Well done Bhi. And yes, I am complicit, just as much as those who profited off of the slave trade; inasmuch as I continue to buy to save my pocket, or for convenience. Time to wake up methinks!
D, it’s the lack of awareness of what is behind what is dangled in front of us; we all want a bargain, and despite all the IT and the automation there are still human beings who are no more than slaves.
An extremely imaginative take on re-memory. People forget the blood and the sweat that has gone into the production of these simple items of clothing, and as you so pithily state, the history of the hands and the bodies who were forced into slavery.
PIlgermann, this was a poem which has been simmering for a while and was released by a documentary on the making of t-shirts.
I like the angle you have taken to present what I prefer to call Genetic Memory. Dependant on your belief system you might even think of calling it ‘oneness syndrome’. Whatever, a fine prompt to make the reader think about a subject that never seems to go away – from the viewpoint that slavery is another of Man’s inhumanity to Man traits that manifests in so many ways.
It’s almost as if there is a special branch of evolution which drives this “memory” and makes it part of the DNA. But there is also the historical discourse which needs to be contended with, digested and spat out so that there can be another perspective to that history.
I agree. Personally the glorification of war is another branch.