100% Cotton

memories of being slaves while reading the label on a t-shirt

100% Cotton


“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  

Descended slaves

Memory dormant in their malnourished flesh

Broken by the knotted whip

Blood noose tattooed necks behind the sun

That betrayed

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



We Us


© Bhi 2023
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critique and comments welcome.
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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

Last edited 1 year ago by Guaj

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” 😉 )

Last edited 1 year ago by Guaj

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!



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.


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.


I agree. Personally the glorification of war is another branch.

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