Cotton onto, or: Caught

A piece of tanka prose

Generally, I’m not one for horror movies but do relish clever plot twists; and that’s precisely what drew me to Director Jordan Peele’s debut movie ‘Get Out’. Its plot is more multifaceted than many other horror movies, for it offers social commentary on and a taste of the lived experience of racism against African Americans, as they are the exclusive victims of the evil forces in the film.

modern day horrors
vast human rights abuses
history happens
civilized may conceal vice
always maintain vigilance

The most stupendous scene in the movie, the brilliance of which floored me, was one in which the main character, bound to an armchair, realized that he could tear cotton out from the armrests and stuff it into his ears to avoid getting hypnotized. This clever idea gracefully furthered the plot, while simultaneously harkening back to the Age of Slavery when African slaves toiled on cotton plantations throughout the Antebellum South.

W3 poetry prompt

This piece of tanka prose was written in response to Sunra Rainz’s W3 poetry prompt, which was to: 1) Write an an ekphrastic poem in response to a horror film that gave you the chills; or: 2) Write about an experience that gave you the chills in any form.

Moonwashed weekly prompt


Let’s write poetry together!

When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.

Ben Harper (b. 1969)

Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!

28 thoughts on “Cotton onto, or: Caught”

  1. It’s my understanding that many more slaves died after living lives of desperation on rice and sugar plantations, estimated numbers wise (for, sans saved/published diaries/journals/ledgers, if kept, who will ever REALLY know the true human costs?) and it always comes to mind, when I, today, am resisting/mad at some ‘advancement in technology’ that is hurting more folks than it’s helping? think of opinions expressed by experts who say – if only, the Cotton Gin hadn’t ever been invented – the cotton plantations/slavery on them might well have died a quiet death and not become the next wave of human suffering/forced labor….sigh –

    1. That’s interesting! I don’t know the numbers, but I do know that the symbolism of cotton in the movie on the part of the African American director was deliberate.

      1. Yes – The entire history of slavery in the ‘new world’ is not a pretty one, the cotton fields, sharecropping, and wages paid for house staff after emancipaion were, to my mind, the most recent in history ones.

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