What is home to colonized bodies?
By Cecelia Jordan
What is home to colonized bodies ?
My tongue removed from the language of my ancestors ?
I cannot say I love you in words they might understand
My prayers are speechless
Which comes first the word or the feeling ?
And if the word does not exist in English can I have the feeling ?
Can the body know something the mind can’t express ?
Learning a language and culture goes beyond vocabulary
We cultivate relationships
Grow in community
Name silenced sentiments
Reclaim untold stories
Break borders and boundaries
La dignidad no tiene fronteras
Y la empatía no debe tener reglas
I learn home is between us
We build at the speed of confianza
As a child, like many southern children
I am taught the story of the Tower of Babel
Told God created language so the people could not reach Heaven
Perhaps the elders missed the lesson ?
Language is not a barrier, but an invitation to split and mend tongues
To address and right wrongs
For my empathy to extend beyond my block, my zip code, my nation state
To condemn all forms of hatred and every -ism
When I first learn the word jeong I think wow a feeling that might save us
The conocimiento that arises in my body when allowed to name feelings
This tongue ain’t got no language to deconstruct
Make no mistake this is always about deconstructing unforming renaming creating Imagining a constant cycle
I am trying to learn liberation
We are all trying to learn liberation
Move with intuition
Our spaces must smell like the freedom of our favorite incense
Taste like pre-NAFTA corn and pre-colonized bananas
Sound like hymns sung in resistance
Walls painted with pictures hopes dreams our stories graffitied acoss hallways
Our spaces must be life-giving
So we may be
If we feel the jeong between you me and the trees
And the singing of the cicadas and the soundless sight of the butterflies’ wings
Perhaps we can develop a language beyond words ?
For too long the powerful painted policies to demolish all of our emotions
Cut tongues and silence survivors
Yet literacy lives in us
It is a human right
To live in connection
The only home we’ll ever know is the safety we build between us
This is home
As the seas rise
Cemeteries undug to build new condos
We are being displaced everywhere
And we are raising future generations who must be able to reimagine compassion
No somos uno
No somos cien
Cogito ergo sum
Je pense, donc je suis
I am not free unless we are all free
Education should awaken the jeong between all that breathes
UC Berkeley Slam Team – “Which is to Say” @WANPOETRY (CUPSI 2019)
2017 – Brave New Voices – Grand Slam Finals – Bay Area “N-400 (an erasure)”