Inbreak resident Young-Ly Hong Chandra created this stunning spoken word piece as part of her residency project "Let's (He)Art". She performed the piece at an open mic hosted by Beloved Everybody. As she performed the piece she cut pieces of a t-shirt, represented by the phrase "cut" in parentheses throughout the written piece below.
“This is my body, given for you.”
This yellow striped t-shirts were one of my favorite
until it’s got shrunk in the drier.
-Made in Bangladesh, 8000 miles away…
590 gallons of water spent to make it,
traveled through mountains and oceans,
cities and countries. storages and store front…
How many hands have been shaping me,
Like any t-shirts seemingly ordinary..nothing special,
Though..we all have a story to tell where we are from,
where we’re at, and more to be told.
This is my tongue, given for you.
This is my second tongue, English I’m speaking,
My first tongue is Korean, my mother tongue and my ‘mother’s tongue’.
Ah, and my father’s tongue also.
He became an war orphan when his country was divided into North and South,
Never again he could see his mom and dad, nor his alive sisters in North since he was 8,
Indonesian is my third tongue, this is my husband’s mother tongue.
His mother’s tongue was Mandarin as she was born of a Chinese immigrant in East Java.
My children’s tongues are mixed… English is their first tongue, not mother tongue , Korean is their mother’s tongue and Indonesian, their father’s tongue. Their tongue sometimes tangled in between.
Long gone genius author, artist and poet Teressa Hakkyung Cha, moved to America from Korea with her family when she was 10. She named her experience as growing up as an immigrant kid ‘Linguistic Exile’.
Separation, segregation, suffering, sacrifice, silence…
In March 2021, in Atlanta murder case, 6 out of 8 victims were Asian women.
Hate crime was another virus during Covid Pandemic, rising high and risking all of our lives.
When my bone and flesh in deep pain, My tongue was numb, I found no word… in solitude
then I began to cut papers and garments to express my lament ( more cuts…)
This is my body,
My yellow body, (cut)
My yellow middle aged woman’s body,(cut)
A nomadic Immigrant’s body (cut)
“ What is your body?
“ What is your tongue?”
“What memories and emotions do your body and tongue hold?
“ Do you see other’s different body?”
“ Do you hear other’s tongue?” (cut)
While lamenting, through cuts in solitude,
I found paths to healing.
Overlapped, layered and connected in conjunction,
In community and in communion,
through open cuts
Shared pain and sorrow bare whiteness of Beauty out of ashes
My wounded healer lead me to the way.
“This is my body broken for you. Go and do this in remembrance.”