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The Mammary Chronicles: Bearing Breasts Tour

January 15, 2013

Committed to using whatever talents they have “to help create a world free of breast cancer and full of rad poetry,” Deanne Brown and Raundi Moore-Kondo have published The Mammary Chronicles: The Hills are Alive,  a bodacious little book of poetry, prose and art all about breasts.

This reflection by poet and friend Raundi Moore-Kondo was originally slated for December, the weekend following the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, to be exact. As we all faced that, it seemed perverse to place this post–of celebration on the one hand, but sorrow and healing on the other. At the time, I thought it was glib and inappropriate. But I regret withholding it, as both the women in the article are mothers–I know their children–and, as what they are doing, I believe, is central to the ending the proliferation of violence in this overly-aggressive culture. The healthy understanding of humanness–our bodies, and our vulnerable, incomparable minds–and the healthy expression of  physical and mental states is essential to avoiding the explosion of repressed psychological pain expressed in such events as at the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. I fear the more we let ourselves slip into such repression, the more we pave the path of violence. — JJW

It’s hard to say when The Mammary Chronicles was first conceived. Some believe it was in utero when future blogger Deanne Brown and I retained the tails of

our X chromosomes and began developing the stuff it takes to bear breasts. Or perhaps it was when, unbeknownst to each other, we were simultaneously buying our first training bras.

It might have been thirty years later when we first met and formed a rock band.  It just as likely could have been in November of 2010 when Deanne was

Raundi Moore-Kondo

Raundi Moore-Kondo

diagnosed with breast cancer, or a month later when I wrote The Hills Are Alive as an ode to breasts and Deanne before she had her mastectomy.

It is impossible to say for certain, but two years ago when I sat at Deanne’s bedside watching her recover from her first chemotherapy treatment, I wondered how she would ever get past this. Having lost my own mother to cancer, I was completely terrified and could not understand what purpose something so horrific could possibly serve. It was going to be one hell of a battle, and nothing would ever be the same again—but I knew if anyone could prevail it would be Deanne “The Yes Mom” Brown.

Deanne is now two years cancer free and just completed the 3-day, 60-mile walk for Susan G. Komen.  To raise funds for the walk and public awareness, we published and starting touring for The Mammary Chronicles.

January 19tth– Saturday Afternoon Poetry, 3-5pm Hosted by Don “The King of Poetry” Kingfisher

http://saturdayafternoonpoetry.blogspot.com/

February 4th – Club House 7, Laguna Woods  6-9pm

February 23rd – Friends Café, 8pm – 425 S. Myrtle, Monrovia – Hosted by MOMS WRITE featuring Laura Henneforth, Angela Moore, Jennifer Morford

http://www.meetup.com/Moms-Write-Southern-California

Acoustic Set by MOTHER FUNCTION – www.motherfunctiontheban.wix.com/motherfunction

Dedicated to the celebration and preservation of breasts, the women who have survived them, and in honor of those who haven’t. With five tour stops under our bras, paintings have been created, cakes have been baked and poems have been written. Nearly everyone we meet has a story about breast cancer they are desperate to share. The Mammary Chronicles will continue to exist to provide those who need it a place to express themselves with the depth and breadth that only a piece of art can convey.

Even though we wish we had never heard of the word cancer, we both agree that we have grown exponentially from the experience. We are not the sameBreast art women we were two years ago. Writing, creating and performing together has become part of the healing process and the organic icing on the macrobiotic cake.

Our mission is to get others talking, writing, creating and healing. This tour wouldn’t have been possible when Deanne and I were buying our training bras because back then the term “breast” was considered a “bad word.” Thanks to brave women like Betty Ford and Susan G. Komen, you can say “breast” just about anywhere you please.

Today you can sing about them, at the top of your lungs, in the middle of a Barnes & Noble without being asked to leave. Newscasters can casually joke about them on the 5 o’clock news and pastors can openly pray for them on Sunday morning. And thank God because if you want to solve a problem you have to be ableSave the tatas to talk openly about it. Then if you can somehow rise up and turn your biggest problem into something beautiful and larger than yourself, it can make the pain and loss almost seem worthwhile.  Ladies and gentlemen, that is when the real healing begins.

We all hope to see a cure for this disease one day, but instead of waiting around Deanne and I advise that we all strive to create our own unique cocktail for a cure. We believe that the healing powers of art, music, and love must never be underestimated and should be an essential part of everyone’s long-term treatment plan.

An Excerpt from “The Hills are Alive”:

There are hills.

And then, there are HILLS.

Sometimes, it’s a benign bump.

Other times, it’s a rocky hot mountain climb,

but there is always an exquisite pink climax,

and a lofty downside.

Part joy and part grief,

opposite and attractive,

a perpetual random act of kindness

to the oglers, the fashion designers,

and the really tight huggers.

The mere sight of one

has been scientifically proven

to lengthen a man’s life.

Yet, somewhere between bumblebee sting

and asymmetrical standing ovation,

it stopped being okay to go topless,

in a wading pool,

in my own backyard.

The larger they grew,

the more infrequent and indecent

their exposures became.

I quickly learned that after giving up 2nd base,

the focus would always be home plate.

Just another embarrassing stain,

my mother said wouldn’t

come out in the delicate-cycle.

Contact Raundi and Deanne at http://www.theloveofwords.com and facebook.com/theloveofwords.

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