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Storyville in Willits

Storyville in Willits

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Published by Robin Rule
leaving for hospital for biopsy, dan and i play dress up new orleans bordello right out of Pretty Baby to immortalize my beautiful breasts (sob). Dress in antique kimono, exquisite pearls, happy-sad, if only...
leaving for hospital for biopsy, dan and i play dress up new orleans bordello right out of Pretty Baby to immortalize my beautiful breasts (sob). Dress in antique kimono, exquisite pearls, happy-sad, if only...

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Published by: Robin Rule on Jul 01, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/11/2011

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June 28Storyville in Willits
(Storyville is a town in Loiusiana, near or maybe even in New Orleans. It was famous as the town wherethe high class bordellos were in the 1920s and Dan and I made a small corner of our bedroom look like thatfor a photo shoot.)
I can’t sleep. It’s 2:30 a.m. In a matter of hours, we will get in the truck anddrive to Santa Rosa for The Biopsy. We live so far away, I am sure, they aregoing to say…I don’t know what they are going to say. I am scared. Thistime it’s so real, I can barely breath. I remember that’s what I’m supposed todo. Breathe. Robin. Breathe. I freak.Dan wakes up at 3 a.m. I say,” You promised to take photographs, youtraitor, what are you going to do NOW?” (He worked as a photographer forthe County of Los Angeles in his youth. I trust him. He has taken remarkablephotos of a rather plain woman before. I had let him sleep that extra half hour, because safety over vanity…)He gets the camera. He becomes ruthless. Tells me to unbutton my whitecotton Victorian nightgown half way down and put on my pale yellow andamber kimono all fringed and velvet mixed with see through rubbed velvetover the nightgown. I have on my big pearls already from the night beforego-out-to-dinner w/ grown/sons. The pearls are as big as Italian half liras:pink, silver, and gold pearls with small gold carved beadsthe size of baby clothes snapsIn between each pearl like a rosary to pray byand my hair, I stand in frontof the mirror, brushing three feet of,the color of old blood mixed with old silverware.I stand here as a relatively young womanknowing it has been suggested I mighthave breast cancer. I began dyingthe moment I heard those words.I am dramatic. I am Madame Butterfly.
 
I am dying of a broken heart.
Can it get any more dramatic than that 
And yet, as I pull my hair into one long braid,bringing it to the side of my face,he has me stand by the old lampwith a Victorian scarf over the modern shade to dim the light more. It is so E.J. Bellocq,Daniel has become a different personaand it was so easy for him to fall into the role.He’s a man. I’m a woman younger than heand we both like flowing, fringy clothing.Sensuous. I am so wasted from no sleep, at first my face looks hard and thensoftens by the sheer lack of sleep. He indicates with a finger to open mynightgown, expose the breast we fear will be coming off.The lamp is making darkness instead of light.But he promised;and I am almost sobbing. O drama queen. But I think about no memory of my breasts in the Now-ness of this time (not that I don’t have photographs of my own naked body over a twenty year period & I, the poetic historian,almost panics. I want my breasts photographed NOW!)I may never see this darling little breast again. What if they say,
 Au revoir,
say,
a tout alors
,” and in front of Dan just like in front of the doctor, I burstinto tears, but this time inarticulate, quiet animal sounds and I cry more andthen all of a sudden, shut down, down down into a cave of despair.Daniel quietly says,
 Mimi
 just once…Only those who love me without exception, call me
 Mimi.
My oldest son started it when he was eleven months old.And then I stop. There are no more tears, noise, thunder.I like my breast. How could it betray me like this and so I weep like Jacob’sWell, like the Rock of Eternal Waters and wish , pray that I couldbe healthy, be a woman leading goats and sheep to the well to drink thewater of ever-lasting light. O! dear G-d let me be healthy and a Proverbs 31wife, who dyes her cloth red linen and puts away so much food & blankets, Iam not afraid of snow for my family. Give me healthy children who might

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Shyam Adrift added this note
beautiful, this proves how tender love can be between man & wife!
Sal Page added this note
Robin-- Make this your obsession. You'll probably live to be 100, but this is the writing of forever.
Blue Fern Press added this note
Robin, I wish I could rate this five stars times three. it's beautiful, incredibly beautiful, not a journal entry kind of beautiful, a literary, poetic, masterful kind of beautiful, a brillliant poet's kind of beautiful.

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