Monday, June 28, 2010

A Bundle of Sticks by Jim Mancinelli

Prior to Plan B Press publishing Jim Mancinelli's chapbook IN DEEP in 2004, he had self-published one chapbook; Primer , and 2 broadsides. Both of his broadsides were particularly political. One was entitled "A Bundle of Sticks". It was published by Squirrel Baby Press in 2002.

A Bundle of Sticks deals with the homophobic period of time as the new Republican regime took over the nation with George Bush, the younger, established as President and Congress held by Republicans in both houses. The right wing regime was now in place and with the post 9*11 patriotic hysteria rampant across the country, those who sought equality for minorities, however that word is defined, were being marginalized and silenced. In this atmosphere leading up to the invasion of Iraq, Mancinelli fumed about the treatment of gays across America and how little attention was given to their brutalization by their "fellow citizens". (recall if you will, the name Matthew Shepard)

This led to the vomiting of that outrage on paper, to the creation of this broadside. Starting with Walt Whitman's "hearing America sing", the song that Mancinelli hears is hate-filled and venomous. It echoes another time in another country (Germany from 1933). It is not the land that Jim Mancinelli grew up in; it is not a land of love and tolerance but one that recoils from its own hideous shadow. A nation that kills what it does not understand. A nation seething in self-loathing.

In the midst of the new wave of "the culture wars" being waged in America over gay rights - still, to this day - this broadside is an important reminder that the era of turning the other cheek has not secured the rights that people who dare to love their "fellow man" (or fellow women), are deemed unnatural by those who can not maintain their own monogamous married states (consider how many of the leading Conservative blowhards in the US have been divorced - more than once!!!)

This is an important statement being made, a must read.

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