Terror in Jonestown

As the blue moon rises over the Jonestown compound
Lethal lies
Of an unholy priesthood
Oscillate, ricochet, backwards, forward
He has eyes like war

Two women pass out cups of cyanide-flavored Flavour-Aide
I panic, I know what’s next
My hands tremble with fear
I cannot soothe my terror-ridden mind

Death cries from the bitter jungle
I clench my teeth
My knees turn to rubber
Beyond hope that words can cure his deadly mind

I plead to God, “Send an Angel to save me”
From the perverse pleasures of a madman
A thousand screams
Seeking redemption

Survival pulse
From humid heartbeats
I slide out of the dark
Into a desperate search for tomorrow

(Author’s note: This is a Cento Poem derived from the work of Teri Buford O’Shea in her book Jonestown Lullaby. A Cento Poem is a Found Poem that patches together one line of someone else’s poem to another line of another poem in sequence to make a new poem. I changed some verb tenses to make them consistent, inserted the word “He” in line 5 and the word “cannot” in line 9.)

(Editor’s note: Linda Kime became fascinated with Jonestown when she heard Leslie Wagner-Wilson speak at the Mensa Annual Gathering in Phoenix in 2019. Linda lives in L.A. and writes screenplays, children’s books and speeches for Toastmasters. Her other contribution to this site is The Jonestown Odes. She can be reached at timeforarticles@yahoo.com.)