(The following poem describes what I felt seeing the photos 30 years later. And the memories of Jonestown that came flooding into my present moment.)
Howler monkeys in the night
Plantain, cassava, eddoes, waiting to be planted
Early morning dew
Wooden window open to the cool dampness and smell of the jungle,
Peering out of the swung-open window from the top bunk
The murmur of his voice…I drift off to sleep.
In the dead of night
Sweet jungle…,mmm. Ahhh…… –No.
Up early, boots on, bandana, cutlass,
smell sweat already.
Tiny banana and peanut-butter-and honey sandwich tied to my hip
Love the home made bread more than anything else.
Wish I had more than just one sandwich.
Hard work, proud laborer,
like the movies we saw of Cuba. In my mind I’m singing,
“Cuba que linda es Cuba…..” breathe,
Finally living the dream.
On the back of the truck, riding out to the field, rocking back and forth bobbing through the crater potholes, beautiful jungle all around.
The revolutionary life. Creating community, working.
Dreams of Joe Hill and rebel girl, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn.
Lovers through a common cause, swirling around, dancing in my head.
More dreams still of the Chilean I loved and longed to be with. We had marched around the International Hotel, arm in arm. He was a refugee that visited in San Francisco.
Oh yes! united in the cause of freedom, justice and equality.
Laura and I were translators, we knew Spanish. –A door to the outside world.
Uh-oh, love Not Allowed. He’s not a member. …, besides, “what’s a good dedicated girl like you doing falling in love” –wrong!. ………riding along in the truck, on our way to the fields, swaying and bobbing into the potholes……switch, ….Earth Wind and Fire songs, now going through my head.
“That’s the way, of the world” ….. “Reasons”, …….“Get Away” –Hmmm……
What innocence, what sweetness what and purity, ……What beauty, radiating in my heart,
Standing fully in desire of doing the best …to completely step up and be counted in a most magnificent cause.
Dreams, & hopes, shine through a suspended self, searching, accepting this place where I have been taken. –The space I now occupy.
Life is hopeless out there in the world. I am where I am supposed to be.
Standing ready, …..giving, …..trusting, …..believing
(Jordan Vilchez is a frequent contributor to the jonestown report. A second piece in this edition is Returning to Jonestown. Her complete collection of writings appears here. She can be reached at email@example.com.)