Scars Of The Past: A Memoir To The Jonestown Massacre

Our Eyes stare no more
They have nothing left to see
There are no more hopes
There are no more dreams
Lives sucked away as quickly as they came to be
Promises, expectations, abilities and accomplishments
All washed away with a few deadly drops
To create such beauty and unity
Only to wither away in vain, due to Your selfish, paranoid yet infallible words
The Massacre of our children, has sealed our fates

The selfish,
The greedy,
The malicious intent of a man not worthy of his influence and power.
Such seduction, such sweet manipulation
The power to have us live your fears, and taste your tears
The power that tainted our vision from the beauty that is rightfully ours
The years we should have had
The gift of possibility
The journey of life
The life that was rightfully ours
The life before the silence
We willed our happiness into existence
Through blood and sweat
Through hardship inspired by hope and love
Through unity and family, we became one

You are our savior Father, the answer to the pain that divides us
You challenge it all, you stand as our salvation
Who says we cannot be equal?
Who says we cannot be one?
Who gives them the right to dominate and dictate our existence?
Your promises spoke against it
Your solution was one of freedom…
Of trust
Of unity
Of family
Of life
A life worth fighting for
A life worth sacrificing for
A life worth dying for

You seemed so righteous, displayed such strength
It was all meant to be
You were the chosen one
Our fearless leader
Our loving Father

So we gave you our existence
We gave you our future
Our loyalty, our dreams
Our youth and our futures
We offered you our souls
Lead us into Your promised land
We give you our trust
Lead us away from pain, into brighter days

Yet…after it all

Silence now settles over the once bustling complex
The silence that reminds us of what was, and shall never again be
The deafening silence invoked by the absence of life
We gave you all we were
We gave you all we had
We gave you our lives
You promised us unity. And here we lie. United in stench and heat
The brighter day you promised came early
It’s heat scorching our bodies as one…
One race
One color
One fate
One message

We have paid the ultimate price for our dream
We have made final sacrifice
We gave it all for freedom
Yet free we are not
And the dream that we bled for died with us that day.

How beautiful you were Father
How beautiful the vision you had for us all
How beautiful the sanctuary you bestowed upon us, Father
How beautifully you deceived us all
How selfishly you betrayed all we stood for, Father
How tragically you executed us all
We laid down our lives
Our final moments poisoned by your words
Your murderous message has been sent

“Those who do not remember the past…. are condemned to repeat it”

Yet as time flows forward, quietly we fade from memory
The lesson learned fading as well
We are the Ghosts of November….
Memories of all that could have been
Remember us…
For we are Scars of the past.

(Max Botha is a musician in South Africa who says that “my girlfriend is the Poet” and that she was the one who asked him to try to write. This poem was originally published on The Experience Project. His article in this year’s edition of the jonestown report is The Pain of Restoring Humanity. He may be reached at