The Jonestown Trio

“Apocalypse Now (Port Of Call: Jonestown)”

Ryan is Willard
Jones is Kurtz
the camera shows the assassin
his shirt torn and speckled with blood
no more games, friend

Cuba, Brazil, Guyana
obscure swelters
for a spook exiled from faith
playing God

dispatch the one
who had to go
a thousand lives
the void of the vats

a secret
eludes history

bird of prey
dark looks, wounded soul
I want to believe
you believed
a better world could be

in the jungle
Dad touches you
and takes you into
occult waters

the others drink while
you blow him away

one last orgasm for
the cause
Death delivers
power to the people

“Q 875”

in the tapes
they found this tape
planted by a false witness
to tragedy

too awful to bear
without the balm
of conspiracy

a screen door, a pop machine
the sounds of a snack bar
miles from the carnage
and yet
there are voices
performing kabuki
to confound truth

the day after
all the seats were occupied

(Writing about his three Jonestown poems, Stirling Noh says: “Over the years I’ve seen a number of documentaries about Jonestown and Jim Jones. I did a bit of research and I became interested less in the tragedy of Jonestown and more into the weird electricity of Jones and his lifeforce if you could call it that. He seemed to be a guru and a seeker, but what did he seek? What did he find? What did he lose as he took on other seekers in his journey? He was progressive yet dangerous not just to himself but other people. My poems are an attempt to capture that occult spirit. History is full of moments when people look to Great Men or Great Moments, but I prefer to look at undercurrents of dissonance and rogue signals. I don’t believe in conspiracies. I do, however, believe in entropy and slow drifts into evil.”

(These poems by Mr. Noh are from his collection, Black Light, which was published by Atomic Quill Press late last year. The collection is available on Amazon Kindle here. He can be reached at