The Jonestown Trio – Volume II

(The first three poems of Stirling Noh’s Jonestown collection appear here. He can be reached at


a young man
searching for himself
writes a song to welcome
the people to the temple

children raise their voices
and stir the hearts of those
who believe they have found
a home

but far away a muggy void looms
to drown the innocent chorus
in the shrieks of mothers
forced to say goodbye



hiding in the jungle
you steal your life from a thief
busy stealing many more
a shot in the dark
finishes the robbery
reveal yourself to the empty afterglow
scramble to find the key
to your cage

now fly back to the prison
you escaped not long ago


Tourist Trap

nature clawed back all it could
but the ghosts lie in wait
to haunt the tourists who would come
to revel in what came to be
not the beauty that might have been
if the betrayed had been left to tend the land
they claimed from the jungle

the thrills of macabre imagination
leave a bitter taste
in the muted mouth of dignity