Lay Down with Jonestown (Song/Poem)

Lay Down with Jonestown

Lay Down with Jonestown

Wicked wyvern's winding tongue
With honeysuckle dreams waiting to be won
Red and ripe on the vine with tangled roots
Wrapped 'round my fragile spine gaining control

And once again I'm falling
Once again I'm drinking air
Swallow down the poison
To survive wouldn't be fair
Lay down with Jonestown
Lay down for your own good

Labyrinthine mind collapses
Under the weight of a thousand marching feet
War for ages in the halls of madness
Pouring out into this mortality

Rise with spears ready for the stabbing
Blades sharpened, wit dulled by war
Blood spilled for reasons I've forgotten
Lust gone before your body hits the floor

Dig down into the boards beneath her
Heart beating but the breath has left these lungs
Echoed in the hollow void of soil
I called to her but she would not come

And once again I'm falling
Once again I'm drinking air
Swallow down the poison
To survive wouldn't be fair

I'll pry the scales off my skin if it kills me
Cut the vines that corrode away my soul
Set fire to the woods that haunt me
I won't be tied to this world anymore

Meet euphoria at the corner of madness & defeat
Subducted beneath the lapping waves of a hungry sea
I'd bury the way she smiled and hold it so fucking dear
I'd put a name to the image in my mind's eye

And once again I'm falling
Once again I'm drinking air
Swallow down the poison
You can't abandon your family

Lay down with Jonestown
Lay down for your own good
Lay down with Jonestown
And take your children with you

Author's Note

This poem is a sort of stream of consciousness in that it began with the words wicked wyvern and just flowed out of my brain from there. Initially I had no intention of it being about Jonestown. The chorus/refrain was originally about that moment when you wake up in a panic and take that deep breath, perhaps you're late for something or have awoken from a startling or strange dream.

There is that cacophony, that sudden explosion of awareness, panic, you're drinking in a deep breath of air.

Once I added the Jonestown bit to the end of the chorus the rest of the pieces fell into place.

Laying there, looking at your children, your spouse, your lover, your friends, as you commit mass suicide. Drinking in those last breath fulls of air. Suddenly Jones isn't a heroic leader, he's a wyvern spinning lies, dreams that are unattainable, that tangle you and your family. Suddenly you can't remember your loved ones, or why you were at war with the system.

An eternity, ages, seem to pass in your mind, yet they spill out into the mortality of the real world, of the fact that you are dying. You try to call out, you try to believe you can cut the vines and shed the false skin you were given but it's too late.

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Comments 4 comments

Say Yes To Life profile image

Say Yes To Life 6 months ago from Big Island of Hawaii

The Jonestown massacre strikes a major nerve with me. Jim Jones, the cult founder, did a lot of work in my neck of the woods; he established People's Temple in San Francisco. The mass suicide occurred when I came home for Thanksgiving my freshman year in college. For weeks, that's all you heard on the news, and a bunch of people at my church were totally freaked.

Are you aware he did a lot of work with African Americans? He was even given the Martin Luther King award in January 1977, less than 2 years before the mass suicide. I read in a book about cults one young black man who was lucky enough to escape into the jungle; his only regret is that things didn't work out. He couldn't return to the US, because Jim Jones had saved him from a life of crime.

The disenfranchised, and people from dysfunctional homes, are especially attracted to cults. We need to get the word out there!


Misfit Chick profile image

Misfit Chick 6 months ago from Seattle, WA - USA - The WORLD

Thanks for the powerful expression of awakening. This verse really put everything in a nutshell for me:

I'll pry the scales off my skin if it kills me

Cut the vines that corrode away my soul

Set fire to the woods that haunt me

I won't be tied to this world anymore

Powerful and enabling at the same time. :)


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 6 months ago from back in the lab again Author

@Say Yes To Life,

Jones was a public figure with a lot of support who took advantage of a lot of people. I wonder how many of them went to their graves absolutely sure of their superstition that they would awaken in paradise and how many, in those last moments, woke up to the reality that they were conned, but it was too late.

"The disenfranchised, and people from dysfunctional homes, are especially attracted to cults. We need to get the word out there!"

I agree, we need to speak more on scams and cults and how easily people can be seduced. Prisoners are another group that are very susceptible to religious indoctrination and cults as well as the elderly who often end up sending away their money to televaneglism scams.


Aroosa Hermosa profile image

Aroosa Hermosa 6 months ago from Islamabad, Pakistan

Got deep sensation :)

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