Every single one of these people had a navel and a name. They occupied space and time, somebody's and eventually their own. A fact that is so simple it's almost unremarkable except that I think its plain-ness makes it remarkable. A navel and a name. Today, marks the anniversary of their end in 1978. The [...]
In early 1979, when Eugene Smith returned “back to the world” from the Guyanese jungle, my father had made his return “back to the world” more than a decade before, following his completion of a tour in the Vietnamese jungle. When he first returned, my dad was a 22-year-old husband and father of one – like Smith upon his return. Smith’s wife and one child, however, were not waiting for him, nor were they with him; along with Smith’s mother, they had died in the jungle with over 900 other members of Peoples Temple.
I'll be reading poems from Marrow, my manuscript about the Peoples Temple, a congregation of Americans who emigrated to Jonestown Guyana and were coerced into suicide by their spiritual leader.