I am an educator in my life, other than speaking and writing about Peoples Temple and being a Jonestown Survivor.

In one of my recent classes, my good friend Mel Takahara came and presented a few form of poetry to my students. He introduced a Tanka. A Tanka is a 31-syllable, 5-line poem, with syllables 5-7-5-7-7. My students have had very tough lives with some of them homeless, some in and out of foster homes during their whole lives, and many other painful and difficult life experiences. They wrote amazing Tankas, which my friend will publish for them.

Here are some of the Tankas I wrote:

Trust is what I need
I can not live without it
Live up to your word
Friendly and warm isn’t enough
There’s no friendship without trust

Your life defines you
Actions are everything
Words are meaningless
How are you going to act?
That will tell me who you are

It takes a village
To love and raise our children
Where are the villagers?
We are not doing our jobs
Our children need parenting

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