"Psalm of Slumber - a transcription"

Psalms For The Spiritually DeadThe eleventh and last song on "Psalms for the Spiritually Dead" leaves me speechless. The "lyrics" of "Psalm of Slumber" are authentic tape excerpts from the so called “Jonestown death tapes”, a 45 minute audio recording of Reverend Jim Jones giving his last fateful sermon, while people are dying around him in a mass suicide or perhaps more correctly, in a murder-suicide. On November 18th 1978 over 900 people (men, women and children) died in "Jonestown", Gyuana. This horrible event is well covered elsewhere so I will not go further into this here. However, I can't let go of the song. Zebulon Whatley made the selection of tape excerpts for the song, the editing and the music. The content of the tape excerpts in the song is an illustration of a man who exercises absolute power over "his" people. The people have transferred all power over their own lives to him. The sermon is slurry and sometimes inaudible. It would be almost impossible to make a transcription of the excerpts on "Psalm of Slumber" without the full transcription of the “Jonestown death tapes”, which is available here. Here is the complete transcription of "Psalm of Slumber": 

No more, no more, no more
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it's just not worth living like this ... not worth living like this
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it's gonna be a catastrophe
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...take our life from us, we laid it down, we got tired.
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I can't live that way. I cannot live that way. I've lived for all and I've died for all. ...
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We've been so betrayed, we have been so terribly betrayed
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All they're doing is taking a drink, that takes, to go to sleep... That's what death is, sleep ... I know, but I'm tired of it all
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we are done in as far as any other alternative
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Can some people assure these children of the relaxation of stepping over to the next plane? 
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I've been living on a hope for a long time
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Well, someday we're gonna die, someplace that hope runs out. 'cause everybody dies. I haven't seen anybody yet that didn't die. And I'd like to choose my own kind of death for a change. I'm tired of being tormented to hell, that's what I'm tired of.
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I have never, never, never, never seen anything like this before in my life.
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But to me death is not ... death is not a fearful thing, it's living that's treacherous...
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and we are sitting here waiting on a powder keg. I don't think it is what we want to do with our babies. I don't think that's what we had in mind to do with our babies. It was said by the greatest of prophets, from time immemorial, "No man takes my life from me, I lay my life down."
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So my opinion is that we be kind to children and be kind to seniors and take the potion like they used to take in ancient Greece, and step over quietly because we are not committing suicide. It's a revolutionary act. We can't go back. They won't leave us alone. They're now going back to tell more lies which means more congressmen. And there's no way, no way we can survive.
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Tired of people's lives in my hands and I certainly don't want your life in my hands and I'm going to tell you, without me, life has no meaning. ... I'm the best friend you'll ever have.
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Well, you will regret that this very day if you don't die. You'll regret it if you don't ... that you don't die. You'll regret it.
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Paul said, "I was a man born out of due season." I've been born out of due season just like all we are and the best testimony we can make is to leave this God-damn world. ...
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... what I do, I do with weight and justice and judgment
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... please get us some medication. It's simple, it's simple, there's no convulsions with it, it's just simple, just please get it before it's too late. The GDF [Guyanese Defense Force, my remark] will be here. I tell you get moving, get moving, get moving ...
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... how many are dead? Oh, God almighty, God almighty ...
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[inaudible words]
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Please, please. Can we hasten, can we hasten with that medication. You don't know what you've done ...
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Please ... for God's sake, let's get on with that we've lived ... we've lived as no other people have lived and loved. We've had as much of this world that you're gonna get. Let's just be done with it. Let's be done with the agony of it ... 
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Lay down your life with dignity. Don't lay down with tears and agony. It's nothing to death, just like Max said. It's just stepping over into another plane. Don't, don't be this way. Stop this hysterics...
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... But children, it's just something to put you to rest ... Oh, God ...
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... mother, mother, mother, mother, mother, please, mother, please, please, please, don't, don't do this, don't do this ...
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If you'll quit telling them they're dying, if you adults will stop some of this nonsense ... Adults, adults, adults, I call on you to stop this nonsense. I call on you to quit exciting your children when all they're doing is going to a quiet rest. I call on you to stop this now. If you have any respect at all...
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Hurry, hurry my children, hurry. All I say, let's not fall in the hands of the enemy.
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Hurry my children

   

 

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