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Pennhurst State School (Spring City, PA) | the memoirs of a bad man

The Memoirs of a Bad Man
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I find myself having the same nightmare over and over. In it, it's a long time ago - way back before the floods and the second Civil War, before all the plagues and starvation - and yet I know all the things that are coming. I try and try to tell people, but the words won't come out of my mouth right. I say the same mundane things I said before it all unraveled, I act as though nothing is amiss - but I see the terrible shadow cast over everything and know that because I am not doing anything, it will all happen again, and it is all my fault.

Among the few that are left now, there is a constant grief for all of those who perished as catastrophe after catastrophe pounded things that had taken thousands of years to build into pieces. I am not sorry for those people we lost, though. They never had to live to see what their actions, their complicity, had brought. They were spared day after unending day of hunger and discomfort, of shame and remorse. They all sleep quietly now, while the responsibility of what we all did is shouldered by so few.

We all knew it was coming, but it was too big to face it individually so we went along with it, we hid - and in doing so it became a part of us, and we it. Our penance is the knowledge of what we were, what we could have been,
and what we have now become.

'the memoirs of a bad man' taken at Pennhurst State School and Institution. Photograph and text by Matthew Christopher of Abandoned America.