Everything ends, like it began, in the mind. The last witness, after the annihilation, facing the final reckoning: that nobody was left to even deny the extinction of humanity. Nothing left to care or map out the disappearance of disappearance. That is the disappearance of humans, who have, in the final act, obliterated all other life forms. After-all, if man couldn’t survive, nothing should. So she stands alone, with nothing left except her thoughts. Venturing for one last time into the abyss where everything had been thrown, she sees how the depths of its denials were so monstrous even the most brutal tyrants were willing to be forgotten for fear of confronting the intolerable madness. If only she had the strength to conscientiously object. There is nothing to make sense of within this terrain. Surveying the ruins of her mental landscape of total devastation, alone she sees how everything meaningful has collapsed. Like Tiresias, she walks blinded, having lived every prophecy and having witnessed too much suffering. But she no longer has any need for sight. Even notions of past, present and future have been fully obliterated. Can she even call herself a survivor? Surely that would mean bearing witness? Yet how can you be a witness if there is nobody left to tell? And what would she say anyway? Even language has been eviscerated.
Once the courage to truth was denied, she knew every evil would be liberated and every sacred claim to purity mobilized in response. That was the real nihilism. And so, now an unwilling accomplice to her thoughts, she relives the final collapse of humanity - the collapse of consciousness itself. A terrorscape more horrifying than anything Dante every dared to conceive, where every single exhausted thought that appears without asking is subjected to a monstrous schizophrenic haunting and every claim she once held to life caught in the swirling vortex of mental torture without any possible hope to escape. To survive now means only to carry the shameful burden of humankind complete. At the ends of humanity, every mental coordinate is abandoned as this neurological assault – the final frontier now also being denied, illustrates how the collective consciousness has also become a brutalized river of indistinction. The collapse of all resistance, the collapse of all memory, the collapse of all dreams, the collapse of her imagination.
And yet still, she feels, feels that there is the glimmer of something. In the shadow at the dark side of consciousness something refuses to die, for nothing is more uncertain than the nothingness of the void.
Nothing lasts forever, it seems, including nothing itself.
The poem was written in memory of the global victims of violence whose bodies are never recovered.
And what if I were to vanish?
That the abyss was for someone like me
And what if my screams went silent?
Of a terror condemning us to be alone
And what if I was just a memory?
A resurrected body in the shadows of day
And what if my dreams were vanquished?
Left unrecorded in a pauper’s grave
And what if I became mere nothing?
Denied dignity in that my most precious of hours
And what peace could you ever wish to ask for?
Eternally suspended in a sorrowful refrain
And what hope could I possibly offer?
Now that you’d live forever with this pain
And what nightmares would I author?
Living with disappearance, without a trace
And what if you walked in my last footprints?
Praying to the earth for forgiveness in time
And what if they captured my tormentors?
Knowing no justice could never be mine
And what would society now care to say of me?
Silently wishing, I remained unknown
And what killing might return through denial?
A fatally wounded victim, so I’d continue to fall
And what suffering now burdens your heavens?
Searching for stars in a universe of loss
And what death is for the worthy of living?
Less than one recognized and given its name
And what love could you manage to rescue?
Because Nemesis demanded your truth
And what freedom might we never speak of?
Searching in vain, this wilderness echoes no call
Brad Evans, June 2017.
Collapse of Consciousness
Brad Evans & Chantal Meza (2022)