The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

guilty agony

with 6 comments

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Reeling from the implications of those utterances which- I must have imagined- were experienced in DUPBO, I scuttled fiercely away, hoping to reorient myself toward pursuits and thought patterns more comfortable, wholesome, and safe…

I headed for the long corridor that will connect to the Hunters Point South development, along that industrial roadway which begins at the old Vernon Avenue Bridge and which is defined by those ancient rail yards of the LIRR which lie just beyond the fences.

Along the way, Al Smith’s monument served as a polestar of navigation and material consistency throughout the swirling of my thoughts, as I drifted along numbly imagining that my name was being called from the direction of the Newtown Creek.

from wikipedia

The Cotard delusion or Cotard’s syndrome or Walking Corpse Syndrome, also known as nihilistic or negation delusion, is a rare neuropsychiatric disorder in which people hold a delusional belief that they are dead (either figuratively or literally), do not exist, are putrefying, or have lost their blood or internal organs. Rarely, it can include delusions of immortality.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Visible from storied Greenpoint, a group of small boats illegally utilize the former bridge landing as an ad hoc marina, and there was a group of men climbing over the crumbling cement to access one of them. Their presence disturbed me, and I wondered if their party’s appearance was not accidental, but rather something covert.

Oh, why did I open that letter, the one whose dire message will forever rob me of peaceful sleep and whose implications have penetrated even into my dreams?

Seldom does good news arrive by postal missive, in my experience.

Deciding that these otherwise innocent characters might be a threat to me due to my gentle habits and extraordinary physical cowardice, I scuttled on.

from wikipedia

Cowardice, in general terms, is the perceived failure to demonstrate sufficient robustness in the face of a challenging situation. The term describes a personality trait which is viewed as a negative characteristic and has been frowned upon (see norms) within most, if not all global cultures, while courage, typically viewed as its direct opposite, is generally rewarded and encouraged.

Cowards are usually seen to have avoided or refused to engage in a confrontation or struggle which has been deemed good or righteous by the wider culture in which they live. On a more mundane level, the label may be applied to those who are regarded as too frightened or overwhelmed to defend their rights or those of others from aggressors in their lives.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As one moves from 54th avenue to 53rd, a pleasant enough scene awaits one observant to the ecstasies of old Long Island City’s low declination and squamously set building stock. Enormous in footprint, but small in height, the vast oceanic skies of the metropolitan archipelago peel open in the manner of some vast scroll framed by brick and fence.

The horizon becomes a three point perspective lesson, with a Shining City rising and occludes the horizon, over a River of Sound.

from wikipedia

In psychology, confabulation is the spontaneous narrative report of events that never happened. It consists of the creation of false memories, perceptions, or beliefs about the self or the environment usually as a result of neurological or psychological dysfunction. When it is a matter of memory, confabulation is the confusion of imagination with memory, or the confused application of true memories. Confabulations are difficult to differentiate from delusions and from lying. With respect to memory, wild confabulations about one’s past are rare in the absence of organic causes (e.g., brain damage), and the term “confabulation” is often restricted to these types of distortions. In contrast, even neurologically intact people are susceptible to memory errors or confusions due to psychological causes (see false memory).

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Vast agglutiations of warehouse, distribution point, and industry can be observed here- best on a weekend as the place is quite busy and well populated during the week.

On weekend mornings, the curious indications of habitation by wandering mendicants are observed- bits of food, a worn shoe, or a soggy collection of windblown rags bearing an impression that suggests the shape of something very like a man. During winter months, the unremarked but obvious effects of camp fire upon ice is seen around discarded oil drums and other cast off containers.

from wikipedia

The core symptom of depersonalization disorder is the subjective experience of unreality, and as such there are no clinical signs. Common descriptions are: watching oneself from a distance; out-of-body experiences; a sense of just going through the motions; feeling as though one is in a dream or movie; not feeling in control of one’s speech or physical movements; and feeling detached from one’s own thoughts or emotions. Individuals with the disorder commonly describe a feeling as though time is ‘passing’ them by and they are not in the notion of the present. These experiences may cause a person to feel uneasy or anxious since they strike at the core of a person’s identity and consciousness.

Some of the more common factors that exacerbate dissociative symptoms are negative effects, stress, subjective threatening social interaction, and unfamiliar environments. Factors that tend to diminish symptoms are comforting interpersonal interactions, intense physical or emotional stimulation, and relaxation. Factors identified as relieving symptom severity such as diet, exercise, alcohol and fatigue, are listed by others as worsening symptoms.

Fears of going crazy, brain damage, and losing control are common complaints. Individuals report occupational impairments as they feel they are working below their ability, and interpersonal troubles since they have an emotional disconnection from those they care about. Neuropsychological testing has shown deficits in attention, short-term memory and spatial-temporal reasoning. Depersonalization disorder is associated with cognitive disruptions in early perceptual and attentional processes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Curious, the idiom of the place is purely functional, with vast sheets of cement and steel rebar flung about. Everywhere, slanted planes designed to accommodate trucking descend from the sidewalk into scummy puddles which collect at the bottom of the ramps. Fantastic machines which serve the cinema and television industries show just part of their arcane mechanisms over those great gates which occlude them.

from wikipedia

Akathisia may range in intensity from a mild sense of disquiet or anxiety, to a total inability to sit still, accompanied by overwhelming anxiety, malaise, and severe dysphoria (manifesting as an almost indescribable sense of terror and doom). The condition is difficult for the patient to describe and is often misdiagnosed. When misdiagnosis occurs in antipsychotic neuroleptic-induced akathisia, more antipsychotic neuroleptics may be prescribed, potentially worsening the symptoms. High-functioning patients have described the feeling as a sense of inner tension and torment or chemical torture.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking south down second street, toward the mouth of the Newtown Creek where it congeals and mixes with the East River, and where the Hunters Point South project is in its earliest stages.

To the right is Water Taxi Beach’s new home, and the left looks nearly all the way back to the intersection of 54th and 53rd avenues. Behind me lies the beginnings of Tower Town, and the vast new constructions just beginning at 51st avenue.

This point, far from the Newtown Creek, is where I stopped imagining that gurgling auditory murmur that seemed to be repeating my name over and over.

from wikipedia

Emotional detachment in the first sense above often arises from psychological trauma and is a component in many anxiety and stress disorders. The person, while physically present, moves elsewhere in the mind, and in a sense is “not entirely present”, making them sometimes be seen as preoccupied or distracted. In other cases, the person may seem fully present but operate merely intellectually when emotional connection would be appropriate. This may present an extreme difficulty in giving or receiving empathy and can be related to the spectrum of narcissistic personality disorder.

Thus, such detachment is often not as outwardly obvious as other psychiatric symptoms; people with this problem often have emotional systems that are in overdrive. They have a hard time being a loving family member. They avoid activities, places, and people associated with any traumatic events they have experienced. The dissociation can also lead to lack of attention and, hence, to memory problems and in extreme cases, amnesia.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Crossing 2nd street, I began to feel safer, and convinced myself that the vocalizations were mere hallucination. Often it is easier to consider oneself mad, than to confront the existential realities of the Newtown Pentacle head on. Sometimes it is better to just believe that you’re just crazy… that is what I was thinking as I headed for Tower Town, but I’m all ‘effed up.

Would that I had never opened that letter… nay… that it was ever delivered…

from Nietzsche’s Human, all too Human at wikisource

ART DANGEROUS TO THE ARTIST.— When art seizes violently on an individual it draws him back to the conceptions of those ages in which art flourished most mightily, and then it effects a retrogression in him. The artist acquires increasing reverence for sudden excitations, believes in gods and demons, instills a soul into nature, hates the sciences, becomes changeable of mood as were the men of antiquity and longs for an overthrowing of everything unfavorable to art, and he does this with all the vehemence and unreasonableness of a child. The artist is in himself already a retarded being, inasmuch as he has halted at games that pertain to youth and childhood: to this there is now added his gradual retrogression to earlier times. Thus there at last arises a violent antagonism between him and the men of his period, of his own age, and his end is gloomy; just as, according to the tales told in antiquity, Homer and Aeschylus at last lived and died in melancholia.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 30, 2010 at 3:17 am

6 Responses

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  1. […] to be legitimate. In typical fashion, I retreated into denial and isolation- as detailed here, and here. Several hours on, all I knew was rage and a helpless resignation was setting in, and I would need […]

  2. […] shot above was run in the guilty agony posting of June 30, 2010, and it walks through the landward side of the area on the Queens side. It looks directly across […]

  3. […] absent minded, and an unreliable physical coward- the feckless quisling who serves as your humble narrator once […]

  4. […] Brooklyn, and have drawn the ire of certain extant allies of the dead man whose influence and reach extend into the federal government and modernity itself who wish me to remain silent on the […]

  5. Hi,

    The Wikipedia article was written by someone with an axe to grind. He’s a 9-year veteran of wikipedia, so it’s hard to get rid of him.

    See my article on the subject:

    Also see:


    November 19, 2010 at 4:13 pm

  6. […] Brooklyn, and have drawn the ire of certain extant allies of the dead man whose influence and reach extend into the federal government and modernity itself who wish me to remain silent on the […]

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