The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for December 3rd, 2021

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s been a weird week for me, as I’ve been unusually “blocked” as far as writing goes. This happens periodically, and unpredictably. I’ve had a few things on my mind, but there’s never a moment when that isn’t true. My dilemma, though, has been about “voice.” I’m really, really down on, and frustrated by, NYC right now. It’s a struggle to not call out everything as being shit, or describe the distracting delusions offered by the Political state as being anything other than Matryoshka.

If you’re not familiar with the Russian term, Matryoshka is the name for those nesting dolls they offer, as well as a metaphor for hiding your true intentions within a series of false shells. The reason that the Soviets were great enemies for the West is Matryoshka, since you could never intone the truth of Soviet intent from the surface layer of their deeds. There’s always going to be another truth lurking within the surface layer.

My Ukrainian born Jewish Grandmother installed a deep prejudice in me when I was a child regarding the Russians. “Never trust a Russian. The only person a Russian loves, in their dog hearts, is the last one who fed them,” she would say. Hey – if you saw your little brother beheaded by drunken Cossacks, you’d have strong opinions about Russians too.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Thing is, the Russians are pretty smart. Never letting anyone know what you’re really thinking – aka – what the smallest and most internal of the Matryoshka stack looks like – is pretty good advice. The problem I’m having right now, writing wise, is that all of my outer shells are absent and I can’t pretend. I’d like to relentlessly pummel away at the universe in an adolescent fury of truth telling, but what does that accomplish? What can I do? What can you do? Why bother? Nothing matters.

When I’m leading a procedural meeting for the citizenry, I close it up with “well, thank you to everyone for participating in our Democracy, and working towards perfecting our Civilization. We’re not there yet, but maybe we got a bit closer tonight.” It sounds smarmy, but I’m trying to be genuine there. Or at least I used to be genuine. Nothing matters.

That aspirant optimism of mine, which is currently withering on the vine, is something my grandmother would have likely found hilarious and somewhat foolish. Granny would remind and opine that a cruel death was waiting just around the corner, and to stop wasting time on things that aren’t practical. Go clean your room, instead of worrying about the world.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Conversely, another voice in my head right now is my Dad’s. When I was a young but already humble narrator exploring sophomoric literature and ideations, the writing of Camus for example, and I began telling him about my existential concern about the meaning of life, the old man would screw up his eyebrows and look at me with concern. He’d say “that’s pretty interesting… why don’t you think about that while you’re washing the car.” My dad was a pretty simple guy, but…

I’ll be at the Newtown Creek, deep diving into the nesting dolls of truth it offers, while improving my practical skills and philosophizing, if anyone wants to explore these topics in person. I apparently require company, but I can’t promise which level of Russian Nesting Doll you’ll encounter. I’ll be the one in the filthy black raincoat.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 3, 2021 at 11:00 am

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