FIRST THERE IS A MOUNTAIN then there is no mountain then there is. I had made this walk a hundred times before today but today was extraordinary, but then every day is extraordinary.
So, I walked as I always do and always did.
So, I walked past the many telephone poles on 112th Avenue NE.
So, I walked past one of the many telephone poles on 112th Avenue NE.
And there it was: sticking out three-inches from the pole was the rusted head a railroad spike.
A railroad spike.
About six inches up from the sidewalk.
A railroad spike.
In a telephone pole.
First there is a mountain and I was stopped in my tracks and IT happened:
shazam oneness with the Universe
shazam oneness with the Void
shazam oneness with the Godhead 1
First there is a mountain then there is no mountain and the pole was something other towering over me (small-g godlike?) but I only had eyes for the rusted spike and then there was nothought and had I blinked?
instant momentary small-b bliss
instant momentary small-n nirvana
instant momentary small-s satori
Then there is: and it was over.
Had I blinked?
Back to mundaneness and telephone poles.
First there is a mountain then there is no mountain then there is and Andre Breton and the juxtaposition of two more or less remote realities came to mind and I was back to intellectualizing the world and oneness was duality and that’s okey-dokey too and so I stepped back looked up counted imaginary neals to gauge its height and after six neals I was less than halfway up so I guessed the pole to be 100 feet tall and that’s a lot of neals. 2
Back to mundaneness and first there is a mountain (it’s just a telephone pole and I’ve seen ’em all) then there is no mountain (shazam with a small s and no exclamation mark and nothought and it’s Jacob’s ladder and a stairway to heaven) then there is (it’s just a bloody telephone pole).
What else is there to say but that the lock upon my garden gate’s a snail.
That’s what it is.
(Oh Juanita, I call your name …)
HEADER IMAGE: For the cultural deprived reader, the image at the top of this page Golden Age superduperhero Captain Marvel as originally conceived by C.C. Beck. Young Billy Batson has only to say the magician’s name of an ancient, powerful magician—Shazam!—and he is transformed into Captain Marvel! It is a painting done by Beck in 1981, while the panel abobe is from “Introducing Captain Marvel” in Whiz Comics #2, cover dated February 1940.
The references above to mountains and garden gates is from Donovan’s song There Is A Mountain (1967).
1 No, sorry, there was no oneness with Grommett; the Wholly He was vacationing in Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta.
2 While the “juxtaposition” statement is often attributed to Andre Breton, it was in fact written by Pierre Reverdy: The image is a pure creation of the mind. It cannot be born from a comparison but from a juxtaposition of two more or less remote realities. The more the relationship between the two juxtaposed realities is remote and true, the stronger the image—the greater its emotive power and poetic reality. It appeared in the March 1918 edition of his own art and poetry publication Nord-Sud. It was that entry that was quoted by Breton in his First Surrealist Manifesto of 1924.