“shazam” with a small “s” and no exclamation mark

Es­ti­mated reading time is 3 min­utes.

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.


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