Already Under


Already Under is a growing work of what I call surrational poetry. I took the term from photographers, who to my knowledge first coined it. Scott Mutter and Thomas Barbé are two examples—here is one of Mutter’s most recognized images:

Scott Mutter, “Untitled”

Most common in the poems is an observation of the mystical self within the modern world. A sense of displacement. The hint of what might be. A sounding of what is just beneath the surface of our common perceptions.

The poems have a vivid interaction with imagery, rightly born of their mother photography. The worlds of the natural, supernatural, and the mundane combine their words and other symbols. The view is similar to the surreal. However, the words never really leave the literal, implying there is nothing fantastical needs to be done to our world that it might be more surreal. Today we have it on our common canvas, a torn masterpiece of illusion, disenchantment, and insanity.

Surrationalism as I have it aims to observe our personal and collective potential for imagination, introspection, and the beyond. We see how we live quietly with these elements in our nature, but find ourselves utterly without breath when we face them. We do not see the concrete structures of our mind and our cities for what they are (mud) or could be (a surfer’s paradise):

Thomas Barbé, “Swell Time in Town

By balancing the literal with the imaginative and challenging the mundane, we find a space that might entice us to hear our oft unspoken truths and fantasies. In this space we unleash our selves, and if we’re feeling especially brave, are unafraid to speak.

Late by myself, in the boat of myself,
no light and no land anywhere,
cloudcover thick.

I try to stay just above the surface,
yet I am already under
and living within the ocean.

– Rumi


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