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from the Latin commutare, "to change altogether"

by martin kennedy yates

The sky this morning is all the elements

dissolved in dawn-cold primordial vapour.

Pylons rise prehistoric – great striding hieroglyphs

etched in charcoal on a wall of sand and fire.

Houses are underwater, clouds are loamy,

disfamiliar streets are clammy tunnels back

beyond the edge of town to mysterious realms

where tinny fish are chased down by tarmac-black

leviathans and full-beam eyes are consumed

in a hissing spume of breath. Finally, streetlit again,

we inch uncertainly to the sanctuary of our workplaces

where fluorescent lighting, computers humming,

coffee machines, little rituals reassure us we belong here,

we are commuters, we have made something of ourselves,

we are altogether changed, we are no longer

what we were – what the myths told us we were,

what our religions said or thought – not anymore.

No, not any more.


Martin Kennedy Yates was born on Merseyside, raised in the Black Country and now lives and works in the West Midlands. He recently gained an MA in Creative Writing from Birmingham City University, and is an emerging poet whose work has recently been selected by The Rialto, Poetry Wales, Finished Creatures, Ink Sweat & Tears, Butcher’s Dog, Alchemy Spoon, Anthropocene, Stand, The Storms and Magma. You can contact him by email regarding publication, readings, commissions, workshops and so on:


Image by Bree Anne
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