Roy Kelly

Easy Street

Roller skating down the main road in the cycle lane, her easy, smooth and flowing scissor stride on booted castors, measured, steady and elongated, seamlessly pushing through yards and moments, as if traffic was merely imagination and grace impervious to danger.  

Another Slice

All the books stored above our heads, all the books there aren’t enough hours to read again, and still we hesitate to banish them complete. The second-hand life, charity shops, jumble sales, car boot fields: the slow long-term dance, temporary ownership, possession and loss. Charity shops can take anything unwanted, books and LPs, the unfashionable


And we awake like children to tiny snow sprinkled on shed and car roofs, thinking, Will it last, will it last. The roads already damply black.   Nevermindfulnesss Contemplating truth and time, the face in the hairdresser’s mirror for twenty minutes or more, seeing while attempting not to.

Act of Faith

This winter morning between seven and eight, half a white moon still present, a ghost not shining on plentiful frost and mid-January, in the weeks when Christmas might as well be a lifetime ago, distant as dreams or fate; when journalists shore up columns by defining all the factors converging annually to load some blue

Proof and Belief

On the hearth of the working fireplace, the flags dusted with ash, we leave mince pies and a bottle of beer that Father Christmas might feed his face and wet his whistle while he is here, refreshment before he has to dash, having deposited the mystery of wrapped packages a further time in his series

Coffee with Annie

I am thinking about you Annie now that you are no longer a few miles of motorway and a couple of roundabouts from us here. I am remembering the meals, the easy chat and coffee; farewell coats and hugs in a doorway; that holiday we shared in Brixham, the fear of the foot noise on


Knowing he was ill he offered a free choice of the books on his shelves, but for every one wanted said, ‘Couldn’t bear to let that go’, and died two weeks later. Seers That age when if out and about you rigorously avoid shop mirrors, or any reflective surface, not wanting to see who looks


Walking down the sands to investigate what they might find, shells or stones, flotsam pieces abandoned by tides, two figures walking, slowly walking, beyond my sight. One small, one smaller, a boy and his mum in jeans and tops, an everyday disguise that makes them look quite like everyone else scattered about here between the


Early August and not yet half past eight, but all along the dual carriageway more than half the cars have headlights showing in the air from which daylight moves away — the summer, not the hour, being late — the shapely boxes streaming and glowing under the sky that was brighter two weeks ago, and


An unidentified lizard, the same size as a Grecian stick, the colour of dirtied sand, holds the dissolving power of invisibility. Only by the abrupt weird- angle turn of the head is its presence revealed; only this and movement swift and soundless as vanished moments, as previous love, here and gone, here and gone, so

Sum total

Midnight to dawn adding one more to the serial tally, love and irritation carried over, borrowed and paid back, all these vulgar fractions seeking to shape a perfection divisible only by one and itself.

Up at the Villa

Figs, lemons, almonds and holidaymakers, the fronds of palms and those fierce plants whose sharp extrusions in place of leaves, so uncompromisingly rigid and pointed, could pierce the heart with a dagger thrust, like the imagined, feared loss of your only child, here in this arid, heated beauty nourished by varieties of liquidity, these green


The school holidays in the final furlong and the next new phase and term in clear sight. This is when the thousands receive their plain envelopes informing them whether they have made the grade, precisely. And we look on, remembering or not remembering a future built on hopes and inadequacy, not knowing what is right

Approaching Little Big Horn

All spring the scattered bands gathered, the People, the Human Beings, all those like themselves on this earth — Lakota and Cheyenne and Arapaho. Movement and magnetism, wildness in the air, the power of the buffalo and the People swarming and flowing north to the sweetness of the old land and the old ways, up


Perhaps Heaven is like being foreign abroad where even the groceries appear exotic. All is before you exactly as it seems. Everything is as false and true as dreams. The language excludes you, familiar and strange, though all is apparently recognisable, all absent and correct in the world as it is. You are learning to

The Email About Writing the Poem

I’ve been occupying myself trying to write a long-ish poem. It’s an odd sensation writing a poem. You’re trying to make something come out of nothing, and you have an idea of what it could be, of stray lines and thoughts, and it takes shape as you do it, and you have to somehow notice

The Property of Michael Gray, If Found

A sample of things people should know about, or have heard of, whether they’re 12 or not: George Washington, George Gershwin, George Eliot, Henry Ford, Charlie Chaplin, Elvis Presley, Jane Austen, Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Florence Nightingale, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Muhammad Ali, Roger Federer, Queen Victoria, Snow White, Bing Crosby, Saint Paul, Emily Bronte,