Joel Kelly – My name’s Joel Kelly – second edit – mouthy tour

20 Sep

My name’s Joel Kelly. It’s a hard name for me to live up to. I was named Kelly after the men who drank the sea between Ireland and Scotland because they weren’t ready to go home yet. And when they’d danced enough circles, they bedded their way away from families with too many brothers and sisters. Becoming husbands of mothers and building houses on coal.

Kelly. It’s a name that supports the roof but does not promise to support its own legs when Friday falls into Saturday, or Saturday staggers into Sunday, or Sunday collapses into a roast dinner that ‘took since before bloody breakfast to make!’ Kelly is a cocktail 8parts blood 2parts whiskey. It can not promise to be on time. But it does promise to —————– from the farmer’s field on the way back from the pub. A Kelly ————- forgiveness.

A Kelly is a man who can make, fix, and survive bloody anything. And that name landed on me like a miner’s helmet, bending the neck, shining a headlamp at the ground. So I practised digging in the flower beds, climbing on the coal bunker preparing myself to be a man. I got two feet closer to Australia. But then I hit concrete. So did my dad and Grandad. Game over, ya diner’s ready and because ————– we’d never vote conservative.

And Joel… As in Billy Joel. I was named after Billy Joel. The piano man with the uptown girl. My parents recorded that surname onto a birth certificate turned cassette sleeve inlay. They were fans of that one syllable sound, but not his music. They would tape over it with Ziggy, Aladdin, Halloween Jack, The Thin White Duke, Bowie! But I already had a uncle David. So Joel.

Joel. They liked the chord those four letters cried and said them softly until I went back to sleep 3hours at a time. Joel. Joel is a nice sound to name a baby that doesn’t sound too babyish for when he’s old. At 5 Joel has been written in more cards than Christopher, Franquesca, Tiffany, because it’s easier to spell. Joel will have friends. Joel is a sound on a bank statement, a handshake on a CV that is read to the end.

Joel. I don’t say it properly so a lot of people think I’m called John. And if I didn’t correct you I’m sorry it’s not you it’s me.

Four letters to good cop bad cop with that surname. Joel. A bloody name that isn’t in my blood like Kelly. It’s a label, stickered onto my shirt for superficial meets, small talk, breaking ice. Whilst my surname ————————————. Joel waits until 7pm.

My name’s Joel Kelly, and like any name, it’s a hard name to live up to. But personally it reminds that I can’t really play piano. I don’t have an uptown girl. I’m not Irish. I don’t mine coal. ————————–. It reminds me that I’m 26 and I don’t have children.

But there’s more to me than Joel and I’m not just a Kelly. More names than I know of went into making me. And I was nurtured by two fans of David Bowie. That’s a stage name. I tell people Joel Kelly is a stage name.
Gene Kelly
Grace Kelly
Yeah OK
Joel Kelly

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One Response to “Joel Kelly – My name’s Joel Kelly – second edit – mouthy tour”

  1. mouthypoets September 20, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

    Hey Joel,

    How are you doing? I keep getting Londoners coming up to me and telling me how brilliant you are! How are you finding it?

    I have asked the RH about shadowing… so will let you know as soon as I have an answer on that!

    So, to the poem! So it is nearlly nearly there so I am really focusing on what I love and tiny places of neatening, as always take and leave what is helpful!

    LOVE
    -Very interesting decision to go with a prosaic format on this, I think it really works and also will add another tone to the overall show which I think is really exciting.
    -Really love how the personal drops in -“‘took since before bloody breakfast to make!’” after the universal of see’s and general drunkess 🙂
    -Really nice “Kelly is a cocktail 8parts blood 2parts whiskey”
    -Love the clarity and specificity of this image – “It can not promise to be on time. But it does promise to nick some vegetables from the farmer’s field on the way back from the pub. ” It tells me so much about where you are and who you are talking about
    -My favourite stanza –

    A Kelly is a man who can make, fix, and survive bloody anything. And that name landed on me like a miner’s helmet, bending the neck, shining a headlamp at the ground. So I practised digging in the flower beds, climbing on the coal bunker preparing myself to be a man. I got two feet closer to Australia. But then I hit concrete. So did my dad and Grandad. Game over, ya diner’s ready and because of a cow we’d never vote conservative.

    ….So much detail, fleckers of honest and original language and a very clear sense of personal – universal messaging. Beautiful – feels like the anchor of the poem.

    QUESTIONS
    -Not sure I understand this line “A Kelly can steal future forgiveness.”? Feels very vague, too vague to mean much. I might suggest cutting it because you are showing me similar messages throughout the poem in stronger ways

    SUGGESTIONS

    1. This stanza felt weakest to me, I just got a bit confused, I wasn’t sure what you meant about being written in cards or the handshake at the end, I am tempted to say cut it completely but just wanted to put it out there that you need to go through it line by line and clarify what you are actually saying…

    Joel. They liked the chord those four letters cried and said them softly until I went back to sleep 3hours at a time. Joel. Joel is a nice sound to name a baby that doesn’t sound too babyish for when he’s old. At 5 Joel has been written in more cards than Christopher, Franquesca, Tiffany, because it’s easier to spell. Joel will have friends. Joel is a sound on a bank statement, a handshake on a CV that is read to the end.

    2. Suggested Cuts –
    “and like any name, it’s a hard name to live up to. But personally it reminds that”
    “That’s a stage name.”
    “Gene Kelly
    Grace Kelly
    Yeah OK
    Joel Kelly”

    Really think that performance is going to play a big piece in this one – have you got ideas?
    When am i seeing you?
    Debris

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