posted on August 10, 2008 at 9:22 pm

where do words lead us ….?
can you imagine a world without words….
everything i do and think and perceive
is mediated thru a screen of words
we cant even discuss words
without using words
most people need words
i am a word addict
words are my forte
words are where i come into my own
the english language
oh i take liberties with it
i have no reverence for it
it is a block of marble waiting to be shaped
everytime i sing or speak or write
this language frustrates me
it is only a so so language
i need finer instruments to exactly plot my course
once i could speak sanskrit and latin
in greek i could hold forth in its splendid tongue
now i am hoi polloi
a common english speaking tom dick or harry
born over and over
to play all parts
still my soul retains memories
fractured vistas
impossible times
moods i slip into
these are not steven kilbey
my soul memories seem never to be erased completely bare
things linger on in the half light of intuition and instinct
oh inside me is some graceful man who is an expert on all arts
he tries to communicate but…
the words get in the way
dont think in words the man seems to say
but as its happening
my mind drowning in words
which word
this word
that word
my stupid clumsy mind
stuffed full of all the words it ate
gorging on 4 syllable latinate desserts
knocking it all back with thesaurus absinthe
you think i can ever make these words stop
the graceful man is saying stop
let go of these words
i can get through
but my mind is trying to make a list of its favourite words
1 silver
2 languid
3 mercury
4 pluperfect
no stop
the graceful man does not communicate in words
he insinuates
he projects thoughts as wordless pictures and feelings
he says
you are me but for all these words…
world without word
but the word was that first thing
everything was waiting for god to say become
god said become
and it all became
but words…..
in what strange and wondrous language does god talk
i wonder
is it fixed
or does it meander
like english picking up a little french here
a little danish there
a little bit of anglo bloody saxon
put it thru the middle ages
from generation to generation the language is bent
even improved
still i say
i do not love english half as much
as some other language always on the tip of my tongues mind
some magnificent way of expressing the simplest things
imagine a world where everyone was a poet….
would that be too much?
would there be any audience left
imagine a world with no audiences
no readers
no fans
a world where everyone could sing and paint and dance and sculpt
or would it be wonderful/filled with wonders
the city filled with buildings all painted by parallel picassos
the sound of sweet music fills the air
but who trims the lawns
who delivers the goods and bads
who unblocks the pipes
or sees to the wires
where are the doctors
where are the mechanics
where are the midwives and the glaziers
some must do
some must observe
some must work
some must hammer and saw and connect and reimburse
could it be
that they would hammer in time
saw in rhythm
connect with a poetic flourish
reimburse with gracious flare…..
i cant leave words alone though
the combinations are obsessing me
the power they have
do you mean if i write a certain combination of words
especially words with a musical note attached
then complete strangers will love me?

29 Responses to “back up”

  1. avatar
    fantasticandy | 10 August 2008 at 11:01 pm #

    i’m stunned steve…..

  2. avatar
    fantasticandy | 10 August 2008 at 11:04 pm #

    we did a jam friday night….
    carl couldn’t make it so…no drums.
    i’m gonna send it ya…..raw.
    i want you to understand just how close we are…………….

  3. avatar
    the dean | 10 August 2008 at 11:11 pm #

    your world words and poets is safe for now thanks to the discordant push of machine wielding people who cannot bear quiet.

  4. avatar
    matt davison | 10 August 2008 at 11:12 pm #

    Something told
    and promised
    Something Unfolding
    around you…

    Within the moment
    Sky rolls over
    giving way to the sepia dark
    And place become covered
    in grey and amber filters

    Money washes up on the shore
    where bathers once drifted
    among the turtles and the waves

    those distant memories of ocean shells fallen away.

  5. avatar
    Anonymous | 10 August 2008 at 11:18 pm #

    People buy the words the want to hear; some people buy words that are full of love and integrity, but some people prefer words that are malicious, gossip, designed to hurt.
    What sort of strangers are you selling to? Demand and supply is easy if you really understand who you are selling to, and perhaps your blog makes that part harder, in a way, most of these people are not at all strangers, clearly.

  6. avatar
    CAPTAIN BEYOND | 10 August 2008 at 11:44 pm #

    exactly, love love love…

  7. avatar
    tim | 11 August 2008 at 1:36 am #

    words change as you attach those notes…don’t they? at least can be given weight or light when they hitch a ride on a melody
    sound..the most amazing of the senses…which is why radio advertising works so well and t.v. commercials that have music attached. The first jingle you learned was the alphabet song for our dreaded english language but try teaching a 4 year old without singing the song…we all know how it goes..that melody..that’s the best i can come up with to describe the power that the right combination of words and music can the medium you are working with ALWAYS has the ability to be memorable as many of your songs can attest to…and no wonder why folks who first meet you always bring up THAT song…its the first that comes to mind..though you may never grow acustomed to it utmw will forever be top of mind since you were literally branded by it. No it doesn’t mean you have to like it, but it sure demostrates the power of the medium you decide to dabble in
    it resonates in a totally different way than your visual arts and your written works as much as they are the same in terms of an act of creation (i loved your blog called muddle through by the way) when it comes to creating art the medium dictates how we will interact with the piece be it written, veiwed or listened to…we have to consciously decide to look at your art and your blog…your music requires less attention..we can hear it as we do those things…we hear without listening..but we can’t see without looking..can we?

    it is the mircle of music that defy’s description. lyrics or insights you provide of your new disc you are about to drop can never live up to the sound of the music itself really the only question left is this..

    is painkiller memorable?

    only time will tell..

    can i listen please?


  8. avatar
    kat | 11 August 2008 at 2:40 am #


    yeah you are a word man fo’ sho’. i can slang with the best of them, but am a word person too, probably because of my mom. she majored in languages (mainly latin) for 6- 7 years and i took after her as far as putting stuff together. too bad i don’t have her degree..

    i’m going to post my framed print of CR on myspace. (better with words than putting links in blogs? how do you do this most likely simple task, fiends? fyi, i did not order the frame that thick, and the surrounding color is not as red as shown, it is mulberry (ish) so i don’t know what happened.

    at any rate, i still love it. it livens up the house!

    have a good nite/day/time, all..

  9. avatar
    Anonymous | 11 August 2008 at 5:27 am #

    I’ll put it in a different language for you:

    Back Up noutra língua

    aonde as palavras nos levam…?
    você pode imaginar um mundo sem palavras…
    tudo que eu faço e penso e percebo
    é mediado por uma tela de palavras
    nós não podemos sequer discutir sobre palavras
    sem usá-las
    a maioria das pessoas precisa de palavras
    eu sou um viciado em palavras
    palavras são meu forte
    palavras são meu elemento
    a língua inglesa
    oh, eu tomo liberdades com ela
    eu não tenho qualquer reverência por ela
    é um bloco de mármore esperando para tomar forma
    todas as vezes que eu canto ou falo ou escrevo
    esta língua me frustra
    é apenas uma língua mais ou menos
    eu preciso de instrumentos mais refinados para delinear minha rota precisamente
    eu já fui capaz de falar em sânscrito e latim
    pude falar em público longamente na esplêndida língua dos gregos
    agora, eu sou um zé ninguém
    um cidadão de língua inglesa comum
    um tom, dick ou harry
    nascido muitas e muitas vezes
    para interpretar todos os papéis
    mesmo assim, minha alma retém memórias
    visões fragmentadas
    eras impossíveis
    estados de espírito que adentro
    essas não são de steven kilbey
    minhas memórias d’alma nunca parecem ser apagadas completamente
    até sumir
    as coisas persistem vivas à meia-luz da intuição e do instinto
    oh, dentro de mim mora um homem gracioso que é especialista em todas as
    ele tenta se comunicar mas…
    as palavras se metem no caminho
    não pense em forma de palavras, o homem parece dizer
    mas enquanto isso acontece
    minha mente afoga-se em palavras
    qual palavra
    esta palavra
    aquela palavra
    minha estúpida mente desajeitada
    recheada por todas as palavras que comeu
    empanturrando-se com sobremesas de quatro sílabas derivadas do latim
    embriagando-se com absinto de thesaurus
    você pensa que eu posso alguma vez fazer essas palavras pararem
    o home gracioso está dizendo, pare
    largue essas palavras
    eu posso superá-las
    mas minha mente está tentando fazer uma lista de suas palavras favoritas
    1 prata
    2 lânguida
    3 mercúrio
    4 mais-que-perfeito
    sem parar
    o homem gracioso não se comunica por palavras
    ele insinua*
    ele projeta pensamentos como fotos e sentimentos sem palavras
    ele diz
    você sou eu, exceto por todas essas palavras…
    mundo sem palavra
    mas a palavra foi a coisa primordial
    tudo estava à espera de deus para dizer torne-se
    deus disse torne-se
    e tudo se fez
    mas palavras….
    em qual língua estranha e maravilhosa deus fala
    eu me pergunto
    é fixa
    ou vagueia
    como o inglês, pegando um pouco do francês aqui
    um pouco do dinamarquês ali
    um pouco do maldito anglo-saxão
    observe-a desde a idade média
    de geração em geração a língua é desviada de sua origem
    mal usada
    até mesmo, aperfeiçoada
    ainda assim, eu digo
    eu realmente não amo inglês a metade
    do que amo alguma outra língua sempre na ponta da língua de minha
    alguma maneira magnífica de expressar as coisas mais simples
    imagine um mundo onde todos fossem poetas…
    seria demais?
    restaria alguma platéia
    imagine um mundo sem platéias
    nenhum leitor
    nenhum fã
    um mundo onde todos pudessem cantar e pintar e dançar
    e esculpir
    ou ele seria maravilhoso/cheio de maravilhas
    a cidade coberta de construções todas pintadas por picassos paralelos
    o som de música doce preenchendo o ar
    mas quem apara os gramados
    quem entrega os quitutes e as porcarias
    quem desentope os canos
    ou detecta os fios
    onde estão os médicos
    onde estão os mecânicos
    onde estão as parteiras e os vidraceiros
    alguns devem fazer
    alguns devem observar
    alguns devem trabalhar
    alguns devem martelar e serrar e conectar e reembolsar
    poderia ser
    que eles martelassem no tempo certo
    serrassem no ritmo
    conectassem com um florear poético
    reembolsassem com uma labareda graciosa….
    entretanto, eu não posso abandonar as palavras
    as combinações me deixam obcecado
    o poder que elas têm
    você quer dizer que se eu escrever uma determinada combinação de palavras
    especialmente se uma nota musical acompanhá-las
    se forem cantadas
    então, completos estranhos vão me amar?

    Boa pergunta = good question.

    *insinua = nua means naked in fem. and the word has the same sound of “naked in itself”. A good paradox with suggestion. I’ll write something called “The Naked Suggestion”.

  10. avatar
    steve kilbey | 11 August 2008 at 7:17 am #

    always lovely to be in portugese
    thank you

  11. avatar
    Anonymous | 11 August 2008 at 9:13 am #

    So why have you done so much instrumental music, Kilbo?

  12. avatar
    lyrics not soundscapes | 11 August 2008 at 12:02 pm #

    I’ve only ever liked 1 instrumental song by anyone ever, and that’s Film on P=A.

  13. avatar
    Hellbound Heart | 11 August 2008 at 12:06 pm #

    ah god words can woo or wound, can’t they…i read and hear things that make me cry with grief or laughter…but also there are pieces of music that give me goosebumps and make me shake and not a word is uttered in any of them…what is it about the interplay of sounds in a certain manner that has the power to transform in such a monumental way…
    love always…

  14. avatar
    Anakki Mayhem | 11 August 2008 at 2:10 pm #

    a simple rhyme 4 u…

    words can destroy & words can create
    words can endure & words can fade
    words can be strong & words can be weak
    words can be wild & words can be meek
    words can be soft & words can be loud
    words can be empty or full & round
    words are yang & words are yin
    words are the end & words will begin
    & you, the pied piper of words all along
    obsessed & obssessing with your bewitching siren song


  15. avatar
    crack in smile | 11 August 2008 at 2:57 pm #

    Nice to see some portuguese here! E que bom saber que você também aprecia, SK!

    Saudações brasileiras, poeta!

  16. avatar
    Thomas Thomsen, Denmark | 11 August 2008 at 3:10 pm #

    Steve Kilbey og The Church er det bedste band i verden i dag – uden sammenligning. Det er min hensigt at skrive til musikbladene Mojo og Uncut og bede dem om at skrive en artikel om The Church i forbindelse med udgivelsen af deres kommende album.

  17. avatar
    Polydora | 11 August 2008 at 4:34 pm #

    Too funny, I was thinking just the other day how I’m a total sucker for words: the shortest path to my heart is a good vocabulary!

    Following this thought, I started composing a list of my favorite words. The only one I still can remember from the top five that day is chthonic. Another would be praxis (much lower on the list). But, really, this list goes on and is ever changing.

    Words… slippery, lovely, mutable and fixed.

  18. avatar
    Anonymous | 11 August 2008 at 4:35 pm #

    I like the word ‘fucken’…

  19. avatar
    John | 11 August 2008 at 5:55 pm #

    How much communication is done non-verbally?

    Give me a percentage, anyone.

    John Garratt

  20. avatar
    Polydora | 11 August 2008 at 6:23 pm #

    John, if the url I’m posting below gets chopped off, go to and look up this title: The Relationship of Verbal and Nonverbal Communication.

    You can preview just about the entire book it seems. Perhaps you can find an answer to your percentage question there?

    here's the url:

    Once upon a time had a sociolinguistics class and loved it. There's all sorts of research out there on nonverbal communication. I'm sure the percentage of nonverbal comm used will vary from population to population, with some placing more importance on the nonverbal than others.

  21. avatar
    Polydora | 11 August 2008 at 6:33 pm #

    more things to think about when defining nonverbal…

    nonverbal doesn’t necessarily mean silent.
    verba means word. Various forms of vocalization constitute nonverbal communication, and I think this is one reason why the term nonverbal has been restated as face-to-face interaction in the above mentioned book.

    Also, one should consider whether words drive nonverbal communication as well as verbal. Except in cases where one hasn’t developed language (for instance, newborns and feral children), I would hypothesize that it this is so.

  22. avatar
    restaurant mark | 11 August 2008 at 7:25 pm #

    great one today…i’ve always been fascinated with words and especially those who can put them together well. it’s an art obviously…the ones who can stand in front of people and just talk, about whatever topic and just draw you in and everyone else too. the different flows people have…some rapid fire…some slow, drawn out. then the writers, of course…whether they be books, movies, poetry, or songs. can’t handle a band with bad lyrics or a movie with bad dialogue! i’ve written poetry/lyrics since i was 5…writing peoms to my mom about the stars and the moon, getting a couple published in highschool and after, to lyrics for the bands i’ve been in…i love it…struggle with it too…so hyper crtical of my own words. anyway, love yours…whether it’s songs or here.

    the descriptions of painkiller got me twitchy i need to hear it so bad…

    take care

  23. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 11 August 2008 at 7:27 pm #

    Feral children? I belong to Alley Cat Allies and Alley Cat Rescue- organizations that protect feral cats.

    Jeff Beck concerts are 99 minutes long with no words spoken. Best live guitarist ever. Much more prefereable to those entertainers who want the audience to sing along and expell veritable noise pollution.

  24. avatar
    davem | 11 August 2008 at 7:48 pm #

    And love you we do!!

  25. avatar
    davem | 11 August 2008 at 7:51 pm #

    Did you all receive the e-mail from EMC advising the pre-order Painkiller T-shirts were out very soon? I’m bloomin’ gutted. Limited edition and I’m away without access to the web for a couple of weeks.
    Typical of my flippin’ luck.

  26. avatar
    steve kilbey | 11 August 2008 at 9:06 pm #

    surely we can arrange sumthin’

  27. avatar
    isolde | 11 August 2008 at 9:58 pm #

    its 50 percent the words and music
    and 50 percent the sk thrill factor

  28. avatar
    eek | 11 August 2008 at 11:33 pm #

    I have always loved your way with words, Steve. You’ve always been a source of delight and inspiration.

    And as with polydora, this blog comes at a very appropriate time for me. I recently posted a comment on a messageboard about a piece I read from another singer/lyricist that I found to be dull and plodding. I posted that I was disappointed with the writing and thought the guy could have done better. I got told if I lowered my standards I would have enjoyed it more. LOL!

    I’m so grateful I never feel I have to lower my standards to enjoy you.

  29. avatar
    davem | 12 August 2008 at 5:40 am #

    Hero of mine it’d be brilliant if we could.
    Humble thanks.


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