posted on February 12, 2011 at 5:19 am

bet yer bottom dollar you'll lose the blues in chicago, chicago

arrive in the windy city last night

this morning i stumble out n walk these mean streets

folks its fucking cold out there

freezing numbing dirty cold

so i swan into starbucks for my soy oatmeal my soy banana shake

my soy fucking latte with a double shot of caffeine because i’m a greedy bastard

yeah i’m looking pretty good aint i?

the girls behind the counter like my accent

i tell a few jokes

oooh youre a singer too theyre saying

ooh you gotta lovely voice i can hear it just talking to ya they say

i have my food n drink

i feel pretty snazzy

i gotta another possible sellout show tonite n i feel big

i feel kinda vindicated or something

i catch sight of myself in the mirror

stupid clothes for winter i guess

my face is looking a bit crumpled

my hair is a bit finer n thinner than it used to be

but i still feel quite fascinated looking at my stupid face in the window

the girls behind the counter are still flirting with me a bit

eventually with a nice full belly

i stroll outta there into the cold

feeling like quite the big shot


i hear a voice coming from a pile of dirty snow

are you warm enough honey dressed like that?

there sits an old lady

i guess shes around my own mothers age (about 80!)

i tell her i got thermal underwear on

and i squat down n start talking to her

she is not drunk nor has she been drinking

she is not suffering from dementia or any other mental problems

(as far as i can tell)

she is if anything quite dreamy

she sits there all huddled up in blankets n stuff

our breath turning to steam as we talk

we talk about thermal underwear

we talk about australia and england

we talk about the 2nd world war in which her husband fought

she does not smell

she does not ask me for money

she is lucid she is gently witty chiding me for my poor choice of clothes

eventually 10 minutes in this fucking frozen hell is all i can take

i stand up to leave

i fish round in my pocket n find a fiver

here you go i say

oh thanks honey now i’ll get something to eat she says

i fish round in my coat pocket some more

i got 800 bucks in cash cos i just got my wages the other day

i fucking give her a hundred

are you sure honey are you sure you can afford it?

yeah i’m sure i say

i say what you gonna do with it…?

she sticks it in some pocket somewhere

well you never know when you gonna be needing some money honey she says

i bend down n kiss her frozen pale cheek

good luck i say n i slip n slide off down the street

god bless you honey she says as i walk off to my warm hotel room with its blah blah blah

cmon people

what the fuck!

this aint about republicans n democrats

you had em both n still this …this treatment of old people

a fucking disgrace

one fucking smart bomb would pay for a thousand of these people to at least have a warm room

we should all be ashamed

all of us!

and god must be fucking weeping to look down on it

it sure took the wind outta my fucking sails

imagine if it was your own mother ……

sk deeply saddened

chicago winter 2011……

62 Responses to “heartbreaker”

  1. avatar
    robertmadore | 12 February 2011 at 5:54 am #

    Fucking well said! Thank you Steve…

  2. avatar
    phersh2 | 12 February 2011 at 5:59 am #

    Steve, High Temperatures are forecast to be in mid to upper 50’s in D.C. for the Birchmere show in Alexandria, VA on Sunday.

    The whole East Coast should be in a warming trend all next week too šŸ™‚

    (The benefit of having meteorologists as fans šŸ™‚

  3. avatar
    . | 12 February 2011 at 6:06 am #

    You’re a good man Steve. I’m sure the old lady will forever remember your face. Good karma begets good karma. Thanks for the inspiration. Seriously.

  4. avatar
    william | 12 February 2011 at 6:11 am #

    killer you are the MAN. your very kind gesture warmed the heart of this reader and certainly lowered the frigid temperature in chicago a couple of degrees at least.

    met you yet again last year when you bravely played on long island. told you how i download and save your blog posts for future inspiration.

    HOPING to see you in NYC next week (particularly as P=A is my favorite church release of ALL time. in fact, told you guys that backstage at the bowery ballroom those years ago as you all so generously signed it for me). problem is bb king’s doesn’t guarantee a seat and this 50 year old’s bad back won’t be able to take standing for 3+ hours. i’d gladly pay extra for a seat at the table, but the club doesn’t offer that.

    i know i’ll kick/kill myself if i skip this historic event.

    rock on killer and kompany!

    • avatar
      NYC_Rich | 12 February 2011 at 2:29 pm #

      William I already got tickets for BB King’s and I’ve been there before. If you get there 30 minutes before showtime you shouldn’t have a problem getting a seat. It’s a good place to see a show and a good place to see SK and the crew. Can’t wait!

      • avatar
        william | 15 February 2011 at 12:44 am #

        thanks for the advice, rich. any chance you could save me a seat? besides the bad back, i also provide after-school care for my wonderful 8-yr. old grandson (and church fan), so getting there is gonna be tight.

        no problem, if not. i just may have to risk traction to see this show!

  5. avatar
    Paige | 12 February 2011 at 6:33 am #

    Bless your heart (as my great Auntie Liz woulda said). That sweet woman. Wonder where her family is? How she got this way? So very sad… :(. Too many slaps in my face from the dark side this week. I want it to be summer and surf and sun and smiles…

  6. avatar
    Ryan | 12 February 2011 at 6:36 am #

    You’re a good man SK.

  7. avatar
    betty | 12 February 2011 at 6:39 am #

    Beautiful story. Your kindness will come back to you ten-fold.

    All the best to you.

  8. avatar
    Colin | 12 February 2011 at 6:43 am #

    Bravo SK, we should all be more like you, best wishes, keep rocking. Best wishes.

  9. avatar
    Craig Young | 12 February 2011 at 6:44 am #

    Same sorta thing happened to me about 6 months ago. She was telling me her story and I just felt compelled to help her. So I gave her 300 dollars. She just started crying. People shouldn’t have to be without. Everyone should have the basic necessities that so many take for granted. The playing field should be level! Imagine a world where everyone has food, shelter, and the like. What a much better world for all of us. It’s way past time to shift the paradigm. It warmed my heart to read that you had done the same thing. Just thought I’d share my experience with you. All Is One.

  10. avatar
    Jane Wilkinson Franssen | 12 February 2011 at 6:46 am #

    Just had to share this story. What an easy thing to do hey. The world needs more like you in every way xoxoxo

  11. avatar
    mari hall | 12 February 2011 at 6:48 am #

    Steve you are sooo cool!!! May your heart be blessed. You are my kind of people.

  12. avatar
    steven koontz | 12 February 2011 at 6:55 am #


  13. avatar
    BROKEN TOYS AND HEROS | 12 February 2011 at 6:56 am #

    Not a day goes by in my life, in this city, that I do not come across someone who needs some help. I was taught by my parents, especially my father, to always do what is right-and what is true from the heart.
    Thank you for sharing that story with all of us today and for helping a complete stranger, who now will forever remember you as ‘the good looking guy with the accent…dude should of dressed a lot warmer, but I’m never gonna forget him’. Thank you so much. I will see you in a couple hours, I have something for you that I bought awhile ago…but it seems so fitting that I get to share something that I love and hold dare to my heart (about my city and the people who are the recipe for its strength and charm), with a friend from many many miles away, basically…a complete stranger.

    Darrin K.

  14. avatar
    jaime r.. | 12 February 2011 at 6:58 am #

    Bless ur heart there SK.. It harsh out here in this cold.. I cant help but give as well as I can.. and more readily to share in some human kindness.. All is One indeed..

  15. avatar
    further | 12 February 2011 at 7:01 am #

    how pretty. see, knew it, you are wonderful when it’s suppose to be that way and you are not blind — not too many can say that.

    you know, a girlfriend and I were talking about this a few weeks ago…

    What if: here, in the US: they evicted all the inmates out of the prisons and allowed our country’s poverty stricken older people in their place (without the bars, of course)?

    Then our seniors would have 24/7 free medical care; care-takers to make sure they don’t fall and then just lie there all alone by themselves til their death of a simple fall, heat and air conditioning (free), free legal help, three meals a day, clean clothes, clean linens, cable tv, workout/exercise equipment, free postage to write their loved ones — an actual address that their loved ones could come see them, art classes, other classes, a library, and all the other stuff our country gives murders, etc. — but, yet — our old people (who paid into when they were younger), are neglected and left alone without…

    Good old USofA — our logic sometimes escapes me.

  16. avatar
    Martha | 12 February 2011 at 7:06 am #

    Thank you for keeping some good going in this world. You’re absolutely right about how fucked up a place this is that, with all our wealth and resources, we can’t see clear to take care of our own – socially, economically, and (therefore) politically. People who work their lives through should never have to face freezing to death on the street in their old age. It is our shame, if only more of us would feel it, things may get done on a larger scale.
    and I think of my parents, too, who seem to have a much less stable retirement here than my aunts and uncles overseas. and I hope they’re doing as well as they say…

  17. avatar
    hellbound heart | 12 February 2011 at 7:07 am #

    you’re a good man, steve…..
    stuff like that makes you count your blessings, and i DO agree with you….a society can be measured on how it treats its very old, very young and its infirm…..our society has a lot to answer for
    love always……

  18. avatar
    Belfrank | 12 February 2011 at 7:09 am #

    Hi SK,
    This really moved me and hats off to you for going the extra mile. I know you didn’t write about it or do it to get pats on the back. Your name isnt Bono after all. He’d have brought a news crew. šŸ™‚

    Looking forward to catching up with you next week.
    Stay warm

  19. avatar
    Cecilia | 12 February 2011 at 7:09 am #

    Walk a mile, don’t judge, help when you can, pay it forward…always

  20. avatar
    Narelle | 12 February 2011 at 7:10 am #

    Hello Steve
    and what if that dear lady becomes ill, will anyone even notice?…an all too familiar story (with a touch of poetry)…and so deeply sad. And the generations since? older, but not necessarily wiser…the not too impressive inherited mess of our Planet Earth…so much to do and so little time!!!!!
    anyway, back to the music, maybe best to keep the throat out of the chilly air…or maybe catch some arty, farty exhibit if theres time
    take care

  21. avatar
    Once | 12 February 2011 at 7:22 am #

    This made me laugh my ass off (first part – oh that weather, I remember it well), and then skid to a stop with the shame and rage of living in a country where there is such a monstrous gap between those of us with a sunny warm day, food in the fridge, comfy sofa and laptop (yep, me) – and this woman.

    What do any of us really “have” if we don’t have compassion for others? What a cold and useless existence.

    This is brilliantly written. And more than that, it is 100% cut-to-the-bone truth.

    I think instead of sitting here fawning today, I shall find something useful to do. Something that makes a difference.

    Thanks for that.

  22. avatar
    Anna Amnesia | 12 February 2011 at 7:37 am #

    sad and beautiful…
    I recently found out my birth mother is alive and well when I had feared she had horrible life and passed away. Guess someone like you was kind to her.

  23. avatar
    cruikshank | 12 February 2011 at 7:37 am #

    You got it, Steve. We have no government here anyway. Most of the gov works or used to work with Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, etc. It’s shameful. Great writing today about our little city, which sold itself out a long time ago more than anybody cares to know. Can’t wait to see the show tonight. It’s been 24 years since I started listening to TC, and I’ve never been able to catch a show. Keep writing.

  24. avatar
    babbaganoosh | 12 February 2011 at 7:41 am #

    There are systems in place to feed the poor in spades here killer. But you can’t force everyone to take adavantage of them and sad to say there was probably a substance abuse problem there of some sort.

  25. avatar
    princey | 12 February 2011 at 8:00 am #

    That made me feel so sick and so sad…..where does all that Govt money go????
    Heartbreaker indeed.

    Take care sk,
    love Amanda

  26. avatar
    Steven Krut | 12 February 2011 at 8:07 am #

    That was a very nice gesture and I agree about how maddening it is. You’ve lived here, so you know how ridiculous our politics are. šŸ˜› Good to see you in such lofty spirits. Looking forward to the Atlanta show.

  27. avatar
    greenback | 12 February 2011 at 8:42 am #

    if charity begins at home
    then you’ve shown that you are at home wherever you are
    you’re a good man SK (despite all your protestations to the contrary)

  28. avatar
    matthew | 12 February 2011 at 8:53 am #


  29. avatar
    bittyboo | 12 February 2011 at 9:01 am #

    Didn’t you hear? We have obama, nobody goes hungry now and all wars are ended and not escalated. Carry on.

  30. avatar
    jen | 12 February 2011 at 9:44 am #

    sigh …
    yes strategy required

  31. avatar
    Jonny Hollywood | 12 February 2011 at 10:48 am #

    you were being tested, do I or don’t I help this old lady out??? you did exactly what I would have done, help the homeless!!!

  32. avatar
    captain mission | 12 February 2011 at 10:53 am #

    ah…you gotta heart full of soul man. that’s a beautiful thing.

  33. avatar
    lisa k | 12 February 2011 at 11:08 am #

    You are truly beautiful Steve..inside and out. Not just because you gave her that money, but because you actually took the time to sit and speak with her, and see her as a kind, sweet person. I’m sure you realise that most people just ignore her or toss a dollar or two at her to alleviate their guilt. Not you. Because you are kind and sweet too.

  34. avatar
    Tracey | 12 February 2011 at 11:49 am #

    Thanks for sharing that SK, am imagining how much more your heart centre has opened after that encounter. Namaste again my friend.

  35. avatar
    Lady Di | 12 February 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    That could be me one day. The old become invisible and kindness seems to be becoming obsolete.

    Glad the tour’s going so well. Keep it up.

  36. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 12 February 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    Heartrending blog augments my lack of faith in mankind day. Sk actually e-mailed me today to give me a chance to finally meet him at the concert. My “friend” from Wisconsin calls me at 6:30 pm “Ah Brien I’m not going to drive in because I think it’s sold out.” I call my very married friend who went with me to see the Church at the house of House of Blues two years ago and the Park West approximately a year to 15 months ago. This friend is really loyal and tries as hard as he can to get a sitter for his young kids but to no avail. I miss seeing the concert of the year and meeting SK. And yes I’m one of those people that has walked past homeless people. I have also helped them many times too !

    Lesson to USA Fans. Buy your Church tickets right away. They are suddenly more popular than ever, They are performing full-blown sold out concerts. I made the mistake of thinking I could buy tickets an hour before the show like I did for Asia (Carl Palmer, Steve Howe, John Wetton) a few years ago.

    The good news is that two other people got to see The Church. Their overdue popularity solaces me for being the reason why I missed their concert.

    I playing #23, priest=Aura and Starfish tonight as a means to vicariously be an attendee in a metapysical Brien=Jim beam and tofu way.

    • avatar
      BROKEN TOYS AND HEROS | 13 February 2011 at 12:57 am #

      I am so sorry that you missed the show. It was EPIC…that was the 14th time that I’ve seen them and it easily ranks in the top 3 of their shows. I know its no constellation but I, my son, and friends, took some amazing pictures and I would like to send them in a file when I put all the pics together. If you would like that, let me know. Again, I am so sorry.

      Darrin K.

  37. avatar
    DavidP | 12 February 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    the inequality is confounding & offensive isnt it
    and good to keep our own successes in perspective
    we are but a speck on a speck floating in infinite space
    no matter how bad we think we have got it
    there is always someone else with it far worse
    and we are our own worst enemies because of the darkness within
    which gives rise to the inequality we see in the world
    the seven deadlies have such a grip within our psyche and on the world and have done for such a long time
    governments will never improve unless humanity as a majority improves
    but how many are consciously working on themselves in this regard?
    thanks for sharing this story and your perspective with us Steve
    take care, be aware!

  38. avatar
    brian ison | 12 February 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    life is cruel
    Humanity is not humane
    The end is nigh
    The slate shall be cleansed
    And it shall begin aknew
    I would love for everyone to harmonize on
    That primal level
    But we have greed
    And desire that encompass our path

  39. avatar
    Lara | 12 February 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    Sigh. Yes.

  40. avatar
    Donna | 12 February 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    Wow…you can be really, really, GOOD. You watch… you will reap what you sow, and you will be blessed.

    I have heard a lot of people say they don’t ever give to street people, because they don’t know if that person will go and buy booze or whatever, and they justify their refusal to give by saying they send a check to such-and-such charity. But you know, God says, don’t judge. It is not for us to assume that drinking or drugs got them where they are, or worse, assume that they can’t wait to spend the money in the liquor store. Talk about judging! We must try to help all those that God places in our path (which you did <3).

    As for your Starbucks-girls…proves that ya still got it! šŸ˜‰

  41. avatar
    nickfiction | 12 February 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    my friend that was eloquent and flowed like soy milk. actually like the stuff now …. you know the almond flavoured type? I am still so fucking terrified to miss this! sure I can make excuse but i’m short of cash like many others i know. I sure hope there is a proper dvd treatment. like you always say to me….. good on ya!

  42. avatar
    andy | 12 February 2011 at 6:30 pm #

    keep warm steve, your’e a diamond geezer!

  43. avatar
    Karen | 12 February 2011 at 6:35 pm #

    its too much sometimes taking it all in
    you care thats something …..not everyone does
    so see can be a real prick as you say … but your heart is in the right place

    Im a nurse and its what I always think about with patients
    what if this person was my mother brother son …
    its called empathy most humans are capable of it… well I like to think so

  44. avatar
    SAW | 12 February 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    I am glad you had this connection today. Iā€™m also happy that you reached out (by reaching into your pocket.) But truth be told, you had me at double shot & thermal underwear. Stay heartfelt & warm. best, SAW

  45. avatar
    Homer | 12 February 2011 at 7:42 pm #

    Best bloggy entry ever.

  46. avatar
    Melissa | 12 February 2011 at 8:55 pm #

    You’re a good man Mr Kilbey

    I love our elderly citizens. I’m lucky enough to work with them.. i feel privileged šŸ™‚


  47. avatar
    Shaman Ron | 12 February 2011 at 10:57 pm #

    Well stated!

    I however also blame the super wealthy. They are the ones who really control the nation and the world. The rich put the money in the pockets of the politicians to support bs laws and projects. In turn politicians only worry about serving the wealthy ignoring the real issues in America.

    I think it was wonderful that you just spent some time with this old woman. I feel she was sent to cross your path for a reason. You answered the message.

    See you in DC! We are getting there early.

    Shaman Ron

    • avatar
      Cocoamo | 21 February 2011 at 11:46 pm #

      I agree Ron. There is an income point where people position themselves to reap the rewards of others’ labor without contributing, and some responsibility should go along with it. Unfortunately, these are hard problems to crack, especially without society’s willingness to address the true issues.

      Of course, the money spent on wars is decadent on so many levels. How many of these wars are motivated by those hoping to achieve some monetary benefit (for access to oil, for instance)?

      I used to do medical transcription at Allegheny General Hospital – located in a poor part of Pittsburgh. On one very cold, sub-zero night, the police found a half-dead homeless man and brought him to the ER. The doctors revived him, fed and warmed him up, and were preparing to evict him back to the street. In an act of complete desperation, the man grabbed an unguarded bottle of pills and swallowed the whole thing before they could stop him so they had to keep him inside. That was one of many sad reports I typed from the ER.

      Steve, you made me laugh and cry in the same blog again with your great writing and heart of gold.

      With gratitude.

      Your Friend in Pennsylvania
      (Now in Cocoa Beach)

  48. avatar
    matthew | 12 February 2011 at 11:45 pm #

    Hey Donna, I must belatedly say: that was a beautiful comment.

  49. avatar
    Abid | 13 February 2011 at 1:23 am #

    half this wretched town is starving, while the other half is bloated

  50. avatar
    sarah | 13 February 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    yes…god is weeping. beautiful and holy. be as you are….x’s a thousand. šŸ™‚

  51. avatar
    rockstar2969 | 13 February 2011 at 11:35 pm #

    Chicago show was great, very cool, a real trip, best we’ve seen, awesome, will try to catch Atlanta and or Greenville, a red cardinal against the snow, they busted that old lady yesterday with $2000 in her pocket, police say she making $300/hr, hard way to make a living, please stop giving my mom money, John L was the jealous guy, Steve K is the generous guy.

  52. avatar
    Freddie | 14 February 2011 at 10:42 am #

    It’s cool to be kind! :^)

  53. Kraig
    Kraig | 15 February 2011 at 3:07 am #

    Karma, God will put you through tests and reward you in the end.

  54. Kraig
    Kraig | 15 February 2011 at 3:09 am #

    Karm, God will put you through tests and reward you in the end.

  55. avatar
    Shannon | 17 February 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    Wow! I feel thankful that my own parents are warm and well. What a heart breaking thing that she said nothing about being hungry and she was worried about you being cold. In my job I work with the elderly and I know they go home and eat cat food. You are a good person. I have thought so for many years. I humbly wish you could think the same of me. Maybe next life. See you in Atlanta. (circle)

  56. avatar
    john sheehan | 27 February 2011 at 9:58 pm #


    On point. America is the epitome of extreme and waste. You can live on an organic farm in Vermont recycling everything while freezing your balls off or Ivan u can be an overfed undernourished food stamp collecting patron with no focus. Peter garret said it best: the rich get richer the poorer get the picture
    In my company they used to throw out trays of expensive food for corporate events and work through lunches. My greatest joys are driving to St Johns hospice homeless shelter in Philly to drop of excess foods. Ill take a smelly embrace from an appreciative homeless dude over a soft handshake from a steel cold aristocrat.
    PS i work in a suit every day my heart doesn’t
    as acts 10 :35 days: more happiness in giving than receiving”

  57. avatar
    Tanya | 9 March 2011 at 9:15 am #

    Catching up with your entries when I happened upon this one. Wow, I gotta think about this – convenience of Starbucks, warm food, sweet old woman, cold reality…You’re so right; What the fuck!!

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