posted on July 25, 2006 at 10:28 pm

reedy n me drivin along thru the desert
in reedys infinity
reedys fiddlin round with the stereo
man hes got some weird stuff
popol vuh
some french guy who does this sci fi thing
the roof slides back
the hot dry air rushes in
my thin fine hair flies up in a tornado
reedys huge beard is parted into a fork
vultures way up in that cloudy angry sky
the weird music n the weird scenery n the weird drugs
make everything combine in my system
i cant tell if im hearing the scenery
or looking at the music
kraut rock from the 1970s
desert from now
the desert is now
the desert allows no memory or projections
the desert has been waiting for me patiently
the desert in so many of my songs
the desert says at last
youve come home to me
stop the car
i say to reedy
you dont wanna get out steve he says
its 120 degrees out there n everythings gonna wanna kill ya…
no no its alright i say
he shrugs his shoulders
i climb out
the sun is excruciating
i stumble over rocks n stones
i look back at reedys white infinity
but everything has vanished in the heat haze
everything has disappeared
i am in the wilderness at last
the hinterland
the no mans land
things rustle n slide n move
i am no longer afraid
and then
miracle of miracles
the sky opens up
a blessed monsoon
i see the cactii snatch the rain from the air
small colourful birds appear and scatter
a fox or coyote in the distance all bedraggled
the rain falls around me but not on me
the desert protects me with its warm arms
the desert says you were always mine
the desert says youre tired, sleep a little
a small dark woman appears outta nowhere
i try to talk
she holds her finger to her lips
she is old beyond years
she is younger than tomorrow
her nose is like a hawks
her hair is black threaded with blue n white
her nails are like talons
her eyes are like 2 black stars
she shakes her head slowly
as she looks at me
we are in her house suddenly
i try to sit up
i say but reedys waiting for me back there
she smiles but she doesnt understand
its dark n cool in here
a desert owl perches on a windowsill
half in half out
the smell in here, strange yet familiar
something ive smelt before like herbs or something
markings on the wall must be navaho or something
the monsoon keeps on falling
she opens her back door and an ocelot strolls in
elegantly grooms itself n stretches out
on the cool stone floor
she gives me some food
im a vegeta….i begin to say
she holds out her hand towards the food
please eat now her eyes say
its some kind of soup
its delicious
she reaches out takes my hand n squeezes it
she says something at last in a language i have never heard
but i understand the meanings
youve wandered long my husband
no no theres some mistake i try to say
but the words come out all wrong
the mirror on the wall in the gloom
reflects some other face than mine
older n younger than mine
long nose, black hair, dark eyes
its you she says
the real you

the desert is outside
its all around
its everywhere
to think that there are oceans and cities out there anywhere
to imagine offices with fluorescent lives
pop charts n maps of love
to try to remember someone elses life
the people
the rush n the noise
well its impossible
the desert banishes these fictions
theres no fucking internet
theres no traffic jams n starbux
theres no sydney harbour bridge or eiffel towers
theres just the desert
and it looks after its own
and the cactii bloom and we make sweet sauces from its flowers
the underground water is cool n refreshing
the beasts stay outta each others way
one day i walked with the ocelot further than ever before
we came to a white car rusted on the side of a road
overgrown n reclaimed by the desert
i looked up real close
the car musta been there for years n years n years
there was a badge that was rusted away
but where the letters had been
i could still read the word

63 Responses to “ocelot”

  1. avatar
    calling down baal and zeus | 25 July 2006 at 11:36 pm #

    lord of the flies all this shimmer s makin me hungry for some boomers ,….what a dark purpleish read this is turnin out to be ,.. imagin your imagination ,…man looks into mirror says you know me better than i do……

  2. avatar
    Anonymous | 25 July 2006 at 11:37 pm #

    Steve, quite simply, this prose is a masterpiece.

  3. avatar
    Queen Hatshepsut | 25 July 2006 at 11:37 pm #

    Wow. The desert’s been good to you now!
    I love the desert beyond all other places.
    When I die I want my ashes scattered in the vastness…
    along with this blog.
    You captured the essence of everything I’ve ever
    felt about the desert.
    And BTW, I want some of whatever you’re on. 😉

  4. avatar
    Anonymous | 25 July 2006 at 11:39 pm #

    the heat stroke is working wonders…

  5. avatar
    MarkM | 25 July 2006 at 11:51 pm #

    Todays blogge was a beautiful thing….I just finished reading it to the guys at work, who of course now all think I’m tripping. Makes me want to be in the desert instead of freezing here on the Central Coast of nsw today….give me the heat over the cold any day. Keep the good stuff coming steve….

  6. avatar
    Brian Turner | 25 July 2006 at 11:58 pm #

    You are the lizard king – you can do anything….

    Lets swim to the moon.. uh huh
    Lets ride to the tide…

    How is tha peyote????

    See ya in Atlant(a)is….

  7. avatar
    fantasticandy | 26 July 2006 at 12:07 am #

    high on life itself! beautifull!

  8. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 July 2006 at 12:24 am #

    feeling, growing, communing with all and then illuminating absent blog readers with the experience.
    thank you for the magic you weave.


  9. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 July 2006 at 12:32 am #

    Only mad dogs & those of English decent……

  10. avatar
    Renee | 26 July 2006 at 12:45 am #

    So your true self has been revealed to you,
    what we have known all along
    your a wise, old soul
    a shaman
    why do you think we gravitate to you,
    because you provide medicine for our ailing spirits
    your a guide for us through this dark chasm
    take the wilderness with you, and keep it in you always
    learn to walk between two worlds
    and in the midst of all the chaos,
    you will always have the desert

    Interesting facts about your totem animal:

    Ocelot’s Wisdom Includes~

    Regeneration through solitude
    Connection with physical and spiritual worlds
    Ability to be in two places at once
    Clear vision
    Connection to the unseen

  11. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 July 2006 at 1:03 am #

    awesome awesome awesome ! ! !

    love this post!

    in the vein of carlos castaneda. i’m jealous of this experience. and agreed only that desert can bring you insights like that. and perhaps what ever you’d taken.

    i’d like to hear more about this please?

    take care and soak it all up – it’s all there for you.

  12. avatar
    Handyman | 26 July 2006 at 1:08 am #

    so fucking cool….

    that’s it


  13. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 July 2006 at 1:10 am #

    Shear Brilliance! thank you Mr. Kilbey!

  14. avatar
    General Catz | 26 July 2006 at 1:29 am #

    i think only somewhere as forlorn and dangerous as the desert (reedy was right – it will try to kill you at every turn) can pull something this poetic out of someone.

    i remember nights from my youth out in this desert you write of, watching the stars, in total blackness, thinking this must be the last place on earth.

    perhaps i was right.

  15. avatar
    syrinx | 26 July 2006 at 1:30 am #

    This post is gorgeous. Makes me want to break out into a Joni Mitchell chorus. Collect a few more desert anecdotes for us.

    Won’t you?

  16. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 July 2006 at 1:35 am #

    Mr. Kilbey.


    You punched my ticket with that one.

    Wordsmith of thoughtscapes.


  17. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 July 2006 at 1:40 am #

    actually i met sk once in a mall in atlanta. it was sharper image.
    his eyes were dilated. all i could muster was thank you very much, mr. kilbey. well, i was twenty years old.

    why oh why not asheville
    myrtle beach, argh!!!!!

  18. avatar
    mike a | 26 July 2006 at 1:46 am #

    It seems like the desert landscape and bad weather bring out your best blogs!!

  19. avatar
    Rama Dee | 26 July 2006 at 1:52 am #

    nice comment renee.

  20. avatar
    warner | 26 July 2006 at 2:02 am #

    Yeah, you fucking nailed it. That’s the desert, exactly. I hope you’ll spend some time between ABQ and Santa Fe; it’s there, you’ll see. I’m not inclined to believe in God: The desert encourages me otherwise.

  21. avatar
    Tony Pucci | 26 July 2006 at 2:45 am #

    sk, applause
    by far one of your best posts
    posts? seems a small word
    a lovely piece of writing

  22. avatar
    CSTCoach | 26 July 2006 at 3:07 am #


    You nailed it full on, brother. You tapped that true, pure desert vein. That’s one of my special places, one of those places that resonates deeply with me. Been to the Sonoran, the Gobi, the Taklamakan (as you know). It burns away the superfluous, and there is nothing else. I place a finger alongside my nose and nod in your direction. I feel that we have a shared insight, that shared knowing that comes of touching the soul of a place. I’ve only tapped that with one other person (the guy in the photo in that magazine article).

    Speaking of places, you said one of your five would be an island in the Adriatic. As you know I’ve been writing this hack column for a toronto rag. this past week i wrote on Island Paradises (one of mine was the Adriatic). This one’s for you, druid.

    Knock em dead on the tour!!


  23. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 July 2006 at 3:28 am #

    Oh how beautiful sk, “awesome” as locals would say.
    You mention “hinterland”, which reminds me of that book “winterland” you recommended, well I can’t find it anywhere! No bookstore seems to have many or any copies of E.Hands books which is a pain.
    That’s another thing I love about NYC…anything you want, you can get!

    Love you always,

  24. avatar
    fergal | 26 July 2006 at 3:57 am #

    nice one sk!
    did u get any sand in your sandals?
    did the peyote plants get any of that monsoon rain?

  25. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 July 2006 at 4:00 am #

    Very beautiful post sk. Bee careful of the drugs. You understand though. Im sure you do.
    Tomorrow after work, my twin brother and i are heading off to hobby airport in houston, and im picking up my brother there. He is flying in from Dallas. After we load him and his belongings into the car, we are heading down to the Meridian. Its going to be a blast! And if we are the only people there at the end, then we are the only people in houston that know what real music is.
    Galveston TX

  26. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 July 2006 at 4:01 am #

    U better watch it or the missus might get jealous.
    On another note:
    Dave Dobbyn on a rainy nite at the Vanguard – full house – full band.
    As you would know, a difficult place to watch a band when it’s packed .
    Dave was brilliant tho – there were about 20 twenty yr old Sydney Uni students who had just been skiing in Queenstown who had been singin that da da da song of Dave’s all trip & came to see him which is kinda cute but you would know that Mr Dobbyn is more talented than that song.
    Very soulful, very american country , beautiful voice.
    A true talent like yourself & Grant.

    Dutch Pierre

  27. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 July 2006 at 4:07 am #

    Maaan Good drugs alright SK!!!! Kilbey & Reedy – aka – Thelma & Louise

    Paul L


  28. avatar
    Trickster | 26 July 2006 at 4:32 am #

    …troubled by the rumblin’ of a million distant cars…

    iss reel man. reel.

    iss th’ everlasting sky, man!

    They say Ka Ka Geesick (Chippewa shaman) was over a 120 when he died-
    the year eye was born-
    he only spoke Ojibwa
    and when tourists asked him “How old are you Ka Ka Geesick?”

    He replied, “Many, many moons!”


    you are a shaman


  29. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 July 2006 at 4:48 am #

    Did someone say peyote…..?


  30. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 July 2006 at 4:51 am #

    dear sk
    i’d love to
    see the
    you’d paint
    to accompany


  31. avatar
    Cameras 4 Eyes | 26 July 2006 at 4:57 am #

    who booked this summer tour across the american southwest?


  32. avatar
    Lynnster | 26 July 2006 at 5:15 am #

    Beautiful and so vivid. My hat’s off to you, Mr. Kilbey…

  33. avatar
    La Convivencia | 26 July 2006 at 5:29 am #

    bloody beautiful, man. brilliant. brilliant.

  34. avatar
    Rick O'Shea | 26 July 2006 at 5:59 am #

    After Nov , you charge for this , I pay ..end of !!

  35. avatar
    Galamor the wizard | 26 July 2006 at 6:21 am #

    Yeah Yeah Yeah, we’ve all read Carlos Castenada sk!!!! Did your nose lengthen and did you take flight free as a bird? (Lots of stupid Beatle hidden meanings later…)

  36. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 July 2006 at 6:24 am #

    Out here on the perimeter…

    we are blogged immaculate…

  37. avatar
    dig | 26 July 2006 at 8:52 am #

    You’re an incredible writer SK, a real writer, up there with the best of them (as in the classics), I truely mean that.

  38. avatar
    daniel | 26 July 2006 at 9:00 am #

    shimmering and profound–painfully… deliciously familiar–the desert is at once the most giving lover i have ever known, and the most sinister sort of killer–immortal beloved, once we have tasted of this arrid wine and this insipid famine, our union shall not be put asunder…

  39. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 July 2006 at 9:51 am #

    he walked down the ailes
    in search for the hero with a thousand faces
    Joseph Campbell everywhere..
    but it comes to me
    in a word, the title
    Popul Vuh
    I say.. uh huh?
    heard they rock colors and delics
    actually a book on Mayan mythology
    actually today
    for all time..

    I am the essence of the essence
    I am pure and perfect
    as is all and all
    I am in everything
    in all lives
    in the universe
    Everything is Everything
    essence = essence
    infinately infinite

    jaimito r.

  40. avatar
    Amy Jane | 26 July 2006 at 9:53 am #

    Beautiful…wish i could find the desert today….so you gave us a little slice…glad u enjoying the ride…
    x Amy

  41. avatar
    sue cee | 26 July 2006 at 10:45 am #

    Im almost feeling disappointed that you’ll be leaving this place, gorgeous words. You made me remember again how beautiful my desert home can be and yet for the first time in months its raining here and turning green … with envy


  42. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 July 2006 at 10:48 am #

    hehe, trickster said nanabozhoo! woooo…gramma used to scare me with that.

    shinnobs all over, hey SK, gawd damb, you made my eyes water.

    Us ndns are everywhere and nowhere at all. I’ll see you when you get here.

    Dont forget.

  43. avatar
    cleo patter | 26 July 2006 at 11:09 am #

    Wild thing, you make my heart sing
    you make everything grrroovy
    Wild thing….

  44. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 July 2006 at 11:33 am #

    Just lovely…

    Take’s me back to past experiences…

  45. avatar
    Sparkli Sista | 26 July 2006 at 11:37 am #

    Sublime…. Mr Kilbey….


  46. avatar
    Daberhasher | 26 July 2006 at 11:46 am #

    that’s a wicked good ‘un…

  47. avatar
    Adele Yvonne | 26 July 2006 at 11:51 am #

    theres just the desert
    and it looks after its own

    Wow, SK, really enjoyed this one. Reminds me of when I was a teenager visiting older siblings who lived not far from the Mojave. I was bewitched by the desert then and I’d forgotten about those feelings until I read this lovely poem!

  48. avatar
    veleska1970 | 26 July 2006 at 12:05 pm #

    you’ve described west texas to a “T”. i went there many years ago and i remember traveling for miles and miles and going nowhere. it took, like, forever to go from san antonio to el paso.

    that was an interesting dream you had.

    very beautiful words today, steve.

    lotza love….

  49. avatar
    in night's sky | 26 July 2006 at 12:10 pm #

    that word
    it seemed so logical
    pure, unburdened
    straight to the point
    one of two
    each within each other
    still free to be questioned
    to be found in our senses
    when we wanted to find it
    when we were ready to look
    all the others came with such baggage
    they laboured under the weight of dead years
    they tangled and knotted in the mouths of their followers
    they broke the backs of children
    made to carry them like pack horses
    they’re owned and sold
    thru two bit franchises
    on every corner of a desperate world
    any flavour you favour
    ready hot for fast consumption
    slow plaque on the arteries of souls
    wherever they are
    whatever they were
    they’ve lost their meaning
    until we re-find them
    with our own simple truth

  50. avatar
    John Garratt | 26 July 2006 at 2:02 pm #


    And you bitched about how you didn’t want to go on tour.


  51. avatar
    baby | 26 July 2006 at 2:19 pm #

    heres a smidge i call 51

    faded photograph pacific
    giant computer below it all
    colossus lit like christmas
    scorched cigarette on the sands
    finding the hidden door
    you came through in grids
    my red lipstick, rolled hair
    jealousy & metal
    neuroreflex accomplice
    & your fistfuls of data
    did i blame you sinatra
    memory thieves fly their machine
    desperate & too fast at last

  52. avatar
    Noel Christian | 26 July 2006 at 3:15 pm #

    Thank you.

  53. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 July 2006 at 3:45 pm #

    Steve – can’t wait to see you tomorrow in Austin. This’ll be my first time to see you guys. It’ll be a treat, for sure.


  54. avatar
    CeciliaGin | 26 July 2006 at 3:51 pm #

    Simplemente bello!

  55. avatar
    daydreamer | 26 July 2006 at 4:04 pm #

    I love the desert. The heat.. belongs there. But don’t forget it can get mighty cold, too.

    The American Southwest tho… has its own, I don’t know.. spirit essence. I felt it when I travelled through there several years ago. I wish you had time to visit the Pueblo Indian Museum in Albuquerque where all the myths are explained. But obviously you don’t need to, as apparently you spent a previous life there. Lucky you!

    Take care Steve. Soak up these experiences when you have the chance. And thank you so much for sharing it all.

    ps don’t worry about the peyote – its herbal.


  56. avatar
    stealthblue | 26 July 2006 at 4:47 pm #

    WHEW!!! Good times…

  57. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 July 2006 at 5:00 pm #


    Ah the American West, The Desert Southwest.

    The vast empty spaces.The tricks it plays on your mind. It brings out the best.

    It’s almost as if you and Antoine Predock speak the same vocabulary.

    How I love it. The Arizona/New Mexico Desert are part of my roots. It’s power still has a grip on parts of my soul but my gills became too dry.

    Florian Trout

  58. avatar
    The Other One | 26 July 2006 at 5:30 pm #

    Oh, LanOcelot. Lennocelot.
    Conesuela has aged a little, I guess. But this has brought wisdom and a voice that is much more her-self (relocated, undivided, of simple complexity) than the previous combination of unsew speeches. She’s very happy that you visited her even if you still don’t get it. The man on the mirror is Beside Yourself. Also a man reunited.
    “but i still wish that
    i would get
    to the
    Sometimes we have to learn it on our own till we can recognise our reflections. After being able to really see ourselves (and the other one), what else can stop us?
    Infinity and today.
    What we have here is the ability to become real.

  59. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 July 2006 at 6:04 pm #



    See you in SF next month.

  60. avatar
    Demeter | 26 July 2006 at 6:19 pm #

    to the person looking for winterlong and other books, try used books etc at good prices.

    as the sands of time slip through the hourglass…


  61. avatar
    Elsbeth | 26 July 2006 at 6:22 pm #

    *blinks eyes trying to wake from a dream* my Goddess! this has to be one of the most magical and magnificent.
    adventures I have ever been on.
    I felt I was walking along side you, wish I realy was.
    Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful this bloggy.

  62. avatar
    between planets | 26 July 2006 at 8:25 pm #

    i’m very well pleased


  63. avatar
    Andromeda7 | 27 July 2006 at 1:01 pm #


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