posted on January 5, 2018 at 10:30 pm

side on

this aint the northern hemisphere

and here summer rules in royal blue and bursting green

the surfers surf

the dealers deal

the users use

the bills hit your  letterbox

damp from the torrentials

my back courtyard is an alluvial plain peopled by bugs and ants and spiders and snails and slugs

the plants go on growing

the cactus out from thorns spring delicate unanticipated flowers

i smoke my weed i swim my laps i meet my friends

i struggle with my money

i get behind on everything

i get confused by everything

my mother has finally succumbed to forgetfulness and is going out now

on a wave of mixed up memories

the cafes are full

a new one seems to spring up each day

and there are the cashed up geezas and their bints

sipping their java and munching on the smashed avocado on spelt bread

that night they will drink boutique beers and snort some heavy cut coke

through a rolled up ubiquitous fifty dollar bill

they will watch net flix and order a svens pizza

they will go to a bar where they have to shout over the music

i have forgotten how i arrived in this place

here in this peaceful warm bedroom where i sit and type and type

there was music there was drugs there was violence

there were crowds there were cops there was sex

there was  a limo and an ambulance

you were rich poor in the middle totally bankrupt

its always summer

you pickup your girlfriend in your datsun 120b

you could get your bass amp cabinets in there

dad always puts too much chlorine in the pool and your eyes are always red

your nose is crimson with sunburn

russell and johns hair has been bleached white by the summer and the chlorine

you go to a record shop where you can stand in a booth while they play you records

you dressed in thongs you dressed in levis cords you got a western shirt

you drive down the coast to cabins and caravan park

you have poached eggs on toast  and chips for dinner

there was a full dress rehearsal

there was a police interview

there was a morning in darkness

and an evening in light

there was a time nobody knew you

and a time everybody was reading your name

you were parked in a lane off wellington st

someone had gone in a flat with your money to get you something

they were taking such a long long time

you were pushing the twins up a steep hill on a hot day

you were listening to caroline says

lou reed was softly crooning

when she takes speed they laugh and ask her

what is in your mind?

what is in your mind?

she put her fist thru the window pane

it was such a…funny feeling…

there was a 10 dollar cd shop and you lashed out on strange music you didnt understand

you shopped at the IGA and the local corner store where maurice worked

you had a wife and a bunch of kids and a station wagon car

you read the kids to sleep at night

and you and your wife were happy

there was a cheque there was another bill there was a demand for payment

there was booze and there was cordial and there were frozen soy ice creams

there was mercyndol tablets and doof doof music coming from below

i walked the kids to school and then i had a swim

i got in a plane and i flew to america

i got in a car and i drove to a show

there was a standing ovation

there was a complaint

there was a bonus and there was a deduction

there was nice room there was a hovel

there was lsd and there was passion pop

i lost most of my hearing and vision in one eye

my hair was thin

my teeth fell out

my skin now old

i paint a thousand paintings suddenly out of nowhere

i write a thousand songs

i eat a thousand meals

i go to doctors dentists and solicitors offices

i go to banks and bus sheds and terminal A

i go for walks and acupuncture and i do yoga to indian music on my balcony

my eldest daughters go to school they get jobs they become singers and models

my other daughters go to school they leave school they have boyfriends

my cars get booked they rust they fall apart they get taken away for scrap

i am in the details

there was a nasty argument

a hand went thru the pain

there was blood on a towel

there was not a person waiting around for you

the summer burns on into night

you buy lollies and eat em as you plod on up yer street

the shots have blurred

the snaps are stale

the words are mechanical

the chances of winning almost nil

the surveillance camera twitches in its nest

your numberplate makes you easy to find

the keys jam in the locks

the screws turn within the bolt

they lock you out and out and out and out

the line goes taut

the line goes dead

someone on the other end just an electronic bark

the reception is patchy

the freezer has thawed

people can hear you shouting down the street

when cars slow down looking for a park

and the sea at the end of the street like a dark green undulating field

and someone explains some new dismal thing which has just happened

and the weather forecast says no rain as you stand there getting drenched

back at home past present future split

the 3 ways forward and the 3 ways backwards

the trap the snare the jaw the imprisonment

the feint the blow the weave the woof

the girls who wrote to you said theyd do anything for ya

the men wrote to you told you where to go

in the the grinding miasma of my twisted dreams where I’m skewered side on

in the temporary hold on my credit

in the grease left on the brown paper by the cake

in the stuff that wouldnt wash off the plates

in the indentation of where you lay against the sky

in the febrile thoughts in hypnogogic states

in all the nameless nights that lead up to lent

and the characters you cant type out with your alphabet

and the dumb ideas your stumble upon with your thumb

the dalliances with some countess of the scene burned numb and snow blind

and the saint who helped jesus score

and the cat who shot up achilles

and the guy under the fluro who looks like a spook

and the sad ladies who sit there with empty eyes from crying

and the angry guys who have believed all of the lies

and the disappointed children trying to make everything all better

the bats chattered hidden in the trees

australia loomed out of every ion

there was a faint sweet song on the breeze

i sit at the keyboard i type type type

my brain fires off in sequences

all its knowledge spat out at random

my dad had a lovely woody smell

the column shift on my mazda was clunky

i met a girl at dickson pool and kissed her as it began to rain

i ran around a tennis court at night

i tripped on mescaline and remembered all those other lives

and i pierced the thin veneer of civilisation

and i lived a hundred years in a few hours

and it was 10 01 pm

sleep was taking me down

my thoughts become cloudy and condense

the memory of brilliant nights

the agony of separation

the used car place lit up at night all empty

the motel with sea-views and pool. AC .colour tv

the grey fences rotting away

the smell of seaweed upon the beach

and the seabirds that pick thru it

ocean city or malibu or brighton or bondi

its summer and its dressed in a black cloak with stars

and its limitless horizons stretch out to the shores of her heaven

its romantic down the back of the club with that tiny sweetie

oh steve she said

i just want you to see what you are doing

in the dull glare of a fake candlelight i know i had one too many

1 2 many

in the chatter and buzz of the stupid nightclub

where im sweating like a horse

my face is quite red and my pupils are huge

my white shirt looks good with my tan

i pretend to be skinnier then

i order a platter of fruit and more champagne altho by now in underground carpark

ive lost my ticket and the waiters have all gone to bed

round at your place someone in the shower says

i’ll be out in a minute darling forever

and then when you go in theres no one even there

youre tired now as fuck as your old eyes dim over with mist

you lay down in the forgiving darkness

afraid of the dreams that are brewing in your once brilliant mind

you burnt out your clutch with too many revs

you slipped down the charts and there was nothing you could do

people ignored what you did it didnt matter anymore

at night when you lay down you rush out of your head

you fly round the city and you see all the people

its lovely to fly i feel young i feel free

i hang motionless over my own place

and i watch you writhe in your sleep

you shout out for justice and snatches of conversations

you grumble about bastards doing better than you

you crumble before dawn when you wake up aching

in the blue lake of the light fighting off Insomnia

walking down by waves as the sea raves inside your shell















28 Responses to “second prize in a beauty contest”

  1. Jmb066
    Jmb066 | 5 January 2018 at 11:51 pm #

    This post is triumphant and sad all at once, that is what you do bring out emotions with your writing wether here or in song. So sorry to hear about your mother, I can’t imagine how much that hurts, yet I know I will one day I will be there with you. Spend as much time with her as possible and remember the good times. 2nd place must have been for your external beauty, I know you have earned 1st place with inner beauty. Unless your playing Monopoly you can only get 2nd place. So as a wise man once sang “The Game Never Changes” so we make and see the best of it.

    Take Care,


  2. avatar
    andy | 6 January 2018 at 9:50 am #

    back with a bang……….

  3. avatar
    Cocoamo | 6 January 2018 at 4:01 pm #

    Holy Moses.

    Your life flashing before your eyes?

    Glad you’re okay anyway. Relatively speaking. Was getting worried.

    “you lay down in the forgiving darkness
    afraid of the dreams that are brewing in your once brilliant mind”

    Indeed. But then, the darkness was never forgiving for me. That’s when I have to fight the demons and try to jump to the alternate universe.

    Anyway, you’ve lived enough life for three people. At least.

    Hope things sort out. Sorry about your mum. Coffee is supposed to help, really. Also, they give people drugs for all sorts of things and the side effect is dementia-like symptoms. I’ve seen several people who seemed to have gone round the bend regain normal mental function when their medications were stopped. Also, for surgery, they love adding an amnesiac to the anesthesia (i.e. Versed) so people forget the surgery, but it can also destroy memory permanently. Oh – one more – sometimes B12 deficiency shows up like this, and tests don’t reveal the deficiency. Our guts slow down making intrinsic factor at age 40, it’s about gone by age 70, and no amount of ingested B12 gets absorbed. There’s a company that makes a B12 called Methyl-Mate that can be sprayed into the nose and it gets absorbed about as well as an injection. Worth a try. Heard a lecture by a doctor who was making a crusade of touring nursing homes and magically “curing” many “dementia” patients by injecting them with B12.
    Sorry, now’s a bit late to warn you on these. This is kind of personal, if you want to leave it out of your blog.

    Your Friend in Pennsylvania
    (Now in Cocoa Beach)

  4. avatar
    Chris | 6 January 2018 at 5:10 pm #

    Kerouac eat ya heart out….on the road again….thankfully

  5. avatar
    Perry from Florida | 6 January 2018 at 8:05 pm #

    Stream of consciousness second to none!

  6. avatar
    r.richiec | 9 January 2018 at 1:23 pm #

    Man that was one of yer best

  7. avatar
    briefcandle | 10 January 2018 at 10:48 am #

    There were some nice lines in that last one. Reminded me of Cortazar at times. I had a friend who once said to me : “Any God who could have created beings with such short, finite lives, and with awareness of their finitude and inevitable Death , such a God surely has to be a sadist” Less Likely a Personal God and more like the Big Sky that is too big to sympathize. Even with all the Eastern Wisdom though , life is a sad affair and kind of a raw deal. Reminds me of that Woody Allen Joke : The two old Ladies complaining at the restaurant . One says how the food tasted horrible, and the other says ” Yeah, and such small portions too”

  8. avatar
    Ingrid | 10 January 2018 at 4:50 pm #

    Brilliantly relatable!

  9. avatar
    davem | 11 January 2018 at 5:47 am #

    Welcome back SK – I’ve missed you.
    This is the northern hemisphere and it’s cold, damp and fucking miserable.


  10. kevinbreton
    kevinbreton | 14 January 2018 at 8:15 pm #

    Was this the face that launched a thousand ships and which burnt the topless towers of illium? Fair Helen make me a mortal with a kiss

  11. avatar
    Wayno | 15 January 2018 at 2:41 pm #

    Nice one – the drudgery, the tedium, the sublime, the transcendent, all tumbling out. Sorry to hear about your Mum, mine is 90 this week and still pretty sharp although the cracks are starting to appear.

  12. avatar
    Therese | 19 January 2018 at 12:42 pm #

    Congrats on a standout performance last nite.
    May be biased but u stole the show. Grant was there with u all the way and he
    would be so proud of the kind words his friend said about him.
    As soon as u came on stage I had to smile as some people in the crowd were so excited to see u and were saying that’s Steve Kilbey! D n I were excited too.
    Think I know what cd I’ll be playing on the weekend.
    The “Glow & Fade” KK cd is definitely the best one. It lived up to all the glowing reviews. U two are a formidable team and I hope u can talk Martin into doing a Sydney gig.
    Have a good weekend.
    Peace & love

  13. avatar
    Lady Di | 19 January 2018 at 1:58 pm #

    Great show at the State last night SK, loved that you got top billing, as well you should. Everyone did a good job, especially you and no-one tells an anecdote quite like our beloved time being. But what was with the guy in the green dress? Wardrobe malfunction? Didn’t get it.
    Anyway, your dear friend Grant would have been watching from above and been so proud of you SK.

    Love Di

  14. avatar
    matthew | 19 January 2018 at 6:51 pm #

    Utterly brilliant.

  15. avatar
    Eskaedor | 22 January 2018 at 1:00 am #

    Lonesome lightning. Bottled, corked, forgat. Tossed in at the river mouth. Defying expectations, climbing blackwards. Finesse inclined. After all you’re mine. Drugs, fine.

  16. avatar
    mattyc | 24 January 2018 at 11:56 am #

    A vivid montage of consciousness-eternal and succinct. There is a beauty in sadness that we must see to remain sane…

  17. kevinbreton
    kevinbreton | 25 January 2018 at 1:26 pm #

    Hey Kilbey. I am in such a “feel” state. What a gem of a song. “Oh this is loneliness. Oh what a bitter thing Zefram. This loneliness how can you bare it?” When a man turns on himself he turns on all the beautiful faces that once smiled on him as a kid as a jester as a lad. The yellow ness of bitterness. The purples of luxury. The blues of tomorrow’s skies. Feel….. Feel…feel……

  18. kevinbreton
    kevinbreton | 25 January 2018 at 1:37 pm #

    In a forest a monk must sing a lullaby just as in an igloo a monk must have many names. There are trees that may well tune a piano. Miniature men they’re all writing with a pen now. Write over there miniature pen boy. An elephant is simply a record player with a trunk

  19. avatar
    Verdelay | 5 February 2018 at 9:24 am #

    “i am in the details”

    I wanted to say something back, for it to be meaningful to both of us. But then I remember that you don’t know me at all. We are just asymmetry made flesh.

    For some reason it’s the little sequences that involve a woman at night, in the warmth and out of the rain, that mean the most to me. That’s the Australia I remember. A fiction I composed from resemblances and living tissue. But it was oh-so vivid. Once again, I t is late at night in Brisbane in the summer and I’m 18…19…20 (going, going, gone) and I have no idea at all, and yet I understand so much more of what is to come than I do even now. Even now. You see him there and just want to talk to him, to hold him in your arms and explain everything, apologise for everything, comfort him and confide in him, but he doesn’t want you there. He’s embarrassed by you. Your’re just a thin edge, a wedge of used up permutations, a reminder that the dice that have yet to land will have to land. You are an inevitability. He wants possibility. So what use are you?

    I’m reaching for something, and of course I see you’ve already made a meal of it. You offer me some, which is kind of you really. We will eat the same thing together again, only this time in silence.


  20. avatar
    Mark Ezra Merrill | 5 February 2018 at 3:31 pm #

    …but eye’z there in the ashes one early phoenix morning its back against one brick wall eye found itself busily encoding the night’s hieroglyphic significance (earlier that day eye’z tagged that city good man!) eye’z supposed its little ‘impromptu church sale’ didn’t earn it enough good-karma-credit because the beast who had swallowed U rumbled and then skybee** flew off zig zagged out of isight and this one lonely naked eye waz left to watch gog and agog falling from the sky eye’z stranded back in 1984 that is if it waz ever there at all…

  21. avatar
    traceyepona | 4 June 2018 at 7:32 pm #

    been a long while since I’ve been here, this space. time to be back, tick tock.
    re your post – my humanness (?) is triggered – emotions I don’t have the capacity to reveal in words. feel’s good to be back. namaste

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