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 Mark Kozelek

I left the house to check out an open mic night
though I was feeling very sick and my skin was a lighter shade of white
there was a young guy standing up on stage
with a menacing pose and wearing black shades
he was singing to playback and wearing a black shirt with a silver skull logo thingy
he sang of flying around with paper wings

and his grappling with Christianity

I tapped him on the shoulder and I said hey I liked your set
but he just shrugged at me and I thought oh yeah I get it

the rest were artists

mostly playing covers
but toward the end a woman got up and read a very vicious poem
that she had sent to an ex

she read it from her phone
it was venomous and intense and she didn't miss a beat
and after its final hard punctuated diss the whole place erupted with
applause and stood up from their seats

my nagging cough was getting worse so I had to go
but I loved all the music and the support that everyone showed
for each and every artist whether they were playing Coldplay covers
or original pieces on Seagull acoustic guitars or Casio pianos

as I left and I walked through the café
I noticed colorful portraits
I noticed colorful portraits on display
all for sale

Bowie and Prince and Beyoncé
bright purples and blues and greens and golds
but the one that stood out was one that was Mike Tyson

no wonder I would have bought that one too
nothing beats Mike's smile and his warrior face tattoo

came home and the lights were out in my upstairs bedroom

I had to run an extension cord from downstairs to get a bedside lamp goin’

the cough kept me up all night

My handyman came over in the morning and he solved the problem
by hittin’ a little switch on the wall

he called it a test button
then he told me about his sister who had passed before Christmas
due to an overdose on morphine while being hospitalized for an amputation procedure
then he dropped me off downtown so I could get somethin’ to eat and then

I walked back home through the graveyard
up hill

and more and more and uphill
and by the time I got home, my cough was so bad that tears were coming out
of my eyes

and I had the chills
I laid down in the downstairs back bedroom
like a KO’d fighter in a foetal position
knocked down by a hard body blow like what Roy Jones did to Virgil Hill
the room is white and cool.

My girlfriend will be here tomorrow—

it’s sardines and ramen tonight—
I can't wait to hear the sound of her car pullin’ up the drive

it’s nighttime and this cough is killing me
I've been awake for three nights and every time I cough

it’s like a Frazier hook shakin’ me
cars cars cars cars cars go swishing down the highway
dog dogs dogs dogs whoof whoof whooof whoof in the yards
the night is black black black black black black black

now its 5 a.m. and I'm coughin’ like a chain smoker’s asthma attack—
I'm close to sleep and I feel a dream comin’—
I see myself in the dream — the back someone's head hit my forehead
there are two eyes right above my eyes
and blood is pouring from those eyes right into my eyes
I force myself to wake and not let that nightmare happen

it’s 5:30 a.m. and the black night is a slightly lighter shade of black
sparrows are chirppin’ and I'm on high alert
I just want to sleep,

I just want to fall asleep
but I can’t;

the cough is so painful and it keeps shaking me

I’ve not been this sick since the winter of ‘93
when Katy and I spent the winter in Mendocino County
that house had a very similar vibe to this one
a wood burning stove, an awkwardly laid out old Victorian

and back then I was readin’ a Hank Williams book
now I'm reading A Game of Ghosts but I still have that old

Hank Williams
in my room to remind me of our time together,

how the times have changed;

I now sleep next to Caroline

but I'll remember you forever.

Now Caroline's back, she brought bags of groceries, and is making me chicken soup;
the yard guy texts me “hey amigo, I'm outside” and I go out and pay him

small talk small talk small talk small talk small talk small talk small talk

small talk
small talk small talk

cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough small talk cough cough cough cough
small talk


it's a new day now;
weeks have passed.
A photo of daffodils….
Ah, this is a nice surprise, this comforts me,

She sent a photo of daffodils and said they came and went fast,
I told her about mine and how lucky I felt to be able to see them this year

rising up
we lost track for a bit,

her and I,
I was in the dumps for a many days and nights and I know she was too
and that she was crying because I was told about a
message she left on someone's phone…
I tried patching things up by sending a photo of orange California poppies;
those are her favorite, but our waves at that time were still choppy.

She sent a black and white, of a train in Navarre
but I acted like I didn't care and I didn't respond

The hurt still lingers, but slightly less each day—
I lost part of her to an illness along the way—
but with each night that passes,
I'm trying to make sense of it.
To make peace with it
and to find a way to cope.

It's Saturday morning
late April.

The view is serene

and holding on to bad feelings
feels inappropriate in its glory.

The water is light blue at the bottom and
military-tan on top;
there's a light breeze in the air as I poke my head out the window.

Today I feel myself healing
encompassed by this beautiful view of the water and green hills…
And looking at a photo you sent:
a bouquet of daffodils.

Mark Kozelek is an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, record producer and occasional actor, appearing in Cameron Crowe’s critically acclaimed Almost Famous, Vanilla Sky, Steve Martin’s Shopgirl,  and as himself in Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth. Initially a continuation of the now-defunct Red House Painters, Sun Kil Moon is now Kozelek's primary recording moniker, named after the Korean lightweight boxer “Sung-Kil-Moon.” Either as Sun Kil Moon, under his own name, in collaboration—and including live albums—Kozelek has released over fifty albums over the course of his twenty-five year career. Select recent releases include the collaborative albums Mark Kozelek with Ben Boye and Jim White, 30 Seconds To The Decline Of Planet Earth with Jesu, & Yellow Kitchen with Sean Yeaton. Select solo efforts include Common as Light and Love are Red Valleys of Blood, Kozelek's latest record as Sun Kil Moon (recorded with drummer Steve Shelley), and Mark Kozelek Sings Favorites, a covers record featuring guest singers Mimi Parker, Minnie Driver, Mike Patton, Will Oldham, and Rachel Goswell, including favourite songs of Mark’s friends and loved ones. In January 2016, Mark’s collaboration with Justin Broadrick entitled Jesu/Sun Kil Moon was released via Caldo Verde and Rough Trade to positive reviews. Universal Themes—the 7th full length Sun Kil Moon album—was released in 2015. Benji, a sixth full length record by Sun Kil Moon, was released February 11th, 2014 and features guest musicians Steve Shelley, Will Oldham and Owen Ashworth. On August 20th, 2013, Caldo Verde released Mark Kozelek & Desertshore, the third record from Mark Kozelek and Phil Carney’s side project, Desertshore. 2013 also saw the release of Like Rats, featuring an eclectic mix of covers ranging from Sonny & Cher to Bad Brains and, simultaneously, the release of the Mark Kozelek and Jimmy Lavalle collaboration, Perils from the Sea. Nights of Passed Over—a collection of Mark’s lyrics—has been published in Portugal, Spain and The United States.

Daffodils is excerpted from Mark Kozelek’s collaborative record, produced with Sean Yeaton of Parquet Courts, ‘Yellow Kitchen,’ © Caldo Verde, 2017. 

The work can be heard in full here.
The unabridged lyrics from Kozelek’s Yellow Kitchen will appear in Hotel #4.


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Hotel is a magazine for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. The magazine is bi-annual, the online archive is updated periodically.


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