A Song Called
Bay of Kotor

 Mark Kozelek 

Woke up this morning hungry
I walked along the Bay of Kotor

There’s a market down there
past the sailboats
down the gravel road

I went looking for the kittens that I saw last night
and their protective mother
I found two short-haired cow-print kittens
and a little grey one
they were all cuddled up

The little grey one didn’t look up
I blew her kisses
she never turned her head
I petted her with my index finger
felt her spine
she was all bones
not much flesh
she was dying

The other two kittens
each had an eye missing
the mother sat close by and got up once to lick them
they sat quietly in an opening of the stone wall along the water
a rectangular shaped hole in the middle of the wall
with rusty iron bars

And as I watched I heard another kitten crying
from the other side of the wall
which stood about ten to twelve feet high

There is nothing I hate more than the sound of hungry animals crying

Finding a footing in the nook I climbed the stone wall
and the dog walkers looked at me is if I were mentally ill
I saw another black and white kitten on the other side of the wall
meowing “Please mommy please feed me I’m hungry”
she was looking into my eyes from the field of purple flowers
she was pawing at the wall trying to get to her mother and her sisters and brothers
stretched out from back to front paws
she was maybe a foot long
she cried wahhhh wahhh wahhh wahhhh wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

She had five feet left
to get up to the nest of her siblings
to get to her Mother’s love
for that kitty in the purple flowers her Mother didn’t budge
I could have hurled myself over to rescue the little one
but I would have broken my ankle
like Dustin Hoffman in Papillon
I walked further down the street to the market on the corner
where locals and tourists were gathered at 7 O’clock in the morning
waiting for the store to open
when it opened I walked up and down its lonely lanes
listening to customers and clerks speak in various foreign languages
I bought oranges and water and sardines and bananas
and two mega-sized cans of tuna
I carried the groceries back past the dog walkers

I saw the Mother cat with her two kittens but the grey one was gone
maybe her mother pushed her over down into the purple flowers to join the other one
when I petted the grey one earlier
her chin was leaning on the edge of the wall
face down towards the flowers
I thought of Mickey Rourke in Spun
he said “My mom was drowning kittens in the bath tub
she said why keep what you can’t feed?”

I opened the cans of tuna
and with a lid tossed some of the tuna over the wall
aiming for the spot where I’d seen the hungry kitten trying to crawl
then I set the cans down near the kitten’s nest
two healthier cats smelled the tuna
slouched their way over
one black and one butterscotch vanilla


A big wave hit me
I did all I could have done
I walked back to the hotel breakfast room
Where the maid who seems to have taken a liking to me,
Mirjana saw me eating my eggs like a hungry prisoner and said “easy easy”

I came back to my room
a book has been on my bedside stand since I arrived here
I’m not sure what language its in
but it says “Svetski Bestseller #1”


The four biggest words on the book are spelt like this


I couldn’t fall asleep
Mirjana came and knocked on my door
“Here are some towels come eat Mark eat eat eat Mark!
You must eat some more!”
“Give me a few minutes” I said “I’ll be right over”
“Oh you Mark come now”
and when I walked towards the breakfast area
she ordered me to go get the others
she said “Mark go get them now”
I said “I can’t wake them”
I told her “They’re sleeping and they need some rest”
“Tell me” she said “Why do you look like this so sad all the time
so sad why Mark why do you look like this?”
“‘Cause I’m jetlagged” I told her “and my clock is off”
“Please knock on my door around 5pm and wake me.
You might just a happier Mark you might even see a smile”
and she said in her Serbian accent “I will do that
do you know who you remind me of?”
“Who?” I said
“John Malkovich”

I ate some cereal and scrambled eggs and went back to bed
she knocked on my door an hour early, 4:00pm
“Mark wake up! Wake up!”
I picked my pants up from the floor
put on some slippers and my t-shirt and decided to swim in the Bay of Kotor

In the same shirt I’ve been wearing for the last three days
I walked down the path of oleanders
wisteria and agave
and the palm trees
to the bay
my stomach growled with hunger so I kept walking past the boats and the sun bathers
and the dog walkers with their dogs in their collars
and the stray dogs and the skinny cats
to a restaurant called Restoran Ellas

A waitress named Sandra came and took my order
“Fish soup with Greek salad please and a large bottle of sparking water”
I looked across the Aquafresh Crest toothpaste colored water
at the town of Muo with the little stucco houses
with their Spanish roofs
and I asked Sandra what the orange things were floating out in the water
she said “they’re called bova and they have nets and they harvest black mussels”

On my walk back to the hotel I jumped into the Bay of Kotor
and as I walked along the mossy rocks
the moss soothed the bottom of my feet
I was wading out in the seaweed
looking out at the girls layin’ out in their bikinis
I never wrote a song about girls in bikinis
If I did maybe I’d have a hit like The Beach Boys

I saw a bandmate walkin’ down the road
he noticed me out by the water
and he said “Mark soundcheck is pretty soon we’d better go.”

We rehearsed quickly
Mirjana heard the music echoing around the tile floors
she knocked on the door and asked if she could come listen
we said “Yeah sure”
she only heard two songs
and we said “What do you think?”
and she said “It’s like Steely Dan… but crazy”

SeaRock Festival
July 21

From the start my guitar was out of tune
so I set it on the stand and I walked towards the front of the stage
and howled up to the castles up in the mountains and sang tunefully to the moon

Ramon on guitar
Chris on Piano
They held their own stoically and steadily

It was a nice receptive and family-oriented crowd
I didn’t make any special adjustments for them
I gave them the good the bad the ugly
I sang ‘Mother’s Love’ and ‘666 Post’
and I encouraged them to cheer for Andrew Golota
though I doubt many there heard of him here in Montenegro
it was a fun night
cathartic and exhilarating

The next day at lunch a stray dog kept me company over at Ellas
the waiter came by and had the check in his hand in an oblong folder
he was asking me in Serbian if I was ready for the check
I thought that’s what he was asking
and when I nodded yes he smacked the dog on the butt
the dog let out a high-pitched yelp and ran off
I stood up and said “Why did you do that?”
He said “Dogs are a problem here”

I went and found the dog and petted his head
lured him back to my table with a piece of French bread
he sat next to my table
I told the waiter “Don’t do that again it’s OK I like him near me”
the dog was picky and didn’t like the bread
so I put a piece of penne pasta up to his nose instead
and he bit my hand

Finicky stray
“That’s OK” I told him
“Bite my hand all you want keep me company for a while.
Your bites are nothing compared to the sick feeling I suffer
every time I turn on American TV news channels”

I paid the check and left with my large bottle of sparking water
and when I got up Mirjana had just been seated at a nearby table with another maid

She said “Mark I must tell you
you are like a machine
you sleep you eat you shit you make music
you are a machine”
I said “I guess so” and I went back to my room

At about 9:00pm Chris knocked on my door and woke me
Chris and Ramon and I took a cab into the old part of town for dinner
Before we left three maids including Mirjana
were all sitting down the cement walkway from us
drinking wine
and smoking cigarettes
observing the comings and goings of passers-by
they started talking to us
Chris and Ramon were standing with me right there
“I told Mark today that he is a machine he eats sleeps shits and plays music
this man is a machine”
then she introduced us to Ljiljana
whom I’ve already met a bunch of times
and the other maid who has never spoken a word to me
Mirjana pointed to Milica and said
“Mark Milica has something to tell you she wants to marry you”
I took a step back
then I smiled and said “Her and I have never spoken a word
but yeah if I lived in Kotor sure 
I would marry her why not”
then Milica corrected Mirjana in Serbian
then Mirjana said to me “Oh I misunderstood Milica said she wants to fuck you.”
Ramon and Chris and I let out an awkward giggle and then we were speechless
I politely then asked Mirjana what her friend’s name was again
“It’s Milica you crazy man! You are crazy!”
Ramon saved me
“Hey you guys I want to get going I’m going to go get a cab”
That was our segue and Chris and I followed along
But not before I told the maids “you all have a nice life here
drinking wine among friends and looking out at the bay
I’ve seen all of you at the restaurant down the street and laying out on the beach
this is a nice life you have
ending your days this way
it’s beautiful here
the smell of the salt water and the Italian pines”

“Fuck you crazy man! You join us in the kitchen tomorrow!
Work with us and see how good this life is you fuck!”
“Hey” I told her
“We all have to go to work
you think this life is glamourous?
It took me 30 hours to get here and it’s going to take me 30 hours to get home”
she said “I know I know you work hard Mark it’s true I know.
You know something? You look like John Malkovich”
I said “I know you told me that earlier”
I will never forget Mirjana
I think I’ll send her a postcard when I get back to San Francisco

After having dinner in the old part of town
Ramon stayed to see some jazz
and Chris and I came back with a plan to meet in five minutes down by the gate
and go for a walk along the bay
I walked down to my room and Milica appeared with a large empty water bottle
“Water?” she asked
I think it was Freudian
to see if I wanted to fill the bottle
I said that I’d be ok but for her to please wait and I’d bring her a CD
Mirjana said that Milica wanted a CD of my music
I gave her Mark Kozelek’s Night Talks
and she shyly walked off towards their little smoking area
and that’s the last I’ve seen of her for the night

I know the loneliness of the road
but in that moment I knew the loneliness of the live-in maid

Chris and I then walked along the bay to my usual spot, Ellas
the same place where the waitress explained the orange things that harvested mussels
and where the guy whacked the dog on the butt
we had sparkling water and ice cream
Howe Gelb stopped by and said “Hi”

I’m back in my room now
I’ve not turned on this TV since I’ve been here

It’s 3:29am

Goodnight from my hotel room
Kotor, Montenegro

Today I awoke at 6:55am in time from breakfast
Mirjana said to me “this thing you say last night
about how we have a good life
why did you say that to us?”
I think she thought I was being patronizing but I wasn’t
I said “I told you that because I grew up in the middle of a bunch of cornfields
nowhere near The Adriatic Sea or the Bay of Kotor.
You seem to have a nice bond with your co-workers and it seems like a nice place to relax
and at the end of the day to look up at the moon and the stars.
But this is my weekend trip and this is your everyday
so I understand if you’re upset about what I said.”

She said “My friends only think of themselves.
Never mind all of this beauty you see it’s inside of here!”
pointing to her chest
“Inside here is shit
they tell me
Do this! Do that! This life is shit!”

I got up and hugged her and told her that I meant no harm
that I meant well
that I understood that she works very hard
and we hugged for a long time
no nervous pats on the back

She said “What will you do now after breakfast?”
I said “The same thing I always do. I’ll go back to my room and get some sleep.”

She told me to please come back before 10 O’clock in the morning
and to eat some more
and I said I’d try
she wrote her name on a card
and I told her I’d send her a postcard if I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye

I went back to bed and I woke up 12:25pm

Going to walk along the road to Ellas
past the stray cats and dogs
and oleanders and agave
and palm trees and sailboats and sunbathers again
taking a towel
I plan to wade around in the Bay of Kotor one last time

3:00am call for our flight back to San Francisco from some place in Croatia tonight

I’m back in my room
it was overcast and I skipped swimming
I just shadow boxed four 3-minute rounds
with a bottle of water in each of my hands

Kotor, Montenegro

I wrote these words then
back in July
I just sang them today
August 15th 2018
it’s day six of a six day recording session
we’re wrapping up this record that I recorded with Donnie and Jim

Last night I told Nathan “Man my ears are burned out I’m so fucking tired.
Let’s go to Coloma tomorrow
the town where they discovered gold.
back on January 24th
my birthday you know 1848?”
Nathan said “Yeah sure OK we’ll go”
So we drove out there this morning
and we got in the water
and I swam from one side of the American river to the other and back
and I picked some blackberries and put them in my bottle of water
and planted a cactus
it was getting too big for my apartment

It was nice to see all the apple orchards and cows along the way
we talked about what guys had been to Vacaville
and what guys had been to Folsom Prison
I need to go out there and do all that to be able to do what I just did


August 15th 2018
San Francisco

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 I Also Want to Die in New Orleans (Kozelek’s most recent record under the Sun Kil Moon moniker), This is My Dinner, Mark KozelekMark 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 (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. 

†    ‘Bay of Kotorappears on the recently released Sun Kil Moon record I Also Want to Die in New Orleans [Caldo Verde, 2019];
       the record is the result of Kozelek’s ongoing collaborative works with Jim White and saxophonist Donny McCaslin. See



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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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