coming into spring


   during the last week’s “yooper” bli-ZZZZZARDING, i could barely see my neighbor’s house across ash street. the following morning fourteen inches of fresh long white in the driveway made my journey to the rosetta café for my espresso very interesting.

however, blink quickly and january will shortly become history. then i shall be x-ing out the calendar squares for the month of februrary. with the arrival of february, the poet is now able to dream of “taste it – smell it” – coming intro spring. In the splake poem “old man living too long alone” published in “twilight long white, i referred to the graybeard poet “living to witness, bask in one more ‘ice out’ blood birth sense of beginning.”

since my last “splake takes” i have enjoyed considerable success in the small press literary arena. i have had poems published in “iconoclast” (editor phil wagner, lake mohegan, new york), “trajectory” (editor chris helvey, frankfort, kentucky), “brevities” (editors joyce and robin odams, sacramento, california), “bear creek haiku” (editor ayaz nielsen, longmont, colorado) and “street value” (editor david roskos, seaside heights, new jersey).

in addition, cyberwit press (editor doctor agarwal, allahabad, india) has produced two new splake collections of poetry. the new chapbook titles are “black dress fevers” and “do not disturb.” also, following a modest postal delay amazon books has posted my copies of the ebook publication “splake,”

currently i have two manuscripts being prepared for publication. “beyond tears” is at cyberwit press in india, and “coming into spring” is at transcendent-zero press in houston, texas.

finally the new splake subject is rivers, and i am collecting poems and photographs to fit that artistic theme.



felt-tip pen

containing poet’s soul

creative black-ink shadows

# # # #

drive time

warm summer night

tank full of petrol

truck window down

feeling cool breeze

old geezer behind wheel

ice chest open

cans of blue ribbon

st lou by evening

rocky mountain morning

# # # #



pandemic solution

sig sauer

full metal jackets

.357 surprise

for men gone mad

breaking in backdoor

slipping last cartridge

under the lip

whispering hello mom

# # # #

“bear creek haiku”

dusty gravel road

without maps or gps

part of artist’s soul

# # # #

welcoming mornings

chasing new adventures

days anything possible

# # # #

sandhill cranes

dark powerful shadows

early morning mist

# # # #

“street value”

dyed her hair blue

young teenage girl

lost between childhood

walmart’s minimum wage

# # # #



ashes in river

soul disappearing

dark flowing tides

# # # #

not believing unseen

negative person denying

artist’s creative muse

# # # #

climbing cliffs summit

walking medication

peaceful solitary soul

# # # #

“black dress fevers”


smith agency

without life’s mistakes

still be in three rivers

poet selling insurance

# # # #

splake’s wilderness religion

faith in cliffs shadows

brautigan creek music

quiet poet tree wisdom

# # # #

creative freedom

anyone but splake

for upper peninsula poet laureate

without master’s of fine arts

graduate school degree

instead like jack and neal

on the road freedom

life and writing alive

# # # #

“do not disturb”



tarot cards crystal ball

answers reading tea leaves

truth in poet’s blank page

# # # #

i’ll be there

nursing home wheelchair

hearing ‘just call my name’

gray soul suddenly dancing

# # # #

winter memories

poet’s old parka

like bums’s shabby overcoat

pocket full of notes

old dog-eared paperback

long forgotten letter

from woman once loved

# # # #


     the brief upper peninsula indian summer has passed and the wilderness colors have vanished from the forest. very soon the wind-chill temperatures will flirt with zero degrees, and the snow measure will become knee high and rising. my snow shovel and boots have been liberated from the poetarium small back shed. also, the pickup tranny and bard res’ furnace have been given a serious winter checking. currently i am eagerly looking forward to the coming quiet days with fewer personal things to do. with the additional rat bastard time i plan to be frequently engaging the elusive damn dame lady muse in serious literary contest.


     i recently enjoyed my first ebook publication, titled “t. kilgore splake.” the book represents several e-mail interviews that i conducted over the previous summer months with sacramento, california poet richard lopez. jonathon hayes, santa cruz, california poet edited the lopez interview materials for his window pane press ebook publication.

“t. kilgore splake”

richard lopez

     the octogenarian poet t. kilgore splake makes his home in the upper peninsula of michigan. his is a poetry of lean words, midnight metaphysics & long wnters. splake is a small press poet par excellence who needs to be better known in the world of poetry. what I mean to say in no small words that splake is a kick ass poet.

jonathan hayes

     i have noticed the name t. kilgore splake appear and resonate with its strange and rough-sounding originality in many of the little magazines of the small press across america since the early 90’s. thirty years later, the name continues to contribute raw, plain-language poetry that bites at your skin, down to your bone, and stark black-and-white minimalistic photography that documents the upper peninsula of michigan and its history, towns, and wilderness. several years ago, splake and i began corresponding, sharing our books with each other, and publishing together. as i gradually got to sense the man behind the name not only was a friendship born, but a realization that i had never come across an interview with him, and that this elder american outsider poet was the last of a dying breed who lived what they wrote day in and day out while removed from the mainstream among the remoteness of the upper peninsula.

robert zoschke

“lowdown” and “clutch” editor

     if there were any justice to be found in the america poetry scene – the next t. kilgore splake book would be an addition to the penguin modern poets series, with splake taking his rightful place in penquin’s poetic canon alongside charles bukowski, ann carson, lawrence ferlinghetti, sharon olds, and william wantling. luckily for his avid readers, splake doesn’t let that lack of justice slow him down or impede him in any way. like bukowski before him, splake hangs out his “no visitors” sign and gets on with his writing, day after day, night after night.   i personally know a slew of people who call themselves poets and made the pilgrimage to michigan’s upper peninsula to “spend time with splake.” they all left befuddled, with tales of splake being “elusive,” “difficult to pin down,” and “uninterested in lunch and dinner invitations.” what those people failed to grasp is the very thing splake’s loyal readers grasp – that t. kilgore splake is a poet who works the poet’s life he lives.

     since my last splake site commentary, i have enjoyed considerable publishing success. splake poems have earned ink and space in “bear creek haiku” (editor ayaz nielsen) longmont, colorado, “glimpse” (editor george searles) clinton, new york, and “brevities” (editors joyce and robin odams) sacramento, california.

     also two new poetry chapbook collections were added to my literary biography. “cemetery dreams” was published by transcendent-zero press” (editor dustin pickering) houston, texas, and “the bard res’” was produced by cyberwit press (editor doctor agarwal) in allahabad, india.

“bear creek haiku”

# # # #

early morning poet

staring in dark espresso

seeking answers of life

# # # #

wilderness silence

like empty church

deep holy feelings

# # # #

escaping cell-phone world

idle textings and i-tune songs

alone in wilderness

beside brautigan creek

poet’s shadow listening

to forest music

soft gentle whispers

floating downstream

# # # #



# # # #


solitary crow

lightning scorched pine

lonely poet’s shadow


# # # #


minister and poet

quiet serious dreamers

believing in angels


# # # #


neighborhood houses

all windows dark

little theaters quiet


# # # #



new frontier – last dance



graybeard poet

upper peninsula exile

abandoning calumet metrops

tamarack location

old mining row house

quiet and empty

making successful escape

without anyone knowing

new bardic destination

some voices suggesting

san francisco trip west

following old route 66

with kerouac and cassady ghosts

or possibly florida

one-way ticket

turning greyhound miles

like ratso and joe

welcoming warm sun

close writing friends

musing over alaskan adventure

new writing place

finding small log cabin

remote wilderness

along yukon river

instead poet hiking

abandoned logging road

crossing small creek

at trailheads beginning

climbing the cliffs

on gently rising path

in morning darkness

northern lights still glowing

pale green and pink hues

ricocheting off dark clouds

light overnight snow

dusting forest thickets

steps crunching on leaves

creating eerie sounds

imagining dark companions

wild nocturnal creatives

yellow eyes watching

cliffs ascent

wolf or mountain lion

doe and fawn

hiding in shadows

steeper hiking rise

passing glacier scoured rocks

reaching summit

night lightening to dawn

moving through underbrush

off regular trail

to secret retreat

unpacking rucksack

bottle of jack

large wedge of cheddar

tin of spam

can of port and beans

couple of coffee tubes

dented tin cup

evening meal fixings

building small fire

collection of pine boughs

comfortable night mattress

long night hours

time for reflecting

life finally reached

point of no return

soon all memories

achievements and failures

love and divorce

fathering sons and daughter

college degrees

publishing book titles

smith family members

emery and margaret

sisters catherine and mary

everything forgotten

poet now realizing

paradise doesn’t exist

instead his life

constantly moving

always on the way

to somewhere else

journey not destination

important to remember

waking to angry sky

scudding black clouds

darkening horizon

storm soon arriving

without saving epiphany

sudden blinding light

taking final breath

knowing very soon

animals tearing at flesh

maggots and insects

feasting on remains

body reduced to dust

soul seeking new frontier

always somewhere ahead

# # # #

“cemetary dreams”


zen surrealism


canvas creating art

artist watching palette

pushing paint brush


# # # #


plato’s republic



banning all artists

for distorting truth

whitmans leaves of grass

‘singing body electric’


# # # #


movie goer



abandoning technicolor films

for black-and-white reality

harry lime in vienna

hank quinlin’s evil touch

rosebud in flames


# # # #


“the bard res’”






kurt’s tortured voice

telling friends and enemies

“come as you are”

lying about his gun


# # # #


political science answers



we think

or believe

often suspect

maybe this

probably that




# # # #





telling his friends

only parttime poet

which means

parttime husband

parttime father

parttime teacher

parttime christian

parttime friend

full time nobody


# # # #


higher power



early sunday morning

light filtering through trees

central church bell

echoing along cliffs

poet’s shadow

alone in the forest

watching butterflies

flit and fluttering

listening to birdsong

music from heaven

surrounded by wildflowers

sweet fragrant scents

sitting on stump

like from row pew

enjoying wilderness service


# # # #

     finally a quick preview of coming splake events. i am hoping that by the thanksgiving vacation to have a new collection of poems titled “black dress fevers” to celebrate.

labor day and after

where is the snow shovel

     woe and alas, tres tres alas, the current co-vid dilemma has had a deadening influence on the world of small press publications.

     however in spite of the inactivity i have enjoyed some creative literary successes.  recently several splake poems were published in “bear creek haiku” (editor ayaz daryl nielsen) longmont, colorado, and in “brevities (editors joyce and robin odams) sacramento, california.

bear creek haiku

light wilderness breeze

poet moving in music

only he can hear

# # # #

blank page waiting

after morning espresso

poet’s brain dancing

# # # #

wilderness haiku

berry stained words

on dry autumn leaves

# # # #


daddy’s little girl

wanting to have cell-phone

told ask your mother

# # # #

buying new lipstick

new face and personality

someone other than herself

# # # #

writer’s creative rejection

surrendering to internet and television

another day not writing

# # # #

     in addition, there was space and ink for splake poems in the new issue of “iconoclast” (editor phil wagner) mohegan lake, new york


leornard cohen

gray rainy morning

deep voice revealing

no beauty without pain

# # # #


riding on death

rising toward heaven

hot rail whisper

# # # #

     two new chapbooks have been added to the bard res’ library shelves.  cyberwit press (editor agarwal) in allahabad, india recently produced two collections of splake poetry.  the book titles  are “last train home,” and “poet’s first light.”

last train home

graybeard desire

with years running out

life almost over

hungry for another love

one final romance

mysterious emotions

wedding mind and body

enjoying moments

of near death ecstasy

lost in world

others don’t understand

instead of sadly realizing

young girl memories

no longer possible

poet now traveling alone

# # # #

let’s pretend

everyone today

acting like movie heroes

john wayne and stallone

televisions stars

oprah and ellen

society celebrities

kourtney kim khloe

kardashian family

“people magazine” pages

sad empty people

lacking authentic selves

never reading camus

discussing existential issues

living beyond surface

today’s passing moment

# # # #

poet’s first light

wilderness images

sandhill crane silhouettes

sun setting over marshland

shadows like monks praying

# # # #

modigliani’s women

tiny eyes thin smiles

hiding sad souls

seeing beyond death

# # # #

jm harrison

last poem on desk

final words never read

passport into heaven

# # # #

never returning

lighting dry tinder

bright flames exploding

poet again seeking

creative awakening

secret silently vanishing

lost in smoke

cool fire ashes

# # # #

poet’s final journey

artist dave engel

close wisconsin friend

administering splake’s

last will and testamenet

climbing rocky trail

reaching cliffs summit

releasing poet’s ashes

off granite escarpment

ole poet tree location

small pieces of bone

gray crematory powders

scattered to the winds

sustenance for

animals birds insects

also absorbed by earth

nourishing cliffs wilderness

maybe rare remains

carried beyond heaven

# # # #

     labor day has now passed and shortly i shall be busy with the preparations for the coming michigan upper peninsula’s season in the long white.  getting the furnace checked at my tamarack location poetarium and a winterization of the pickup tranny are at the head of my list.

     however, soon i will receive copies of the new splake chapbook from transcendent-zero press (editor dustin pickering) houston, texas.  there is also a special splake edition coming from poet and editor jonathan hayes in santa cruz, california.  cyberwit press in india is currently working on a splake manuscript using “bard res’ materials.

breathe it smell it spring

ah and so, the sun has been shining, temperatures rising, sky a deep blue and the wild birds have been singing their poor hearts dry. SPRING IN DA YOOP!

very soon i shall be tranny-tripping north and hiking around the cliffs. also there is the redecorating of the poet tree at brautigan creek after the season of long white punishment.

during the recent co-virus situation i have greatly missed my rosetta café early morning espressos at the camus corner window table. i also have lacked the habit of checking the jock sport game scores on my computer each morning before getting serious about the day’s creative activities.

however, since the last splake site postings i have enjoyed some considerable literary successes.

i have had two chapbooks published by cyberwit press (editor doctor karunesh kumar agarwal) in india. these are new collections of splake poems in “sunflower wisdom” and “rising from the ashes.” also, i am extremely pleased with the photographs and poems in the 2020 edition of “clutch” (editor robert zoschke) published by street corner press in sister bay, wisconsin. there were two splake poems in the spring issue of “trajectory” (editor chris helvey), frankfort kentucky and also two poems in issue 51 of “glimpse” (editor george searles), clinton, new york. finally i had two photographs and two poems in volume four of the “u.p. reader” published by modern history press, marquette, michigan.

now looking toward the future and whatever will be our “new normalcy,” i have two manuscripts waiting for the presses to be inked and the pages printed. one collection of poems is currently at “transcendent-zero press” (editor dustin pickering), houston, texas, and a second collection is with editor doctor agrawal at cyberwit press in india.

plus, there is the keweenaw far northern peninsula with the cliffs, brautigan creek and the poet tree to visit and enjoy.



# # # #


“sunflower wisdom”


cyberwit press


poetry is

don’t argue why

feel think write

# # # #

light evening snowflakes

heaven’s shining beauty

stardust falling to earth

# # # #

suicide freedom

plath and sexton memories

dancing in her head

# # # #

warm floating embryo

infant’s unborn dreams

life waiting to fly

# # # #



“rising from ashes”


cyberwit press


rebirth ‘69

early may morning

ross lake road

pictured rocks outback

tabula rasa rising

from campfire embers

writing first poem

suddenly drunken professor

becoming a poet

# # # #

ghost in the shadows

missing cartier-bresson’s

grainy black-and-white photos

leica and tri-x artistry

new digital pictures

providing sharper colors

finer details

however missing secrets

found in dark shadows

revealing reality of life

# # # #

cliffs poet

like ancient chinese

philosophers and writers

escaping noisy civilization

enjoying solitary life

distant mountain retreats

pursuing creative activities

painting canyon walls

writing short poems

on autumn leaves

released from cliffs

moving far beyond

voices in the wind

# # # #



frankfort, kentucky


autumn mystery


cold october morning

frost burning off leaves

hiking through wilderness

brook trout fishing

remote beaver dam pond

clouds drifting above

light filtering through foliage

kaleidoscope of different colors

without any wind

grasses ahead moving

small animal disappearing

making quiet escape

or father’s ghost

waiting for me

# # # #



clinton, new york


masters of arts


graduate degree class

poetry workshop students

writing villanelles

tankas and sestinas

academic masturbation

instead of simple words

describing personal sadness

those rare moments

being in love

# # # #




sister bay, wisconsin


# # # #

muse like spider

patiently in web

waiting for a poet

# # # #

holding felt-tip pen

staring at blank page

world belongs to me

# # # #

lake superior music

washing against short

patiently and forever


# # # #



“u.p. reader”

marqette Michigan


untitled symphony


early sounds

passing through wilderness

light spring breeze

fierce summer storm

rattle of autumn leaves

loud blizzard winds

peaceful moments

before instruments

birth of music

# # # #

god’s country


escaping large city

busy noisy life

surrounded by

millions of people

racing here and there

leaving tired footprints

concrete sidewalk shadows

finding small village

quiet and free

with caring neighbors

frequent friendly greetings

post office and bank

grocery store checkout

personal emotions

coming from the heart

ex-pat poet

happy to belong

# # # #




(tres tres tres alas)


this past week i received a letter from eric greinke, editor of presa press in downstate rockford, michigan. sadly i learned that his wife, roseanne – an integral part of the presa press operation – had lost her valiant fight against cancer.

words of grief and sympathy do not seem to come easily for me, but my confidence and reputation of being a better poet came from the sincere support of both eric and roseanne.

several years ago, i found the presa press listing in a “guide to book publishers, editors, and literary agents.” following a short telephone call and conversation with eric, i sent him a splake manuscript on ‘literary spec’ for his editorial review and consideration.

since that moment i have had enjoyed the publication of eight presa press poetry chapbooks. the most notable title was “winter river flowing” which was a comprehensive summary of my history of poetry writings.

in short, with the encouragement of eric and roseanne – my presa press publishing experiences – have made me the writer that i am today. i will miss roseanne greatly, but after ‘ice out’ and spring returning to the michigan upper peninsula, i shall visit with her again at the poet tree located at brautigan creek in the cliffs.

however, it is still the season of long white in the keweenaw farther northern territories, and i just finished doing some creative shoveling of the bard res’ driveway. the most recent winter blizzard is still bringing more snow with winds gusting at 25 miles-per-hour. but the reader must always remember as veteran ‘yoopers’ WE LOVE IT !!
note: the “ristau” editor bob penick recently nominated me for pushcard honors for my poem “rat bastard time” that was published in his fine literary journal. i was also pleased to have four splake poems given ink and space in the december issue of “brevities.” plus, arnold skemer, editor of ZYX published reviews of three splake titles in his latest edition. phil wagner printed two splake poems and seven book reviews in the new issue of “iconoclast.” in addition, editor santosh kumer, editor of “tag mahal review” – an indian literary magazine – has accept several splake poems for its next edition. recently “cyberwit press” — allahbad, inda – published a collection of splake poems titled “winter whispers.” note: shortly, cyberwit press will release the splake “sunflower wisdom” – a collection of poems influenced by the allen ginsberg poem “sunflower sutra.”

looking head into the brave new 2020 and days counting, “transcendent-zero press” editor dustin pickering has accepted a new splake manuscript for publication.

finally, during the rare moments of free time – when i come up for air – i am selecting the poems for an untitled manuscript to post to gordon purkis, editor of “shoe music press” in alpharetta, georgia.


winter river flowing by t. kilgore splake on something press

“winter river flowing”

presa press – rockford, michigan



editors joyce and robin odams

# # # #

wife long gone

husband’s barky little dog

loud yapping reminder

# # # #

four in the morning

after screams wore out

we have to talk

# # # #

tiny trophy wife

most of her weight

jewelry and lip gloss

# # # #

trembling ecstatic pleasure

knowing happiness can’t last

love process of loss

# # # #



phil wagner editor

# # # #

fading black beret

sweat stained halo

poet’s ghost passing

# # # #


“winter whispers”

cyberwit press – allahbad, india

# # # #


staring into campfire

flashing bright flames

fiery hot explosions

releasing terrifying power

dark shadows dancing

ghost of drunken professor

discovering new spirit

after writing first poem

in embers long ago

# # # #

espresso moments

always cheery good morning

for rosetta café baristas

young girls thinking

old guy’s seriously flirting

chatting with regulars

retired coffee drinkers

writer’s friendly companions

not knowing he uses fuck

in some of his poems

asking local contractor

“how’s the job going”

checking with bob

laid off clerk

about new job possibility

kind graybeard friend

sharing warm feelings

soon returning home

to grab felt-tip pen

not smith-wesson magnum

# # # #


where is the snow shovel

with the recent four days of rain in a row and cooler temperatures the autumn colors are coming into our wilderness forest. thus, with a quick blink soon my world will turn all over white.

since the last splake site addition, i have had three new poetry books published. “red line fevers” was produced by gage press in battle creek, michigan. cyberwit press, inallahabad, india published “autumn whispers,” and “graybeard whispers” was printed by “transcendent-zero press” in houston, texas.

also, i had two poems and a black-and-white photograph in the new edition of editor raindog’s “lummox literary magazine.” the latest issue of “ethos literary journal” had three splake haiku poems.

plus, i received several fine kudos and congrats on my recent writings.

bruce holcomb, battle creek teacher wrote that a “red line fevers” poem reminded him of his cousin’s suicide. robby (z-man) zoschek remarked that “red line fevers” poetry was beautiful, and potent. “free ticket to ride” editor p.l. wick said that ‘”red line fevers” as another typically t. kilgore shotgun sally blast of theme-linked poems.



“red line fevers “

splakeredline 1


# # # #

“autumn whispers”



# # # #

“graybeard whispers”



# # # #

“lummox literary magazine”

editor ‘raindog’

san pedro, california


# # # #

rat bastard time


old black-and-white films

wind rapidly blowing

months off calendar pages

clock’s ominous ticking

hands racing around dial

earth constantly turning

nights becoming mornings

time quickly vanishing

nothing to be saved

nervous graybeard poet

racing toward death


# # # #

like dorian gray


living sheltered life

staying home with parents

reading books

watching dvd movies

playing computer games

face unlined

smooth as new infant

without distinct furrows

graybeard poet

not weathering well

features stained by life

dark cheek scar

from hockey puck shot

tough leathery skin

after seasons in outfield

taut hard textures

winters of ice fishing

tobacco and alcohol lines

deep penetrating stare

waiting morning’s first drink

# # # #

” ethos literary journal”


editor kiriti sengupta

calcutta, india


# # # #



ants working underground

not understanding

world beyond earth


# # # #

computer magic


inside god box

angels wildly dancing

google and amazon music


# # # #

on hold


commuter gridlock

sea of stationary cars

anxious egos idling


# # # #


while waiting the arrival of the ‘yooper’ season of long white, i have two splake manuscripts on small press editors desks. poems in “one more winter” have been sent to “presa press” editor eric greinke in downstate rockford. the collection of poems in “living the dream” have been posted to editor bitan chakraborty at hawakal publishers in calcutta, india.


july has had a run of hot and humid days, however, living in my underwear with the small dollar store fan has made the summer days tolerable.

i recently posted copies of the two new splake chapbooks, both published in india, to several small press magazine editors and close writing friends. “between the lines” was produced by “cyberwit press,” and “outside the lines” was a “hawakal publishers” production. note: in “outside the lines” an excellent chapbook introduction was written by dustin pickering, editor of “transcendent-zero press.”

on the current small magazine scene, i have had both poems and book reviews published by ZYX (editor arnold skemer), “iconoclast” (editor phil wagner), and “over the transom” (editor johathan hayes).

in addition, i was greatly pleased that the “cholla needles 31” used twenty-eight splake short haiku-type poems in the latest issue.

the 2019 edition of the impressive literary journal CLUTCH (editor robert zoschke – the z-man) is fresh off the press. there are several splake poems and photographs in the new issue of CLUTCH.

finally the most recent splake literary labors have been pounding the keyboard and preparing work for a new poetry collection that has the tentative title of “red line fevers.”



# # # #


“outside the lines”



moving beyond


cell phone technology

deny creative challenges

risking new adventures

try shot of jack

cold beer chaser

taste of life’s reality

# # # #




“leaves of grass”

walt’s powerful visions

able to live

beyond others rules

free butterfly floating

over society


# # # #


“between the lines”




brando and gregory corso

crazy wild rebels

living on the edge




people go to work

long numbing hours

slowly murdering dreams

# # # #



“beyond brautigan creek”

review by arnold skemer

     this is somewhat off the usual splake parameters. in several poems his spirit appears to be flying through intergalactic space in a journey to an indeterminate objective. a poet in parallel lines to eternity, outside of time, in perpetual journey: “starving artist solitude/everything suddenly lost/creative works forgotten/but something might exist/between reality and nothing.” i must also mention his excellent photography. he has a sense for illustrative imagery that compliments his very powerful lines that build in length as the selection continues. high quality, glossy paper that makes his chapbook a delight to behold. one of the best things that he has produced.



# # # #


“cholla needles 31”

lost in used bookstore

outside world distant

like remote trout stream

# # # #

afternoon pleasure

dog taking walk

his master on a leash

# # # #

flowers and marble stones

happy children’s voices

playing with cemetery ghosts

# # # #

missing home town’s rivers

sawyer and finn ghosts

endless flowing adventures

# # # #



# # # #

a love supreme

coltrane playing life

death lasts forever


bottle of advil

icy tall boy

pretty girl cheap beer

taking standing eight count

not wanting more

jobless improv star

air guitar professional

silent applause deafening

white leather bible

mint condition

salvation army thrift table

# # # #






ankle-deep in the big muddy

ah, and mayday mayday mayday so. early last sunday i tranny-tripped north of calumet to check the conditions at the cliffs and brautigan creek. from a safe distance noted that the poet tree did not fare very well during the recent winter season of long white. so, as soon as the creek lowlands dry out, a new poet tree will arise.

any and who, two new splake chapbooks are off the press. “transcendent-zero press” (houston, texas) published “sacred and obscene” while gage press (battle creek, michigan) recently finished “rosetta café ghosts.”

i am also pleased that professor david engel used two splake chapbooks to teach a class in haiku at st antony’s monastery in marathon, wisconsin. the new edition of UP READER has a splake photograph and poem, while the “zyx journal” (editor arnond skemer) had twenty-eight short splake poems in it.

plus, i scored ink and space in daryl ayaz nielsen’s “bear creek haiku” and joyce and robin odams “brevities.”

on the immediate literary horizon, i am waiting for copies of the new literary anthology “clutch.” in addition, a new splake chapbook titled “between the lines” is being published by “cyberwit” press in india.

# # # #

“sacred and obscene”

Scan 2

coping with hangover

emily d’s wisdom

stepping almost straight

# # # #

hiking alone at night

feeling coyote’s breath

hearing sounds of plants

# # # #

smell of paper

feel of book’s weight

hungry mind escaping

# # # #


“rosetta café ghosts”


free bardic specter

part of the wind

able to be anywhere

# # # #

superior frothing and boiling

graybeard poet’s ghost

dancing in the storm

# # # #

moving into the fire

joining glowing embers

dancing on hot coals

# # # #

haiku workshop

at st. anthony’s monastery

marathon, wisconsin

Scan 4




good life

lawyers doctors businessmen

happiness buying things

houses cars furniture

expensive unnecessary luxuries

yet not enjoying life

always feeling empty

afraid to surrender

to living simpler way

sleeping on futon

hotplate frying pan

single knife fork spoon

small coffee pot

sadly never becoming

person in their dreams

# # # #


“bear creek haiku”


origin of species

collecting more dollars

survival of fattest wallet

# # # #

drone bee nectar

worker ants foraging

loud oinks at the trough

# # # # #

flying beyond clouds

flirting with angels

dancing in stardust

# # # #


Scan 3

meaning of life

discovered in yourself

journey beyond soul

# # # #

poet giving up

no more confidence

empty brain space

# # # #

dying from grief

or using inner pain

for creating art

# # # #


smell it breathe it

last week’s fierce alberta ‘clipper’ delivered over a foot of snow to the keweenaw farther northern territory. minus zero degrees plus forty-miles-per-hour winds added to the long white accumulation in metrops. however, under the present arctic blanket mice families are growing. also tiny eggs are warming in bird nest homes and soon will be bringing new life into the world. while there is crunching under each bootstep, the michigan upper peninsula is already ‘coming into spring.’

recently i posted copies of two new literary publications to reviewers, editors and close writing friends. presa press (editor eric greinke) finished “anatomy of desire,” and gage press (battle creek, michigan) produced a new collection “beyond brautigan creek.” the brautigan creek production also had a dvd attached to the chapbook. i am hoping that my “wonder woman anna” will have the technological wisdom to make the “beyond brautigan creek” dvd available to wordpress viewers.

the next splake collection of poems – “sacred and obscene” – is now at the transcendent-zero press in houston, texas (editor dustin pickering) and will soon be available.

“anatomy of desire”


mexico city blues

poet’s broken heart

wet espresso tears

lost in arctic white out

dreaming of escape

riding greyhound ghost

midnight crossing border

cold beer breakfast

orizaba street café

chatting with jack

# # # #

poet’s roots

“moving beyond parents”

friday night sockhops

“stardust” slow dancing

suddenly replaced by bill haley

“rock and the clock”

blackboard jungle music

crew cut hair and sweaters

chinos with belt in the back

wildly dreaming of

brando bogart james dean

black leather jackets

motorcycle boots

sexy looking tattoos

not understanding kerouac

on the road miles

searching for good parts

nelson algren paperback

often feeling like elvis

a little bit shook up

#  # # #

all or nothing

“in the desert – man is there

god is not”


few people find

sacred spiritual feelings

abundant in desert space

preferring holy book passages

religious scripture words

for explanations of life

thousands of years passing

rainwater melting snow frost

creating brilliant red lansscape

massive buttes and mesas

glowing like fiery forge

moments of creation

before bethlehem manger

time of eden

sandstone petroglyphs

describing native magic

rolling piling white clouds

becoming black thunderheads

wild mustangs racing across land

dust devils blowing through sand

today shadowy ghosts

still staring at heavens

celebrating gods

forgotten by others

# # # #

“beyond brautigan creek”


something more

late dusky shadows

quickly evening darkness

sitting around campfire

brautigan creek bank

warming hands in embers

remembering summer nights

many years ago

listening to glowing coals

learning greater wisdom

understanding what to think

important things to do

tomorrow leaving behind

important artist’s memories

poet tree sentinel

writings photos paintings

old leather boots

hanging in tree

rocking chair

with jack daniel’s bottle

tin cup waiting

for thirsty traveler

first dawn

following prayer flags

birch tree signs

leading to cliffs trail

traveling light

without rucksack or gear

moving beyond

rocky granite summit

hoping to find true love

perfect place to live

like sam and jill

gilliam’s movie “brazil”

poet’s happy ending

living with paula

chapel rock beach

swimming naked

chilly lake superior

truly free spirits

outside of time

# # # #

Scan 1


“a letter”

i was recently blessed with a rare moment of literary praise. my surprise was a letter from an alabama lady who this past summer had been visiting the pictured rocks lakeshore area in munising, michigan. while having lunch in a grand marais restaurant she found and read a copy of my “pictured rocks memories” poems. she said:

“we sat in a quaint diner, the fog of an overcast afternoon swelling off the west bay, and i noticed a stock of books on the window sill of our booth. one so happened to be a timeworn chapbook of poetry-exactly palatable to my taste. while my mother and aunt savored their dishes, i indulged in poetic musings of local nature, serenity and folkways. i was captured by the culture, the writing; my southern heart felt so connected to a place so far from its origin. i felt immersed in the natural beauty of a land i had just recently laid my own eyes upon.

we left town shortly after and journeyed home, but the name stuck in my head. splake. what an odd name, i thought. it wasn’t until winter engulfed my home here in alabama, that i was reminded of the writing. i’m not sure what spurred me to write this, but i believe the poetry touched my soul in such a unique way. i’ve realized how detached i’ve felt from the likes of frost, thoreau, or whitman because of just how welcoming your writing was. i could feel the words around me, i saw it in the swaggering pines, the rushing waterfalls, the towering sand dunes. i felt the culture, i understood the lore, the myths – it was rapturous. i suppose this is a thank you for drawing me closer to the area and heightening my foreign experience of its lifestyle.

t-hanks a lot bama and

‘go tide’

the new year

i greatly appreciate the beginning of a new year. this time frame provides an excellent opportunity to review past literary projects and productions. it also gives the creative artist a sense of a fresh new beginning. in short, i have hit this new year running and hope to continually make the bard res’ carpet smoke with my creative activity.

there are four new splake book titles that have early 2019 publication dates. “presa press” (editor eric greinke) in rockford, michigan will publish a collection of poems “anatomy of desire.” “transcendent-zero press” (editor dustin pickering) in houston, texas, will publish another short poetry collection “sacred and obscene.” “rusty truck press” (editor scot young) a missouri small press will creative a collection of splake poems for their “brown bag” poetry series. finally, gage press in battle creek, michigan, will finish the project “beyond brautigan creek.” note: this modest publication will contain both splake poems and a dvd attachment with the work.



     the following references provide a brief review of the splake work that finished the recent old year.

gage press in battle creek, michigan, finished the collection of splake poetry in the chapbook “rectory.”

editor arnold skemer wrote a brief review of “rectory” in the 82nd edition of his “zyx” literary publication.

in the december issue of the “marquette monthly,” literary editor tyler tichenlaar wrote an excellent review of the splake “lost dreams” collection of short poems.

“iconoclast” edition #117 had a splake front cover photograph of his favorite feminine companion “annie.” the literary magazine editor phil wagner also wrote a short review of the splake book “final curtain.”

among my other late 2018 sources of small press literary space and ink, i was particularly pleased with the poems published in “ethos literary journal” (editor kiriti sengupta) in calcutta, india, “brevities” (editor joyce odam) in sacrameno, california, and “bear creek haiku” (editor ayaz) in longmont, colorado.




poet sacrificing music

for deep solitude

free of distractions

sound system silent

while facing blank page

yet still hearing murmurs

“carmina burana”

wild celebrating sounds

ottorino’s nocture

gentle breeze blowing

through pines of rome

vivaldi’s soft birdsongs

coming into spring

# # # #



many years ago

ted pixley

battle creek attorney

handling my divorce

strongly recommending

personal counseling

preventing painful separation

upon reflection

saving troubled marriage

would mean vacations

with overweight wife

stuffed in bermudas

rosetta café breakfast

arguing if pasties

should have rutabagas

time rapidly vanishing

retired professor

without a beard

never writing poetry

# # # #



editor arnold skemer

book review of “rectory”

     splake writes from a small office of the former st.anne’s church. it now services as an art center for the community. this chapbook contains the usual splakian musings, his diurnal activities, writer’s disappointments, frustrations of an elderly gent, snide comments (“graying husbands/pleasantly plump wives/somenhow still married to/summer vacations/wearing new levis, mall-mart bermudas/seeing the sights/no longer fucking.”) splake is very predictable but amusingly so. as usual, nice backgrounding in crusty decrepit calumet, the character of the north woods, like a chronicler of yoknapatawpha county.


“marquette monthly”

book editor tyler tichenlaar

review of “lost dreams”


“lost dreams” is yet another short volume of poetry from the prolific u.p. poet t. kilgore splake. this short volume consists of only fifteen pages of poems, but each page contains five short three-lined poems on it. the poems are not technically haikus (poems of seventeen syllables), but they are similar in their short and concise size. each poem has three to five words per line and three lines, and ranges from about fourteen to seventeen syllables on average. because the poems are not titled, one might think the book is one long poem, but the discerning reader will realize each stanza is a poem m in itself.

i like to think of these as being like “fortune cookies poems,” because each poem creates a single image or feeling by tying together a few connected images. the poems cover numerous themes, including childhood, alcoholism, music, movies, and old age. most have a cynical tone. splake always writes gritty poems and “lost dreams” is no exception. it’s not a volume for the faint of heart, but there are many truths here that need to be said.


“iconoclast # 117”

editor phil wagner

review of “final curtain”


there are several core messages in mr. splake’s work. one of the main admonitions is to get off the false-premised hamster wheel of the consumerist middle class (those who are still left, that is).   he tried it – this other people’s idea of success – was pretty good at it, but non-lived in a constant state of anxiety and falsehood. when the muse called, he answered – indeed followed – damn the consequences.

to pursue an art in today’s society (especially as something more than a pastime or hobby) is looked upon as a fool’s errand (‘show me the money!’). “many are called but few are chosen.” such are the risks of rebelling against the social contract, conformity. in some poems the poet tells of loneliness, a life streamlined to simple pleasure. in the myth of the suffering artist there is often a happy (if not posthumous) ending. but the suffering is real, the price of the lifestyle often that of ‘a rose blooming unseen.’


“ethos literary journal”

editor kiriti sengupta



paula’s weak moment

leaving me early

sad lonely feeling

nightly she returns

softly whispering

her lost love

still in my heart

# # # #



waking to birdsong

before first light

building small fire

boiling water from stream

instant coffee

oats in tin cup

ready for journey

picking way over deadfall

brushing aside cobwebs

escaping invisible satellites

government surveillance

knowing where i am

finding empty cave

remote cliffs heights

sitting around campfires

discussing with owls

wisdom magic poetry

# # # #



editor joyce odam

north tower’s 87th floor

diving into unknown

ten seconds totally alive

# # # #

fledgling bird

edge of nest

stretching small wings

# # # #

hiking alone at night

feeling coyotes breaths

hearing sounds of plants

# # # #

poet’s dream

tilting universe

touching soul of god

# # # #


“bear creek haiku”

editor ayaz daryl nielsen

steady river flowing

carrying poet’s soul

endless creative beauty

# # # #

desolation angels

kerouac and icarus

falling back to earth

# # # #

eyes tightly closed

soft hesitating lips

about to whisper something

# # # #