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

# # # #

anyone for birchbark

the keweenaw temperatures are cooling and in a sudden blink, fall colors will come into the northern forests. so, now i am taking care of my “season of long white” preparations. one task is to collect the many pieces of birchbark that i collected this summer. these are the remains from the material i used for the cover of my most recent collection of poems. the cover of “collections of the soul” represents an interesting design of birchbark features. the chapbook contains another collection of short splake haiku visions.


“collections of the soul”



cracked cell phone screen

tiny blue reflections

knowledge slipping away

# # # #

willy loman

empty mall-mart stores

boxes from amazon

# # # #

critics in armchairs

observing passing art

choosing acceptable mediocrity

# # # #

used bookstore mystery

between paperback pages

undelivered valentine

# # # #

Scan 1




a new home for tommy


     in addition to the ‘splake takes,’ there is a new home for the bardic graybeard. twelve years ago i moved to calumet to join the omphale group of artists, and lived for several years above the omphale art gallery on fifth street. eventually i had an artist studio with the vertin group of artists at the vertin gallery in calumet. from the vertin tenure i had the splake writing room and library in the calumet art center. presently, my new creative home is the ‘rectory.’ the rectory is the old catholic priests house next to the saint anne’s church and now the keweenaw heritage center. i have a second floor studio for my creative writing activiies.


preview of coming events


presently i am working on a new modest poetry collection ‘rectory’ that celebrate my new artistic working area. i am hoping to have finished copies of ‘rectory’ published shortly after labor day.

finally, an advertisement of coming events — much like the advanced previews of my saturday afternoon rialto theatre movies in three rivers — the new splake creative project is a collection of poems examining the literary theme of “beyond brautigan creek.”

summer summer summer

well, the familiar “yooper” joke is that the michigan upper peninsula has two seasons. . . eleven months of winter. . . and, one month of very hard sledding.”

however, the july 4th hol is over and now the people in the keweenaw peninsula are focused on the coming labor day.  following that pause, the colors come into the trees for a brief moment.  then in a sudden blink the world turns all over white.

it is heresy to my neighbor, but as an artist i thrive during the winter months.  when the snow is knee high and rising there are fewer distractions to disturb an artist’s focus.  after shoveling a path to the tranny, i can then read most books, watch two or three movies, or enjoy several hours contesting the elusive muse.

things have been going quite well on the splake literary front.  i have received many “kudos” and “congrats” on the recent “final curtain” collection of poems.  this book used several photographs of the calumet theater, in calumet, michigan.  i borrowed the idea of “final curtain” from the poet “raindog,” and his book of forgotten poems titled “orphaned words.”

i am also pleased with the several poems published in the new issue of UP READER.  this is a literary magazine edited by mikel classen and deborah frontiers, that provides a view of the michigan upper peninsula artists and their creations.

note: a new poet tree now exists in the cliffson the banks of brautigan creek.  attached is a short writing which provides a short history of the splake poet trees.

recently, native potter jikiwe made two clay books containing my haiku-like writings.  one clay book will soon be at the northern michigan archives with marcus robyns in marquette, michigan.  the second book is now on sale at the calumet art center in calumet, michigan.

looking ahead, i am presently working on two new chapbook manuscripts.  i am hoping by labor day to have finished “beyond the poet tree and brautigan creek,” and “windows to the soul.”


final curtain


part-time poet

replied the local artist
sadly not realizing
real fire comes
redlining speedometer
revving full tilt
writer used to idling
foot on the break
going nowhere

all in the family

men wearing suits
shaving every day
lost in rat race
nine-to-five routines
mothers on meds
afternoon alcoholic rush
son and daughter confused
over sex and romance
parents selling out
worshiping personal property
things money buys
never redlining
100 miles-per-hour
threatening airborne escape
drinking beer from keg
while lying on couch
patsy cline’s voice
stereo cranked to max
trashing “no trespassing” signs
needing freedom to roam
instead of others
dull boring lives
waiting for death

beyond the waterfall

cheap old milwaukee
bushmills shots
angels softly singing
mad rush
brain skull cavity
sweet delicious sin
waking after surgery
heart rhythm fix
cold turkey rehab
never serious question
quiet new existence
unlike papa hem
failing sawtooth ghosts
brautigan going belly up
dead like sixties dream
hunter thompson
declaring nada mas
good stuff and booze
now seeking
mountain lion shadow
cool early morning mists
following dusty prints
path to cliffs summit
learning secrets
gaining new wisdom
about life above
beyond passing clouds


ethos literary journal

IMG_1253 (002)


fire burning to coals
poet looking past embers
seeing distant world
before existence of light
coming of god

answer me

telephone without voice
no caller i.d.
broken-hearted poet
wondering if ex-lover
quietly begging


routine family counseling
necessary before divorce
doctor’s dark office
framed degrees on wall
wet blue seascapes
rural pastoral scenes
soft mood music
from hidden speakers
playing word games
keeping self alive
waiting for freedom to be



IMG_1296 (002)

another morning

exploding alarm clock
waking weary brain
lying in bed
eyes slowly focusing
staring at ceiling tiles
rigid arthritic bones
feeling like rigor mortis
growing coffee thirst
bladder needing relief
dull morning light
filtering through drapes
blank page waiting
graying poet’s pen
elusive dame muse
rat bastard time
determined creative foes
all too soon
death stealing vision
denying hemingway depression
papa’s 12 gauge solution
or leonard cohen
telling lord he’s ready
“kill the flame
make it darker”
soon outside myself
pressing imagination
making words sing



munising falls


5th street long white


The New “Poet Tree”

t. kilgore splake


Fourteen years ago I moved from Munising to live above the Omphale Art Gallery in Calumet, Michigan. For several years I was a member of the Omphale Association of Artists.

One morning while drinking coffee at John’s Cafe and Family Restaurant in Calumet I met Bruce Nordin. While chatting with bruce I learned about his growing up in Clifton, the village for the Cliffs Mining operation. After listening to his interesting stories, one morning I decided to drive out and investigate the old Cliffs mining location.

I hiked the North American trail to the cliffs summit where I found an old cobblestone smokestack, a huge poor-rock pile and the foundation for the major Cliffs mineshaft. From the top of the cliffs, a visitor can view a vast panorama of the entire Keweenaw Peninsula. After my first hiking experiene in the cliffs I developed a spiritual association with this wilderness area. During brief moments trekking in the cliffs I felt entirely relaxed and able to explore my writing ideas easier.

Musing one day, I decided to create a poet tree on the edge of the cliffs escarpment. From ice out to the first snowfall, I regularly added new things — poems, postcards, photographs, artworks — to keep the poet tree fresh. On one morning hike I found that someone had torched the poet tree. It was an unusual surprise that the only thing remaining was a section of my favorite Richard Brautigan poem. Then sadly one spring visit three years ago I discovered that someone else had cut the poet tree down and unsuccessfully tried to burn its remains.

So now I have established a new poet tree close to the banks of Brautigan Creek at the base of the cliffs. The new poet tree has a birchbark poem written by Paul Bach Jr., plus artwork drawings of Norbert Blei and Henry Denander. In addition, different colored Tibetan prayer flags are attached to the tree. There are also poems, artistic postcards and some of my recent photographs.

Presently I am using the ‘new’ poet tree as the source of inspiration for a new splake poem that will investigate the theme of “Beyond Brautigan Creek.”


IMG_1162 (002)

clay books

by stella large

     Nationally known pottter Ed Gray (jikiwe) and t. kilgore splake have combined their vision and artistry to create claybooks of splake’s haiku poetry. Cuurently one book is located at the Northern Michigan University archives in Marquette, Michigan. The second title is on display at the Calumet Art Center in Calumet, Michigan.

The existence of clay books goes back to the cuneiform writings in ancient near eastern history. The first clay tablets recorded accounts of merchandise exchanges in business transactions. Subsequently clay tablets were used to record myths, proverbs, hymns, and poetry.

Competition for clay manuscripts came from the use of animal skin parchment, papyrus plant sheets, and the use of paper. Around 1040 a.d. the first movable type made out of porcelain material was invented in China. Later, in 1372, movable type made out of metal was produced in Korea. In the 1450’s, Johannes Gutenberg of Mainze, Germany was the first to bring movable metal type printing to Europe. The influence of moveable-type printing technology plus cheaper paper made from wood pulp created the basis for greater production and consumption of written works.

Today the typewriter has been made obsolete by the rise of computer technology. The increase of new word-processing systems has encouraged more people to publish their own desktop titles. In addition, today’s e-book production makes clay tablet inscriptions seem like more distant history.

In the future, jikiwe plans to make single clay tiles with poems of splake, Rumi, and Wei to hang on the “poet tree” located at Brautigan Creek in the cliffs north of Calumet, Michigan.