splake

SPRING TIME IN THE YOOP

if anyone besides myself reads about the ‘splake doings’ they will have noted a slight pause in my materials.  anna, my computer ‘techie’ and site genius recently had a baby daughter, which explains the brief literary vacation.  also noting the adventure shining in little ada’s eyes, i suspect that now anna certainly understands the demands of rat bastard time.

recently i have had two collections of splake poems published.  the “ghost light” chapbook was produced by gage press in downstate battle creek, michigan.  “last dance” was published by “transcendent-zero press, in houston, texas.
in addition, the february edition of “brevities,” edited by joyce and robin odam, in sacramento, california, had a special splake profile containing ten poems.
finally, tyler tichenaar, book editor of the “marquette monthly,” in marquette michigan, wrote a review of the splake book “graybeard memories: morning espresso musings” in the april issue of the “marquette monthly” publication.

splake3.jpg

“ghost light” poems

quiet stillness

early november morning
first white dusting
winter finally settling in
older poet remembering
thanksgiving family dinners
stuff baked turkey
sweet potatoes pecan pie
currier and ives plates
horses pulling sleigh
across snowy countryside
mother father children
waiting holiday feast

heaven sent

dark night communion
eating drinking
body and blood of christ
rejoicing sacred heart
certain after death
entering holy kingdom
not going to hell
aging graybeard poet
denying eternal mystery
question without answer
instead hoping for
club majestic nights
country-western songs
vintage jukebox selections
icy pitcher beer
eightball challenges
quarters on table edge
cue ball off cushion
rule for winning
easy baby easy

splake1.jpg
“last dance” poems

motorcycles and poetry

kicking bike alive
exciting cc’s exploding
roaring engine power
like sexual climax
near-death experience
few klicks down the road
challenging adventure
as facing blank page
wrestling for words
fearing fatal accident
riding beyond red-line
writing not visceral enough
for poem’s final draft
still wind-blown pleasure
as wild bird soaring
heading toward heaven
until running out of gas

mysterious messages

waking in darkness
printer’s wild humming
wondering about words
roy neary
devils tower meeting
poem from orizaba
new mexican city blues
uncle walt’s command
take to open road
robert frost’s suggestions
hiking less traveled path
surprise haiku
gary synder’s pen
brother brautigan’s directions
secret trophy trout pond
david foster wallace
explaining new freedom
old papa hem
from across the river
describing what lies beyond

splake2.jpg

“brevities” poems

poet’s driven habits
ignoring everyone else
those talking art

# # # #

snow began slowly
steady quiet accumulation
april years away

# # # #

caffeine fried brain
before family and career
poet scribbling words

# # # #

mad poet
wild reckless passions
living beyond edge

# # # #

ink smeared page
writing until
blood stained words

# # # #

“marquette monthly” april, 2017

tyler tichelaar review

“graybeard memories: morning espresso musings”

Several of t. kilgore splake’s volumes of poetry have been reviewed in this column, but this one is different. While it has the typical splake lack of capitalization, it is also written in paragraph form. At first, I thought it was a long prose poem, and it certainly has some poetic moments, but it’s more prose than poem, which is understandable since it is splake’s autobiography.

I found graybeard memories interesting since it gave me insight into the personal life of this poet and made me better understand his poetry. It begins with splake sitting in the Rosetta Café in Calumet drinking coffee and feeling attracted to the young female barista, but he realizes she would never be interested in him. He goes on to describe himself: octogenarian, teeth falling out, no longer fertile.

Then he takes the reader back to his early years growing up in Kalamazoo, Michigan and how he eventually decided to pursue “the bitch-goddess of academic success” by attending Western Michigan University and then getting a teaching job in Battle Creek at Kellogg Community College. At times, teaching was not that enjoyable for him, but he did seem to care about his students and subject matter.

splake also walks us through his numerous relationships with the opposite sex. He got his college girlfriend pregnant and married her. They tried to be a couple, but eventually they divorced, which he describes as the “final chapter in a sad situation of two spoiled children who had made a mistake.”

splake would have two more failed marriages and more children. He seemed to have a knack for attracting women with psychological issues–the third wife threatened to kill  herself and make it look like he had murdered her.  splake admits his free spirit and penchant for alcohol didn’t help his marriages.

During all these years of teaching and marriage, splake began to make rip s to the Upper Peninsula, which seemed to be a saving grace for him.  During one trip, he came to terms with his drinking.  On another, he began writing poetry.  To this day, he isn’t sure what caused him to write poetry one morning, but he did and he showed his work to an English professor colleague who thought it was good.  Still doubtful about the quality of his poems, splake created a pseudonym to protect him from embarrassment–he combined the names of a fish he had caught, his first name’s initial and a name in Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Breakfast of Champions to become t. kilgore splake.

Eventually, splake retired and moved to the U.P., first living in Munising and later in Calumet, where he currently lives.  The last chapters of the book describe the years he spent studying poetry until he finally bought a French beret to wear as a sign that he was ready to announce himself as a poet.  He describes his involvement with the local arts community, including the Vertin Gallery, editing the journal cliffs soundings and being given a Lifetime Achievement award by the U.P Writers Association.  The book includes several of splake’s photos of places mentioned in the book, especially around Calumet.

splake is in some ways your typical rough-living Hemingway type writer, but in other ways, he has a distinct voice.  This book will be welcomed by his fans because it gives his full story, only pieces of which could previously be gleaned from his poetry.

For more information, visit splake’s blog at https://tksplake.wordpress.com

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MORE SPLAKE

the splake writing room and library has received some recent news publicity. the calumet art center’s “newsletter” had an article about the writing room written by casey brendan. also, mariah powell did an impressive feature article on the writing room that was published by the houghton “daily mining gazette” in the “happenings” section. in the july issue of the “marquette monthly” there was a brief addition piece describing the splake writing room and library in the calumet art center.

Splake Writing Room offers free space to grow with art, poetry

By Mariah Powell, The Daily Mining Gazette, June 16, 2016

While a small space for reading, writing and learning is not an entirely new concept, the man who created and cares for the Splake Writing Room in the Calumet Art Center is someone with a unique history and viewpoint.
Photographer and poet T. Kilgore Splake, born Tom Smith, created the Splake Writing Room eight years ago after a morning chat over coffee with the center’s founder and executive director Ed Gray.

The room and its resources are free and open to the community, and visitors can check out items by signing the checkpoint log. All lending operates purely on the honor system, with no late fees or library card required. Splake says visitors often bring their lunches to the Writing Room.

In addition to books from every genre, the small room contains DVDs and photo Chapbooks, many of which were created by Splake and printed by one of the many small press publishers he has worked with over the years.
The room also includes a working laptop and DVD player, which visitors can use to view some of Splake’s most recent writings and films.

A few writers magazines sit on a side table, which Splake says he hopes will help anyone interested in honing their writing skills.

“If I knew a kid interested in writing,” he said, “he could come look at the magazines and explore interests in that direction.”

Splake’s own journey into writing did not begin until later in his life. In the late 1960s, Tom Smith was a burnt-out political science professor at Kellog Community College in Battle Creek.

In an attempt to recover from that burnout, he lived alone in Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore in Munising. One morning he was up drinking coffee, watching the smoke rise form the fire, and he started writing. That morning, he wrote four poems.

“I don’t know why I got up to write that [first] poem,” Splake said, “It was like being born a second time in life>”

Along with rebirth, Tom Smith chose a new name. Inspiration came from several different sources. First, inspiration came from the character Kilgore Trout from Kurt Vonnegut’s book “Breakfast of Champions.” Then, when Tom Smith caught his first trophy fish registration told him it was a splake. Retaining his first initial, professor Tom Smith became poet T. Kilgore Splake.

Splake’s early poems centered around woodsy and wild animal themes. Like every writer, Splake eventually started hitting periods of writer’s block. In order to gain further inspiration, he turned to photography.
Now, he said, he chases the writing when it goes well and turns his creative energy to photography when it doesn’t. Poetry is his first choice, he said, with photography a distant second.

During those early years, Splake left his job as professor, which led to several tough financial years.

Splake said during those years, “I used to cry myself to sleep, begging for the freedom to do this.”

Over 1,000 poems later, Splake’s themes have evolved, but he still looks back on his first attempts.

He explained, “Sometimes the early, simple poems have a kind of honesty to them my more mature efforts don’t possess.”

graybeard1

the new splake book “graybeard memories was recently published by the gage press in battle creek, michigan. the book is a brief history of how tom smith became the poet t. kilgore splake. the commentary is based on real people and events, however, the names of the central characters in the memoir have been changed to protect their privacy. the book is forty-eight pages long with a variety of seventeen different photographs. some of the photos include the omphale art gallery, cliffs ‘poet tree,’ rosetta café (splake camus corner table), the old copper mining dredge, and the splake writing room in the calumet art center.

ash

on the small press scene, splake has had poems recently published in the literary magazines “abbey,” and “glimpse.” plus, his haiku poem “loving herself” was the cover poem in a recent
“bear haiku” publication.

“abbey”

private eyes

poets like detectives
bardic shamus tecs
marlowe spade spenser
mike hammer and nero wolfe
chain smokers
drinking rot-gut booze
ignoring policemen
familiar with tough guys
flirting with sexy blondes
solving mysteries
finding killers
where the money went
finally going home
with dark-haired companion
attractive intelligent woman
celebrating together

“glimpse”

feeling a poem (2014)

just relax
deep long breaths
forget your job
all your schooling
posturing professors
ibids and op cits
close your eyes
keep quiet
look inside
long dark shadows
brain-skull cavity
imagine edith piaf
barefoot in the rain
softly singing
another sad song

“bear creek haiku”

loving herself

no one cares for yesterday
worries about tomorrow
living in the moment

currently splake is filming for a new dvd production that will highlight the “green stone mine.” the mine was mentioned in splake’s previous publication “rainbow diary.” in addition, splake is waiting for copies of his new collection of poems to be published by editor dustin pickering of “transcendent-zero press: in houston, texas. the chapbook titled “last dance” is expected to be off the press sometime in mid-july.

crossing brautigan creek

RUSTY TRUCK PRESS editor scot young recently published a selection of my poetry in a side fold chapbook edition titled “crossing brautigan creek.”

scot like myself has for a long time appreciated the poetry in several of the richard brautigan books. he has a recent collection of his own brautigan poems titled “brautigan meets bukowski,” also produced by “rusty truck press.”

the “rusty truck” chapbook has a very special design with “die cuts” for the book’s title and the author’s name “splake.” in addition, the book has a very attractive feather stitch binding.

nationally-known poet alan catlin, of schenectady, new york, recently described “crossing brautigan creek” as a “unique idea – something from the good old days when the small presses did strange new things.”

 

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####

forgotten works



brief moment

pausing at brautigan creek

piney woods path

beyond cobblestone chimney

american mine ruins

below granite cliffs

watery musical melodies

gentle reminder

of richard’s fine poetry

catfish friends

candlelions

perfect days

marcus a-plus

also remembering

rocking chair miles

nights long ago

songs for baby daughter

soothing words

taking anxious casey

back to sweet dreams

# # # #

 

MORE SPLAKE’S TAKES

recently i have had two books published – calumet air force base, by gage press in battle creek, michigan, and splake, produced by transcendent-zero press in houston, texas. in addition i had five poems published in the fine small press literary journal “transcendent visions” located in fairless hills, pennsylvania.

antennas

the calumet air force base book had a brief history of the creation and operation of the base in calumet, michigan. there are also several color photographs that graphically review the wholesale vandalism that was done to the radar facility after it closed. finally there is a longer splake poem that reveals my personal feelings about walking around the old air force base and seeing the human devastation.

aatower

the central focus of splake was my literary tribute to my favorite writers – hemingway, keroauc, brautigan and charles bukowski. besides the poems for these writers, there were a few writings about the rosetta café, my favorite morning coffee drinking place. finally the “transcendent-zero press book finished with several new “graybeard” splake poems.

aaasplake

in the splake introduction, transcendent-zero press editor dustin pickering stated:

“splake does not coddle the reader like a baby, sugarcoating lust with spiritualizing. he affirms his life and he seeks a higher order in simplicity and defies the usual authorities with spark and courage.”

the following three “splake” poems come from the latest issue of “transcendent visions,” edited by david kime and published in fairless hills, pennsylvania.

aaatvision

 

the zone

 

daring outlaw

like tarovsky’s stalker

searching forbidden unknowns

soul suddenly alive

possessing new vision

silent passing

running through jungle

finding way back

returning to himself

before lost behind

yellow crime-scene tape

 

# # # #

 

sylvia

 

beyond school celebrity

no think job

lost in cellphone

constant textings

killer “tits” shoes

lacy bra and panties

black sunglasses

teasing tattoos

without existential self

having no escape

 

 

# # # #

 

ice out finis

 

winds slowly turning

dark heavy shadow

hanging from eaves

naughty girl

showing her tits

silently whispering

“look at me”

black arctic nights

lonely endless terror

sunshine and spring

coming too late

 

# # # #

 

! COMING EVENTS !

 

and and and, note, save your milk duds and jujubes, shortly there will be a new addition to the “splake site.” there will be poetry and photographs from the rusty truck chapbook collection of new poems, plus, eric greinke, editor of PRESA PRESS is presently reviewing my work for another book collection that will be titled “tommy’s desk.” finally, a modest chap of poems “waiting” is being prepared.

 

 

 

more splake poems and photogs

recently i have enjoyed success in getting both poems and photographs published in significant small press journals.

george wallace wrote an excellent review of my presa press book “winter river flowing” in the pedestal magazine.  wallace’s remarks are important for the serious splake reader.

 

cover for winter river flowing published by presa press

cover for winter river flowing, published by presa press, reviewed by the pedestal’s george wallace

t. kilgore splake
winter river flowing: selected poems 1979-2014
Presa Press
ISBN: 978-0-9888279-6-7

Reviewer: George Wallace

For lovers of American poetry that flourishes under the radar, wandering through the slow, steady experience of recollecting the past with poet t. kilgore splake will be an experience of ineluctable delight.

In single poems that have basked in the underground, splake offers captivating memory-pieces characterized by fleeting, impressionistic brushstrokes that mount and layer with an inexorable and satisfying sense of inevitability.

To be short, splake writes like a “lonely lake superior lighthouse keeper with time to muse and write”—and asks of his readers that they slow down and listen with the same level of commitment and patience.

Yes, the tales are sometimes told in a disjointed, incomplete way; sufficient to reignite the author’s memory, no doubt, and often capable of rewarding the reader’s faith that, at any moment in the seemingly endless litany of fragmented memory, a golden nugget may emerge.

It requires a certain frame of mind, of course; the ability to take a deep breath, take it in slowly, to fully savor the steady pace of a storyteller with all the time in the world on his hands.

One approaches a splake poem with wonder and anticipation—wait and listen, through the aggregation, for that special moment which will claim the attention.

As much as that may be a challenge for the modern reader when simply confronted with a single splake poem, how will the fast-paced 21st century American make the time to listen to this marvelous voice for a full 150 pages?

For those who can, the rewards are plentiful. There is an incantatory sweep to the author’s voice which invites the splake-savvy reader to trance out with the speaker, go with the flow—mesmerized, as if by a stranger’s monologue in a dusty Upper Peninsula bar, dust motes dancing against the sun-spattered windowpane as the rest of the patrons hunch heavy-shouldered over beer.

splake is an “endless sentence” poet, with a twist. There’s a regularity of rhythmic shorthand that runs consistently through the body of work, an accretion of short sentence fragments that offer snapshot glimpses into a “continuous past” where the present is not only present, but unshakeable.

Still, that’s a Kerouac trope, and the author tips his hand to the beat author in the epigraph to “trout dancing sonata” (2012): july 1947, sal paradise leaving new York with a few veteran benefit dollars, crazy long-hair hipster, dawn of jazz america, following the purity of “on the road” to denver, visiting larimer gang, old colfax bars and poolhalls with dean…”

splake is all-in with Kerouac, it seems; he’s picked up Jack’s old stylistic baton and run with it, dropping articles with abandon and, more importantly, putting down brushstroke after brushstroke of truncated noun phrases and verb phrases that start with –ing.

The opening lines to “far northern dream” (2012) are characteristic:

late afternoon
long quiet pause
january thaw
warm chinook winds
melting long white drifts
graying poet
finishing new verse
surprising words
“suddenly summer old age”
hard to imagine
years rapidly passing

splake’s true to this stylistic approach throughout the 35 years’ worth of poems covered in the book. Turn to almost any page and you’ll find poems that are detailed, minute remembrances reminiscent of Proust, yet yielding—also in Proustian fashion—to the inexorable parade of imagery and moments.

For all the sense that, across the pages, we’re dealing with the writings of a middle-aged man, there is a wilderness-loving, hard-drinking rawness, and immediacy to the early poems which is fundamentally unlike what splake offers us in later poems.

In the early poems, he’s prone to rev up his engine in fine fashion, an angler gripped with fisherman’s fever, going on“tunnel vision odysseys” across southern Ontario, sipping beer and chewing down sausages for untold hours until “bending into motel-service station complex, crashing on pickup truck front seat.” (“journey to climb a mountain,” 1991).

Or he’s picking up strange women outside a bar on some middle-American city street and taking them off to a cabin for a one night stand, then “sneaking away with carom off basement furnace, relieved to be outside, see the sky…” (“the trophy room,” 1993).

It’s not all macho display. splake adopts a worshipful, wistful tone in poems like “winter prayer” (1980), asking the returning sun to “green the spring forest…and bleach my gray beard red…one more time”; in “memories in spring” (1990), taking “communion in the woods…almost like aging primal druid seeking soul mood in quiet sacred nemeton….”

All things must pass, however. As might be expected, the energy level, sense of virility, and pure spunk shift perceptibly as the years pass and splake approaches 80.

In later poems we’re more likely to be confronted with the“graybeard poet angler/ passing misty memories” (“cocaine rainbow trout,” 2001); an “old man on nightly hike/…deep in december tides/” with a “hated millstone career/ alcoholic suicide dance/ avoiding seductive nothingness,” anticipating waking up in the morning with a “wild tiger/ roaring in his skull” (“long white musings, 2006).

It’s worth noting that Ernest Hemingway is one of the many male/macho characters to whom splake tips his hat. In early poems, Hemingway’s invoked as a macho figure with hard-drinking ways, who jumps out of boxcars with seeming abandon. But by the end of the collection, splake reduces Hemingway to just another literary suicide, in a list that includes Hunter S. Thompson, Richard Brautigan, and Richard Corey.

Our author, thankfully, spares us wondering too much about the whole suicide thing. In fact, he leaves us with a taste of his irreducible impulse to hang on, “wrestling with another/ poem two or three/ until mind shuts down/ body wears out…” (“tommy,” 2014).

For those of us who have enjoyed the poetry of t. kilgore splake all these years, and for new readers about to enter his world, that impulse is certainly good news.

use this link to view the story on pedestal magazine’s website.

# # # # #

glimpse published a splake poem in the june issue.

growing up a poet

collecting stamps

british empire issues best

making one-tube radio

listening to foreign voices

assembling model airplanes

balsa cement tissues

summer with cubs

raspy static chicago station

chuck berry fats domino songs

wlac tennessee

lonely boy

shy around girls

tender feelings

hoping someone cares

the latest edition of bear creek haiku published six splake poems.

riding with delivery man

bottles clinking in wire baskets

early morning adventure

to end of the block

####

waiting early morning

computer screen warming

creative tensions growing

time to make things happen

third wednesday‘s new production has a splake black-and-white photograph titled “long white spirit”.

splake photo - the long white spirit

splake photo – the long white spirit

lilliput review #196 also published a splake poem.

lilliput review #196

lilliput review #196

beginning

agates describing

fiery explosions

crawling glacier whispers

before fish

leaving fossil lines

quiet echoes

along superior shore

spring edition of trajectory published two splake poems in issue 10.

finishing line

suddenly realizing

days closing fast

rat bastard time disappearing

necessary to stand tall

in small ignorant world

shouting loud goddamn

i was here

this is my poem

finally, i have cover photographs and poems in alison vayne’s june edition of the moon literary magazine.

june edition of the moon

june edition of the moon, cover photo by splake

misfits

arid nevada mesquite

empty desert waiting

new crazy dreamers

escaping civilized life

previous ghosts forgotten

big blond girl

not trusting people

couple of cowboys

suffering broken hearts

john huston film

arthur miller in shadows

wrestling wild horses

hoping solitude

freedom from wages

regular routines

providing quiet peace

more splake ink

recently i have enjoyed success in getting my work printed in several significant small press publications.

my poem “go out and play” was printed in the 35th anniversary issue of plainsongs.

the splake poem “spring training” was published in the spring issue of the avocet.

kevin ring, editor of the british magazine beat scene wrote a book review of my “the jack kerouac upper peninsula diary.”

bear creek haiku volumes # 125 and 126 contained four separate short splake poems.

finally my poems earned ink and space in the april and may editions of the moon.

 

35th anniversary issue of plainsongs

35th anniversary issue of plainsongs

 

go out and play

never heard anymore
music lessons sports practices
social club activities
cocooned children
lost in technology
alien blips and bleeps
playing computer games
beating monitor enemy
quietly all alone

 

 

2015 spring issue of the avocet

2015 spring issue of the avocet

spring training

march coming into april
on cold misty breaths
red-throated hawks
dark silhouettes
inside shafts of sunlight
afloat on warm thermals
old poet musing
remembering camping trips
with two young sons
gathering dry twigs
building small pyramids
campfire flame kindlings
late hot chocolate
toasted marshmallow dessert
couple of wonka chapters
before going to bed

 

beat scene issue #76

beat scene issue #76

The Jack Kerouac Upper Peninsula Diary
T. Kilgore Splake
(Angst Productions)

Thomas Smith has me confused.  I’ve known of him, and T. Kilgore Splake for a good few years.  Splake is his alter ego, I guess.  Having just read this chapbook, originally published in 1998, I’ve found it unsettling and beguiling at the same turning of a page.

In this diary of a purely fictitious road trip by Jack Kerouac back in 1958, Kerouac rejoices in all the trials, tribulations and little joys of being mobile, sticking his thumb out – drinking beers with truck drivers, sleeping in woods at the edge of whatever small town he is passing through.  He’s inwardly lamenting his loneliness, his inability to love fully, find a woman and stay with her.  And he writes to his various friends around America, often thinly disguised friends, Old Bull Lee, Julien, Gilgoric, JanJan, his Memere, Japhy, Sterling, Neal of course.

In his short introduction to this collection of diaries and journals, letters to and from Jack Kerouac, – T. Kilgore Splake tells us “…quickly I leafed through the wrinkled, dogeared pages, discovering it was a diary collection of letters, notes, poems, and sort commentaries still distinguishable in fading ink colors, suddenly I felt a stunned awareness at the potential of my accidental find.  My brain felt like it was madly spinning while I pondered the possible discovery of some unknown and unacknowledged “On the Road” writings of the sad, down and out master of the ‘Beat Generation.’ I felt my curiosity growing as I quickly read the diary accounts of Jack cutting out of San Francisco, playing rides across the country, passing through Michigan’s upper peninsula on his way back east, maybe to New York, or maybe to visit memere, maybe both.”

Now, this forty four page chapbook was published 17 years ago, it may have gone mostly unnoticed outside of a small circle, I don’t know.  But it is a clever, intriguing, almost unique slant on looking at Jack Kerouac.  Getting inside his head. If you were completely unaware you migh, just might, imagine these were really Kerouac’s own words.  I’d put it up alongside Victor Levy Beaulieu’s Jack Kerouac: A Chicken Essay from long ago.

 

 

bear creek haiku #125 – 126

 

winter dawn

early white softness
sweet dreamsongs
warming old bardic bones

# # # #

backwater winter

pewter gray sky
blue jay flitting
long white
blizzard

 

 

the moon april 2015

the moon april 2015

my lie

faded prom orchid
“stardust” memories
in country “dear john”
shau valley massacre
finding dead “lurps”
cocks in their mouths
burning hooches
women and childern kia’s
lost boy soldier
dreaming of home

 

the moon may 2015

the moon may 2015

untitled

unexpected pregnancy
destroying young girl’s plans
becoming airline stewardess
hospital technician
iga grocery lifer
stocking cans
pricing boxes
sleeping eating paying bills
dreams of travel
buying new clothes
finding interesting man
seeing her reflection
store window glass
looking like amish doll
without any face

LAST TRAIN HOME

kilgore splake’s most recent chapbook “last train home” was edited by emilie ruiz and published by “gage press” in battle creek, michigan. the general theme of splake’s “last train home” are poems that describe the memories of a graybeard artist. his book begins with an excerpt from the hank williams country-western ballad “i’m so lonesome i could cry.”

“hear that lonesome whippoorwill

he sounds too blue to fly

the midnight train is whining low

i’m so lonesome i could cry”

 

 

last train home cover

last train home cover

 

###

sabbath truth

pentecostal sunday service

mercy river choir

singing loud hallelujahs

solemn prayers to god

while i believe in birds

making wilderness music

writing poems capturing

freedom of their songs

###

misfits

quiet nevada yonlands

empty desert waiting

new crazy dreamers

escaping civilized life

seeking mysterious something

that doesn’t have a name

previous ghosts forgotten

big blond girl

not trusting people

couple of cowboys

suffering broken hearts

john huston’s film

arthur miller in shadows

wrestling wild horses

hoping to discover

way back home

###

tomorrow

steady rain

cold early may

old chevy van

full of mice shit

scattered acorn shells

wet sleeping bag

damp levis socks sweater

clammy chilly feel

threatening hypothermia

deep forest hours

blackest time of night

noises getting louder

wolves moving closer

last beer hours ago

radio signal distant

batteries almost dead

d.j.’s fading whispers

country-western music weak

nashville wlac

mind wildly racing

waking early

brain-killing hangover

lost in eternal darkness

joining ghost pack

flying above treetops

early morning mists

chasing hot blood scents

###

beginning of forever

early morning silence

city limit sign

fading in rearview mirror

keweenaw co-op stop

tranny petrol fill

holiday quick-mart pause

grabbing two bundles

dry campfire wood

large styrene cup

six hour old coffee

yesterday’s mining gazette

on pickup seat

bottle of jack d.

brown paper sack

black label prime

after coffee push

solitary traveler

tavern’s last call done

too early for morning workers

as f. scott said

dark night of the soul

always three o’clock

crossing portage liftbridge

passing through houghton

quiet university campus

chassell baraga l’anse

headlights silhouetting

miles of pine forest shadows

large green highway sign

big bay marquette escanaba

wfxd-103 noise

uncle elmer aho

midnight to dawn

country-western music express

program celebrating two hanks

ranger snow’s

“a fool such as i”

sad williams voice

“cold cold heart”

down hill into munising

radio sounds dim

listening instead

to steady thrummm

rhythm of highway wheels turning

hi yo silver away

ford ranger’s horses

pistons softly purring

dark distant hours

driving through kingston plains

sudden storm exploding

lightning streaking across sky

loud thunder rocking old stumps

magical wilderness sympathy

turning into sullivan pond

remote two-tire ruts

building small fire

winter blowdown shelter

brewing fresh coffee

tiny hot embers

watching eastern horizon

becoming first light

remembering early morning

many years ago

college professor

nursing last night’s hangover

with folger’s red label

for some reason

scribbling a poem

on wrinkled paper plate

quickly writing

another poem or two

stories about

birds and owls

black bears and trees

lumberjacks at log slide

warm lighthouse community

dark rogue wolf

hunting early breakfast

sable lake splake waiting

not realizing then

new person born

choosing right words

creating something new

now exciting challenge

as mayfly

teasing hungry trout

###

future footnotes

splake is currently working on a new manuscript of poems for dustin pickering, editor of
“transcendent-zero-press” in houston, texas.

in addition splake has established a serious connection with john burroughs, editor of “crisis chronicles press” in cleveland, ohio. burroughs and splake are negotiating a splake collection of poems to be published early in 2016.

train

photo featured in last train home, by t.k. splake

train

photo featured in last train home, by t.k. splake

train

photo featured in last train home, by t.k. splake

the moon

splake cover photographs and poems

 

     i am fortunate to have a wonderful creative-artist-editor relationship with alison vyain who publishes the moon literary journal. alison has been extremely generous in giving me ink and page space for my poems as well as choosing several splake photographs for her magazine covers.

     yesterday i posted several recent copies of the moon to my archives at northern michigan university in marquette, michigan, and michigan technological university on the houghton, michigan campus.

     the following are some of the cover photographs as well as recent splake poems published by alison vyain in the moon.

 

 ###

september 2014

SeptMoon

 

 

cuppa regular

 

early morning

barista’s small talk

italian coffee maker

strange growling sounds

hot steamy hiss

customers waiting

exotic caffeine mixtures

lattes espressos cappuccinos

make mind black

no cream or sugar

paper cup with lid

ready to go

 

###

november 2014

 

 

NovMoon

 

 

dad

 

nighttime musings

warm leinie suds

soon winter

many miles waiting

before time to rest

father never knowing

his poetry writing son

fatal heart attack

killing chance

being proud

of his creative blood

 

###

december 2014

 

 

DecMoon

 

 

lighthouse

 

quiet poet

wrestling elusive muse

light always running

nighttime finally over

 

###

january 2015

 

MoonJan

 

 

poet

 

vulnerable and doubting

like kafkas’ “hunger artists”

exists only to create

not seeking celebrity

accumulating wealth

finding right word

making something new

 

 

depression

 

drapes pulled

long dark days

without any friends

grocery post office

trout fishing

serious forced labors

five lives gone

demanding one more

 

small press literary “scores”

at the close of 2014, splake had poems published in several small literary editions.  these included the kurt vonnegut memorial library journal so it goes.  he also had poems produced in cheap seats ticket to ride, bear creek haiku, penny ante feud, and trajectory. the literary magazine trajectory published the splake photograph of the old railroad station in seney, michigan, where ernest hemingway arrived to discover and write about the “big two-hearted river.”


 

so it goes, indianapolis, in

 

hip gallerinas

 

bloody guitar fingers

playing another riff

lonely poet

staring in mirror

seeing pollack’s ghost

watching colors dry

 

 

academic angling

 

buff colored volvo

faculty parking lot

trout fishing outing

expensive graphite rod

fly box loaded

dry “ibis”

weighted “op cits”

 


 

trajectory, frankfort, ky

trajectory

t. kilgore splake's photo of the old train station in seney, mi  published in trajectory, fall 2014

t. kilgore splake’s photo of the old train station in seney, mi
published in trajectory, fall 2014

 

always heading north

 

relentless focus

bolano jim harrison splake

crossing nameless rivers

hiking toward mountains

seeking space

solitary beauty

abandoning greed

broken-hearted love

forgotten youthful dreams

living in pine shadows

running with wolves

soaring on eagle wings

dark clear nights

moon belongs to us

 


 

cheap seats ticket to ride, empire, co

###

her soft voice whispering, “i

still love you, please come

home,” like yuri zhivago on

endless odyssey, chasing aching

heart


bear creek haiku, boulder, co

###

sanity = denial of reality and no poets

about as creative as toilet seat at

“self-service” gas station  on the

interstate


penny ante feud, alpharetta, ga

penny

darkness into light

 

early morning

first dawn shadows

turning tranny miles north

time for trekking

leaving quiet footsteps

climbing cliffs summit

crossing brautigan creek

recalling papa hem favorite

across the river

and into the trees

solitary poet

whiskey soaked brain

moving slowly

out of body consciousness

not like others

ant farm beehive drones

dawn to dusk

doing same old same

or tartt’s goldfinch

cage chained ankle

always landing in same place

listening to forest ghosts

old copper miners

big lake seamen

lumberjacks and trappers

finnish farmers

tilling hard-scrabble soils

young native warriors

children lost

hot diphtheria fevers

better companions

than living cadavers

stupid petty voices

not missing woman

sacred profane passions

adriana of dreams

“renata” safe for papa

sad females

full of pas resentments

collected from junior high

constant naggy complaints

numbing creative visions

leaving unpublished books

lost in literary shadows

moving up path

passing young pines

needles softly purring

old meadow with

thimbleberries in season

deep blue sky

thin clouds across horizon

hawks eagles falcons

soaring on warm thermals

reaching escarpment heights

standing at world’s edge

thinking about beyond

wondering what’s next

knowing i’ll be here forever

dave engel scattering

funeral ashes and bones

afternoon light fading

racing night

back down cliffs

retrieving pickup truck

crockpot madness stew

bard res dinner waiting

before lost in darkness

like prisoner of tri-xxxy neg

keeping eyes open

for mountain lion

like matthiessen’s snow leopard

another pure spirit

long white memories by t. kilgore splake

“yoopers” (michigan upper peninsula natives) often refer to their seasons as eleven months of winter and two or three weeks of tough sledding.

borrowing that theme, long white memories is the most recent collection of poetry by t. kilgore splake. his chapbook was published by “gage press” in battle creek, michigan. the book’s front cover is a painting of calumet, michigan in the winter by jane vanevera of gwinn, michigan. the back cover is a splake photograph of ancient sorel boots and well worn snow shoveling gloves.

the poet splake is currently looking for a small press editor that would be interested in publishing his new manuscript “last train home.”

 

 

# # #

 

after death

 

 

becoming a cloud

constantly changing shapes

floating over earth

moving where wind blows

 

# # #

 

graybeard waiting

 

 

slow painful steps

wilderness wandering

touching tasting reality

almost close enough

nature should let him in

 

# # #

 

becoming

 

 

sad piaf voice

soft betraying words

distancing love

broken promises

another heart chasing

someone new

 

# # #

 

beginning

 

 

agates describing

fiery volcanic explosions

crawling glacier whispers

before fish

leaving fossil lines

quiet echoes

along superior shore

 

# # #

 

always heading north

 

 

relentless focus

bolano jim harrison splake

crossing unnamed rivers

hiking toward mountains

seeking places

solitary beauty

abandoning greed

broken-hearted love

forgotten youthful dreams

living in pine shadows

running with wolves

soaring on eagle wings

dark clear nights

moon belongs to us

 

# # #

 

master’s of flat arts

 

 

academic poets

lacking serious imagination

explosive original visions

gpa important

needing constant praise

for fractured self-esteem

satisfied with traditional rules

grammar and punctuation

censoring others experimenting

with dangerous writing styles

fearful wordsmiths

living without

loving and fucking

blending sacred and profane

while bearded tattooed poets

needing madness to create

each morning deciding

suicide today

or writing something new

 

 

# # #

splake in long white