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Portage Lift Bridge, connecting Michigan's Upper Peninsula to Keweenaw Peninsula

t. kilgore splake

t. kilgore splake


forgotten ghosts



                                                     rabbit hopping under

                                                     rusting auschwitz wire

                                                     winter shadows covering

                                                     paw print




time capsule



                 old computer curbside 

                                                     landfill destination

                                                     god box ideas

                                                     still alive

                                                     waiting new discovery






                                                        “cover me with dirt”

                                                        morning after black coffee

                                                        shy good girl

                                                        alone again




true at first light



                                                       african safari


                                                       south of nairobi

                                                       seeking trophy lion

                                                       tired “papa” words

                                                       new novel manuscript

                                                       occasional literary rush

                                                       like joy of

                                                       aged cheddar

                                                       bitter warm beer

                                                       old cigar aroma

                                                       worn out leather boots

                                                       making love with mary

                                                       hyena’s nighttime songs

                                                       gentle evening humm







                                                         college professor celebrity

                                                         top faculty salary

                                                         blue-ribbon perks

                                                         summer vacations free

                                                         used to enjoy teaching

                                                         higher education changed

                                                         or writing first poem

                                                         now devoting time

                                                         contesting elusive muse

                                                         quiet lonely hours

                                                         filling blank pages

                                                         scribbling words that sing

                                                         creating new blood songs

                                                         like spawning salmon

                                                         making new life

                                                         while killing precious soul

                                                         starving artist poverty

                                                         never achieving fame

                                                         sacred writing sanctuary

                                                         free from

                                                         others constant demands

                                                         saving mental sanity

                                                         suicide madness

                                                         bullet in the brain




delusions of grandeur



                                                            burned out professor

                                                            dreaming of mountain men

                                                            wild frontier escape

                                                            rising safe job

                                                            things money buys

                                                            moving to alaska

                                                            teaching native children

                                                            rural school

                                                            bureau of indian affairs

                                                            saving paychecks

                                                            purchasing homestead acres

                                                            hunting fishing gardening

                                                            living off the land

                                                            wife’s friends frightened

                                                            criticizing foolish idea

                                                            man running away

                                                            can’t accept himself

                                                            finally living alone

                                                            endless classroom lectures

                                                            paying child support

                                                            slow painful death

                                                            early one morning

                                                            writing rare poem

                                                            grand epiphany

                                                            strange waking vision

                                                            moving beyond

                                                            unhappy existence

                                                            distant log cabin

                                                            end of the world

                                                            arctic air

                                                            brisk blue hummm

                                                            smoke curling skyward

                                                            snowshoes and traps





Hear TSP Editor Zinta Aistars interview t. kilgore splake on WMUK.


t. kilgore splake (the “cliffs dancer”) lives in a tamarack location old mining row house in the ghost copper mining village of calumet in michigan’s upper peninsula.  as an artist, splake has become a legend in the small press circles for his writings and photography. his most recent book titles are “creative life,” and the third volume of his memoirs, “tres metrops.” splake recently completed a larger collection of his poetry and short-story-writings.  he is looking for a small press to publish his “ghost dancer’s dreams.”

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