This is a poem for Norbert Blei, great friend of mine, a soulmate of Wisconsin transported from Chicago. Norbert lives in Door County where for many years he has practiced his great writing art in the conscience of our times. I admire (as do so many) his incredible voice lifting through his writings, and his presence in the landscape of what was and could be. Norbert has SPINE! Like his books written under the hat of his name. He is a Wisconsin treasure with a hark to the nation. Besides his own incredible works, he has published through his Cross+Roads Press many books of poems and prose of other writers who deserve attention. He works out of his “Coop” but he’s no chicken of a voice. More like a rooster crowing to the day to wake up! Google Norbert and begin your way into his world if you aren’t yet familiar.
NORBERT BLEI – March 26, 2010
Codger, a dodger, confidence trickster-
Keeper of Wisconsin.
Writer, let’s know, of great Wisconsin wrongs.
I would lay light that his work
Unpaving a road through Door County
Will whisk dust up for young writers to come to
Find voice and camp there in their own
With a consciousness of no conciliations,
Follow their bare bones loosening the bullshit
To fit this new world that frighteningly forgets the old.
Prose man, poet blender.
Sender off to the world
His great working gifts.
A presence lifted from Illinois
Took the flyway of Lake Michigan
And built a nest as eagles do north
Where all can be seen from.
Perched in his coop to
Sway swoop down on any day.
Craft steeped like how-ever-old-he-is whiskey.
You can smell it on his breathway-
Honor to the deep in shallow politics.
He is editing our time,
The anger all behind a voice of sweetness.
Plow the road.
Like that crazy crooked county road
That hauls all to the landing across from
Jesus, who platted that?
Only one who can laugh along the way.
Norbert Blei ferries himself across
All of us.