Dear Norbert by Jude

24 08 2020

Dear Norbert –

It’s a strange year you’re missing Norb, this 85th of “You Should BE Here With Us” year. Admittedly, this is not one you might chalk up as having “missed” … for seriously: I can’t see you wearing a mask (though I know you would.) But you should be here.

You should be here for the love those of us who miss you in our daily lives will always carry for you. You should be here for “dinner out” at one of our favorite places (some remain intact) – and there would be CAKE! You should be here for all the right reasons.

I confess, there are some changes here on this beautiful island you don’t want to know of. Some that you predicted have come to be, but others that were unforeseen seem rather shocking. Knowing we can’t stop “change”, those of us left behind hold on to all that is yet wonderful and rare here, knowing what the real treasurer of Door County is. We would celebrate this Happy 85th Birthday day driving down favorite roads, walking the trails by the old house with our good dog Ivan (who still runs out to find you in the Coop when we get near the holy grounds) and celebrate the quiet of the dark night and empty fields. If you were here.

Flowers will be with you on this day, poems will be read and memories will fill our hearts. Because, dear Norberto’: You are with us, always.

Love, Jude


Norbert Blei / Portrait by Emmett Johns



11 responses

24 08 2020
Paula K

Knowing yesterday was his birthday, like others, I carried him in my heart all day. I dug deep into my emails to rediscover his “Good morning…” photographs of different places around the County…and then willingly dove down the rabbit hole for a few hours of reading Poetry Dispatches from years ago. It was wonderful. His presence was real. Happy birthday 🎂 Norb! And thinking of you, Jude. 💕

25 08 2020
Jude Gx

You know he loves hearing this Paula ~ thanks for all of it.

24 08 2020
Albert DeGenova

Happy Birthday Norb. This one is for you. Thanks Jude.

After the Teacher

I built a crude altar
old bricks and smooth white beach stones
for the sculpture that gently bubbles,
the sound of water in my garden –
like Basho’s frog jumping in,
you’d like that.
Yet with morning coffee in one hand
and your book in the other I hear
lawn mowers, airplanes, and car engines racing.

There is not enough quiet.
I need more silence. I need
to hear the untowed words
summersaulting in my head.
I need to hear your words,
your Door, your way.

I know why you left this city.

And now you’ve left us all
for even more silence –
no dramatic thunderclap of shotgun,
your exit was a door closed
softly, only the sound of the bolt
catching the strike.
No northerly will open it again.

I ordered one of your early books
from a used book dealer. It arrived signed –
yours was a difficult handwriting.

You once wrote:
I write on my paintings to be heard
as well as seen.
And I understand now
why I play my saxophone
during my poetry readings.

And I hear your deep
articulated voice,
clear and sharp
as a boning knife. So I
write louder –
in your words
there is an icy courage.

25 08 2020
Jude Gx

Weeping Al … you’ve nailed it. Beautifully. ~thank you~

24 08 2020
Bridget Buff

Beautiful words- He is both loved and missed 💔

24 08 2020
Alice D'Alessio

Dear Norb- I miss him still. His strength, his encouragement. I find that I can read one of his books, and his voice comes back. What a gift! Happy Birthday, dear friend.

25 08 2020
Jude Gx

We surely do, do find him, in his books. And often – ours!

24 08 2020
Stefanie Burke

I miss his presence in my unimportant life…for, the mornings he came for breakfast…I was important…not just the small talk- but he really did want to know what I was up to…he liked being alone and quiet…but mostly, he loved being with you, Jude! Hugs…

25 08 2020
Lynne Bishop

why do I need to fill out this field to read this letter?

25 08 2020

you don’t … ????????? Just if you want to comment .. ????

30 08 2020

Beautiful thoughts, Jude. I’m sure Norb would have things to say about these strange times! Carol

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