Jude Genereaux | Good, Good Vibrations

1 06 2016

Coop ID

Good, Good Vibrations

I just returned from touching-base w/ the beloved village, Ellison Bay. I know I shouldn’t do it – but, on an emotional pilgrimage to our old house, the excuse being to deliver a few mementoes to the new owners, Ivan and I walked out to where Norb’s working space, the mystical chicken Coop once stood.

After the founders of the “Write On! Door County” center for writing and writers heave-ho’ed moving the Coop to Juddville in 2014, nearly all of Norb’s totems and “forest art” was taken from the surrounding woods: the log that displayed a row of his exhausted typewriters, gone … the rocks swinging like prehistoric wind chimes from the trees, removed … broken bits of pottery he displayed in the sun, thrown away, and the bench where he once took breaks to smoke pipe – has been moved to sit in front of “the woman’s” reflecting pond, now turned into a campfire pit. Even the cement pad that once cradled the Coop has been removed.

It’s a heartache witnessing change, even when expected, so I don’t go there often. But this was spring! with baby buds about to burst in the tree limbs and my feet couldn’t resist following what use to be path to where the Coop once was. There, where the earth has been moved, routed, disturbed and bulldozed – there! bursting forth in blue: a solid bed of ‘Forget-Me-Nots’ blanketed the sorry earth that once thrummed with Norb’s energy. He’s still at work.

Nose to the ground, our good dog Ivan scouted the perimeter of the Coop’s exact boundary, resplendent in the tiny blue flowers. Forget him ~ Not. ~ Jude

Jude Genereaux | Who Knows Where The Time Goes?

22 04 2014

Time. Time seems to have always been an issue for Norb and I. Because we met in the later years of life, because it moves too fast, because there never seemed to be enough it to get done all the writing, all the travels, daily tasks, errands and still have hours for friends & family and each other. All that stopped last year. One year already … April 23rd. 2013 … the man left this earth. In April. The month of re-birth. Renewal.

And time stopped. The finality of death, especially someone’s who was so vibrant, alive and OUT there! as Norbert Blei, stopped everything for this woman. The sobering gong of GONE continues to ring, even as we-who-loved-him anxiously seek out one more thing we can do for him, to keep him alive in our days and efforts, and to honor his memory and his life’s work.

Planning his Memorial kept us going through June. Then came efforts to move the Coop to the ‘Write ON! Center’ in Juddville; friends created a Scholarship at Gibraltar High in his name, others changed an Award designation at the Council of Wisconsin Writers to commemorate Norb’s work. Fellow classmates from The Clearing began work mid-winter on a compilation of essays he’d sent out the call for, in honor of The Clearing – and Norb as teacher. Essays, articles, books and poems have been written and dedicated to him.

Just this past month, the saddest task came, emptying our beloved home on Europe Lake Road of 46 years of life & memory that lived within those walls.


How do we find yet one more event, word, task we can do for him? Have we accomplished every effort envisioned? For a man as dedicated to the art of writing and teaching as Norb? Not hardly. His influence and love continue, his voice rings in our ears urging us to “Get it down”, capture the moment, and “Send it out there!” I hear his voice assuring me that “Someone out there desperately needs to hear what you have to say”. For me, the writer I most needed to hear, was Norbert Blei.

Now comes April again, with all its promise of rebirth and blooming … how can anyone leave this earth so abundant, in April? Our tulips, crocuses, daffodils & narcissus push their way to the sun in front of the old house – with neither of us there to oogle there arrival.

What remains is the spirit he continues to urge forth in new shoots of writing, words that spring to the page, his encouragement echoes. It’s what he told us to do. Write it down.


Learning Curve

“There ain’t no cure for Love”
~ Leonard Cohen

How do we mourn our shadow?
my echo, the skin on my shoulder where
…….he was always present,
…….together or apart.
…….He was “there”.
Still is. ~ Jude Genereaux

Jude Genereaux | Happy Birthday Darlen’ …

23 08 2013

Happy Birthday Darlen’ …
78 this day: August 23rd, 2013.

You may find yourself in grander company this birthday dinner Norbert, up there with Dave Brubeck & Studs, Vaclav Havel … my brother Al? But Norbr’ – ya shoulda been here. We – all of us, Blei’s & Buff’s & Aunt Lorry & the Blei-Tribe miss you more than you would have imagined. You left us all – too soon.

And I really don’t know how to do this …
learning to live without the sense of your presence in the simplicities of every day life ~ the habits & routines created, moments I turn with news to tell you … the hardest time – 5:45, when I expect you to be coming in from the Coop. Not that we hadn’t spent time apart … but one of us was always on the road back. Always.

How do the rest of us sing our songs without the lilt that made them come alive? much less celebrate days empty without you? Or move through the favorite month of August when it echoes so much loss? These things we never want to learn.

So be patient (for once) until I get back to your side. Our picnics will be quieter now, but I’ll come sit in the grass beside you & recall the ways we honored our holidays – anniversaries & birthdays. For as much as you’d protest that you “didn’t want all that attention!” – you did. Never flinched as favorite restaurant people in Milwaukee & Door served up cupcakes & candles … protests rang hollow up north as well, as Tag-Along or Five O’Clock sang choruses of “Happy Birthday”, you – smiling like a kid.

You left us all too soon, so we’re singing our songs to you with all our hearts … forgive us if they sound a little off key.
~ your Jude

Birthday Gifts

We sit face to face
center of the bed
sharing birthday surprises.

A rose for you
pressed impatiens for me
a watercolor, photo of dawn
strawberries and books
A heart of gold, a truffle or two;
backrubs and chatter
your face
next to mine in the morning.

The true gift is: Time
to lean into hunger
speak the secret language
taste the sweet peace of Renewal.

So run us a tub, my hot lovin’ man
fill it with passion fruit foam
and sink in beside me.
bubbles forth
are the promise
my life bargained for.


I want the shirt he died in.
I want the clothes pins, our dishes,
the last bottle of champagne …

I want all the books, love letters, the
movies and our blankets and
the time we wasted …

I want to hang the sheets, trim his mane
fetch him coffee, bring home bird seed
& go to breakfast at the Viking …

I want his hands, those eyes
his bump in the night
I want him back.

~ Jude Genereaux
Coyote Woman


jeffrey johannes, michael farmer, cory a. masiak, jude genereaux, bobbie krinsky | WISCONSIN POETS’ CALENDAR, 2011

19 07 2010

Poetry Dispatch No. 327 | July 19, 2010


Jeffrey Johannes, Michael Farmer, Cory A. Masiak, Jude Genereaux, Bobbie Krinsky

Editor’s Note: This excellent collection, the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Celebration of Wisconsin’s Best Poetry (wfop.org/calendar.html), first published by Tom and Mary Montag in 1982 and under the superb direction of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets since 1987, is an annual reminder that poetry is alive and well in a Midwestern state noted for cows, cheese, beer, Fighting Bob LaFollette’s Progressive Party, and the Green Bay Packers.

The 2011 edition, extremely well-edited by Sandra Lindow and Peg Lauber, represents over two hundred Wisconsin poets, from the state’s past and present poet laureates to fledgling writers finding print for the first time. That’s a particular measure of mine I champion whenever possible: Does this little magazine publication, small press, etc. keep its door wide open for any and every writer who submits a piece of work for publication, or is it a ‘private club’ of like-minded friends and academics who publish only themselves? What I particularly admire about three Wisconsin publications—the former Free Verse, Hummingbird, and the Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar—is the open door policy, knowing how difficult it has always been for beginning writers to get their foot in the literary door, even more so these days via print.

The 2011 calendar is further enhanced by the cover and interior art work of poet/painter of Candace Hennekens.

Bear in mind that my selections for this posting represent a very small fraction of all the fine work to be found in this volume. Also, many of the poets are either friends of mine and/or former students of my annual writing workshop at The Clearing, here in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin where I live, many of them with a substantial amount of books and credits to their name, and consequently will try my best (with the possibility of one or two exceptions) to concentrate primarily on the poets I do not know and/or those who could use a little more exposure.

This collection is such a rich resource of good work, I will very likely return to it throughout the year and post additional poems either on this site or either of my two Wisconsin sites: NBCoop News or Door County Today. —Norbert Blei

Some Winter Day
Think of winter as the creative
recluse who emerges
from his half of your duplex
to borrow a cup of sugar.
He sits at your table sipping coffee,
frost clinging to his beard.
Your coffee still too hot to drink,
conversation drifts.
You try to remind him about color:
daffodils, playground chalk, koi;
but he only wants to talk
about his latest composition,
an opera in which the protagonist
paints the world white.
It takes him all morning to sing
the opening aria.
Outside your window,
snow lifts and curls.
You light a cigarette,
pour some Irish whiskey
into your coffee,
and settle in for the second act.

Jeffrey Johannes


ice fishing called off
boat refuses proper launch
water much too hard

–Michael Farmer


I have to dig deep
to learn to be farmer again
I have to uproot
the strata of office jobs
the habit of meetings
and memos
and get my hands dirty
break into working sweat
dig past
the academic degrees
and study abroad
to find the grain
that kernel of need
and obligation
and love
in the sweet soil of me

–Cory A. Masiak

Bait Shop
You know that smell
the minute you walk in
Know you’ve reached back & found it again
that old bait shop, milk & bread store
at the Four corners by the lake.

Could be in Petoskey where Old Hem
hung out on his way to the Big Two Hearted
or the one in Baileys on the harbor
any hundred others near the U.P. or the Brule

And you’re 10 again, a can of worms in your fist
waiting for Dad to take you out in that old row boat
with the leaky bottom, water sloshing between the slats
tied to the dock & bobbing in morning mist
up at Uncle Hank’s.

Walk through that old wooden screen door—BAM!
Bags of chips, iced cokes & souvenirs—jack knives,
birch bark canoes &; sweetgrass baskets For Sale
next to postcards of black bear & trout, all
steeped in the scent of old wood, damp & musty
Closed-for-Winter air lingering in summer’s musk

Walking back through that door
to summers past.

—Jude Genereaux

Winter’s First Orange

On nights like these
when temperatures plunge
and turn our world
into black ice and powder white

and my dog—even my dog—
won’t step outside,

it’s time to reach
for my first winter’s orange,
peel it in a single spiral,
lean over the kitchen sink
and, juice running
down my fingers,
take one bite, then another
and another
till lips and tongue tingling,

I purr, “Hey Jack Frost,
blow me a kiss.”

–Bobbie Krinsky

For those wishing to get a copy of the Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar, drop by the Clearing in Ellison Bay or Novel Ideas in Baileys Harbor if you are local, or to go the the website http://www.wfop.org and hit the Calendar link for information…then wander through some of the other areas to find out more about the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets.