• Jason Keusch

Gogebic Gogebic O

In 2014 I went about changing my life. The first stop on the trip was to the childhood home of my Grandfather:  Wakefield, MI and Lake Gogebic. I was coming off a hectic 20 years in the restaurant industry. I was tied up in knots as a million mistakes, minor slights and missed opportunities combined with never really taking time to assess my successes and failures or, for that matter, determine a new course based upon said assessment. As I drove from my East Lansing condo, packed with two weeks worth of food and books, stress fell away with each mile marker passed.

The luckiest Michiganders- Packer Fans

In 2 short years, I had lost my mother, grandmother and grandfather on one side of the family. My mother had always threatened to drive us to Wakefield as kids. She talked about it like it was a wonderland (she was right), but it was 8 hours away and it never happened. I never actively thought it, but I think it was the only place that was far enough away from the noise but close enough to her and my grandparents to work on what I needed

I found my Grandfather's house. I visited the Wakefield News which my great-grandfather owned. I toured the Porkies and Lake of the Clouds. I smoked by the lake G. and read by Sunday Lake. In the middle of it all, I made a bunch of paintings, composed a few of never-to-be-read letters of remorse, sorrow and scorn. I wrote fifty poems (some of them good) that would become Gogebic Confessions. "Confessions". was half the output from that summer, the second part, written at Our Lady of Gethsemane Monestary in Kentucky was called Be Not Conformed... These two works, never before published anywhere, were to be a a roadmap to where I am now, making and selling art.

Why do I tell you all this? I want you to know that when you see my work that you are seeing a collision of one man's love for his State and his love for God. I don't make Michigan artwork because it is trendy (it is). And I haven't built a little business based on a bible quote (Romans 12:2) because it is popular to do so. I do it because I have to do it. I do it because I love my mother and father and their home. I do it because my Grandfather served the Great State of Michigan as a State Representative and Treasurer and it is my innate duty to honor him. I paint and make art because God gave me the will, the ability, and the grace to do so. Not doing these things, to me, would be simply turning my back on grace. I promise, there are easier roads...

Below are two things: Poem number two from Gogebic Confessions and an advertisement for my Epoxy Michigan Painting Presale for the holiday season. I hope you like them both.


Be not Conformed!!


Gogebic Gogebic O

by Jason Keusch

July 1, 2015

Lake Gogebic State Park

Gogebic Gogebic O

your soulful shores

Oh, your quiet majesty

God lives, here, amore

I search here of my past

playing quietly at my heart’s cause

observing my heritage’s birth

looking for my soul’s cause

I seek a the carefree girl

before she became my doting mother

I wish to feel her childhood glee

five siblings splashing shallow water

I can see the man who drove them

to the very waves that raised him

he, smiling, standing ankle deep

watching his brood’s rippling bedlam

Show me the station wagon, the boxer dog

the blankets and picnics and the boats

I can hear the shriek of cold calm water

shocked, at the dip of a cautious warm toe

Gogebic Gogebic O

your soulful ghosts amore

O, your children’s’ majesty

lives in God upon your shore

Speak to me of my patriarch

his home e’er be blessed

tell me of his childhood days

and his siblings’ tragic rests

how did he become a man of God

and the patterned model of my life?

the luckiest man I’ve known

whose greatest love was his wife

teach me about him, great lake

as he stands upon your shore

watching his clutch slash your waves

smiling within his spirit’s core

The pride and joy of Wakefield High

spent summers encamped in your womb

and raised a fold of gleeful kids

inspired by your bloom

Gogebic Gogebic O

grant voice to the ghosts of your shore

teach his wayward grandchildren

the hopes of his fathers fore

Teach us one more lesson

you wise sapphire of the north

why did you allow a family to split?

before your soulful hearth

Please assuage this guilt of ours

remove us all our blames

let us forgive our conscious first

and once more unite before your flames

Can you hear me clearly, Lake?

can you sense my plight?

will you allow your dead spirits speak

for all our souls reunite?

Or will you say that dead is dead?

what is past is surely passed

I can rest my head to sleep

now that the question has been asked

Gogebic Gogebic O

your dead speak unspoken lore

and my familiys’ histories

are present upon your shore

I came to you in pilgrimage

tying open loops to close

to see my mother in childhood bliss

and bring my sadness close

her stories of your majesty

her favorite little girl thoughts

open my heart to happiness

within you, Gogebic, I have sought

I am standing on your shore now

my heart glowing fully

my soul is open wide

to hear any news you’d tell me

Gogebic Gogebic O

allow me to hear your quiet roar

I am standing with God within me

upon your soulful, ghost-filled shore

Jason Keusch is a visual artist, sometimes writer and former Chef. Varhaus is a made-up word for his art studio. For more information, sign up to this blog , hit him up at or cotact here.

*** All rights reserved.

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