Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Adrie Kusserow: A Brief Respite after Chemo

A BRIEF RESPITE FROM THE USUAL PERCEPTUAL DIVIDES:
AFTER CHEMO I SKI THROUGH THE VERMONT WOODS IN ANOTHER CLIMATE CHANGE STORM

Pumped with steroids,
eyes rimmed pink, mouth sores raw, I scuttle through the ragged birch, pale, bald, lean and hunched.

Wind writhes, arches its back, whips its tail and leaves, branches crack and moan.

I ski deeper into the wild white roaring
til I’m not sure I’m human anymore, blind
with the whirling undertow of snow,
more a coagulation of dying things,
so I gladly let my sheddings be taken by the wind, its giant swirling paw batting me about
til I’m dizzy with a mixing and merging,
giddy with a blurring
of the usual divides,

the bulky ones the ego guards like a bone,
the ones that lift weights each day,
Anthropocene thugs of truth, that hold our species in first place and fuck up the rest of the planet.

Sometimes I don’t want to ski home though it’s filled with such good people.

Meanwhile the worried
wonder when I’ll return,
so I turn around, dutifully,
because I don’t want to disappoint.

On the couch
we drink warm milk,
wincing as the storm pummels our house,

apocalyptic, someone says,
yes, I say, numbly,
just so I can keep on thinking
how all my life I’ve wanted to disperse long enough for the moon or the owl to mistake my body for a field,

and though we think our minds are sealed in skulls the hair on our arms is the first to sense
an oncoming storm.

Quiet, mind,
stay mixed, confused, humble, just a little while longer.


Copyright 2019 Adrie Kusserow

“From the earth it sings” by Willem Kusserow-Lair

16 comments on “Adrie Kusserow: A Brief Respite after Chemo

  1. KB
    April 21, 2019

    I am grateful to Adrie for taking us with her to explore the nature of existence.

    Will’s art also uncannily blurs boundaries as though there is some merging of consciousness between parent and offspring.

    Many thanks to both of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. gwensb
    April 20, 2019

    Beautiful, brutal, and deeper than honest.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jana Sbardellati
    April 16, 2019

    Again, Adrie takes me into a world with which I’m not familiar. Thank you for sharing your talents with us, Adrie and Will. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Karla
    April 15, 2019

    Powerful poem! Stunning artwork.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Brian Glenney
    April 15, 2019

    Really really powerful multi-sensory duet. I must explore my thoughts a bit! The figure gestures towards what might appear an impossible triangle, as if to say, ‘this is a life for you to live, not understand.’ A brilliant pairing with words on the “recreational” act of skiing but here we are living with recreation as death and “dispersal.” God damn these Vermont winters but praise the twisted impossible life it brings.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Anita Henderlight
    April 15, 2019

    Thank you, Adrie and Will, for sharing your insights with the world. Your words and art illuminate humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Moira
    April 14, 2019

    Breathtaking. Mother and son. Artists. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. kconnaught
    April 14, 2019

    Adrie & Will – thank you for sharing these parts of yourselves. Your Art reminds us to live and feel for our earth and for each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ather
    April 14, 2019

    adrie – this is extremely beautiful and heartbreaking — there is a nugget in each stanza that stopped me. you take us on a journey and do not disappoint. thank you. also for your son’s incredible artwork ❤️❤️❤️🙏🏽

    Liked by 1 person

  10. ljd1
    April 14, 2019

    keep turning to home in the storm, adrie–powerful poem and amazing art by will–

    Liked by 1 person

  11. pieta
    April 14, 2019

    So very touching from Adrie and such a great job by Will

    Liked by 1 person

  12. jalerner11
    April 14, 2019

    Adrie, thank you, for taking us on with you on this deep ski. Thank you, Will, for sharing your piece — it’s extraordinary. Keep making art, both of you, please. It helps the rest of us be in this world.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Chet Scerra
    April 14, 2019

    Here, Kusserow’s words prod all of my existential compartments…those areas of the “me” that rarely experience perturbation. In her opening scene I am at once a voyeur, a scared participant, a compassionate reader, and just another human who recognizes that I too will one day have a turn at this experience or something akin.

    Most of us have indelibly etched images of the ravages of chemo-poisons….from our friends, our loved ones…and possibly first-hand in ourselves. In my own mother I remember the mouth sores, the hallmark baldness, and…..the eyes, those red, sore eyes that would piercingly reach out to me as if pleading for me to throw her a life preserver.

    But Kusserow takes us further into uncharted territory.
    She wonders what is this body that is being ravaged? ….whose body is it?
    She skis deeper into the white roaring, blinded by the whirling undertow…a mere coagulation of dying things..
    She questions her humanity.
    She would be glad if the wind — that giant, swirling paw batting her about — were to take away her sheddings.

    She is giddy with the blurring of the usual divides.
    It’s this last phrase that caught my attention in particular. This blurring “of usual divides” can come at times in our lives when it is a most welcomed balm.

    This piece brings me to a place where, the older I become, I spend a lot of time….thinking about what it will be like when I too enter the territory of significant physical challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Tam
    April 14, 2019

    Breathless reading this. I can feel the ache of it. And the powerful painting is an apt pairing.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. edg64
    April 14, 2019

    Stunningly true. Both of you. anthropocene thugs of truth – brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Robert Lair
    April 14, 2019

    One of my favorites for both Will and Adrie!!

    Liked by 1 person

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