JANUARY 2022: Moving Ahead

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day has always been one of my favorite times. As a child, I enjoyed having no school, hanging out with my cousins, doing puzzles, playing games, and, as I got older, going to snow camp. This past week I spent my time finishing up one artwork and starting another as well as collecting final submissions of artwork from the other artists who will be showing with me at the Attleboro Museum this coming April. For me this winter will be all about planning and getting ready for this art adventure seven years in the making.

Finally completed—CALIFORNIA: The Homeless State

I started this work-on-paper back in the summer before we began merging my Mother’s house into mine, so it was satisfying to finally have the time to complete it. This problem has been my mind as I drive through Albuquerque and watch the number of unhoused people increase during this pandemic. The problem in California was brought to my attention by an acquaintance who mentioned it after spending some time there recently.

California, also known as the Golden State, is the state with the largest unhoused population. In January 2021, according to an estimate done by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, there were over 161,000 unhoused people in California.

According to University of California San Francisco’s Curry Center, the top reasons for a person to become unhoused are:
• 31% job loss
• 20% drugs or alcohol use
• 15% divorce or separation,
• 13% an argument with a family member who asked them to leave
• 12% incarceration
• 7% domestic violence.
• 10% eviction
• 7% mental health
• 7% physical health or medical condition
• 1% housing restrictions due to probation or parole

Planning for the Massachusetts Museum Show

This week the eight of us are submitting our currently available work to the Massachusetts museum director. Two years ago she choose the artists. Last year the exhibit was postponed due to the pandemic. This January she will choose the actual artwork that I will be driving out to Massachusetts during the last week in March. Once she has chosen the work, the planning will begin in earnest. How large of a truck will I need to rent? How best to pack the work to deliver it safely? When is the best time to buy my ticket to return to New Mexico between the opening and the closing.

Anything you can do to help defray the expenses of this ambitious under taking would be appreciated.
Click HERE to donate.

What’s Up at Ghostwolf?

 We are not having a January opening due to the Omicron variant, but we are open everyday from 11am to 6pm. In February Ghostwolf will feature the eight artists whose work will be exhibit at the museum in Massachsetts. In February I also hope to have the latest large I Ching hexagram painting completed. See the work-in-progress below.

Snow Camp

This poem and other narrative poems like it can be found in my book Letters to the Deceased and Other Missives published by Poetry Playhouse publications in 2020. It was a finalist in the 2021 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards along with my other book published in 2020, House of Cards: The Whole Deck.

Boxing Day—bundled
up in our father’s long
underwear, parkas,
double-socked, cotton
then wool, furry boots,
turtlenecks, sweaters,
and carrying sleeping bags
rated for 30º below,
we climbed into
a yellow school bus
to travel the five hours
north of Milwaukee.

At our favorite camp,
we rode horses
through brilliant snow,
their warm animal smell
sweeping into our clothes,
until the cold was deemed
too much for the beasts,
and we would switch
to cross-country skis,
working our feet
up and down until
we could finally
feel our toes.


Piling on huge black
tractor inner tubes
with ten other teens,
we would careen down
icy slopes through pine
trees and out onto
the lake where we
could skate on the
bumpy lake ice,
except it was too cold
to change into the
thin white leather
of our figure skates.

During a twilight walk
through the woods,
we silently caught
a glimpse of a rare
snowy owl turning
its ghostly head—
the arctic blast had
forced it south
from Canada—
too cold for even the
northernmost owl.

So cold, the propane
heaters in the cabins
quit working.

So cold, we slept
with all our clothes
packed around us
in our sleeping bags.

So cold, the day after
the farewell bonfire,
the bus wouldn’t start.

Yet we happily waited
another day for the
temperatures to rise to zero
so the engine could ignite
and carry us home
for the New Year.

Stay healthy and safe!