Sealey Chapbk Challenge-31

The House of Belonging-David Whyte

This well-worn book traveled with me to waiting rooms and to the laundromat a few years back after my washing machine refused repair. I’ve made pencil sketches on many of the pages as i do when i make a book mine alone. I love David Whyte’s poetry and was happy to reacquaint myself with this book that has inspired many of my poems. His poetry is also for those who think they don’t understand poems.


TTOT-ten things of thankful

Footprint raised in snow with (oak?) leaf
  1.  Pasta. I love pasta of any size, shape or color; hot or cold or room temperature in the middle of the night. Better than steak any day.
  2. For the birds that flock to my feeder early in the day. They continue my day with joy after an early morning walk.
  3. For my Kindle where I can read with a black background to ease the strain on my eyes.
  4. Silver Sneakers that sends me brief exercise routines that keep me from getting cranky at the computer by un-cranking my body throughout the day.
  5. For the wealth of knowledge that rests on my bookcases, an arm’s length away.
  6. For white vinegar as a cleaning agent so I don’t have to fill our waterways with poisons.
  7. For the family history that I find so fascinating. What ancestors I have!
  8. For the crossword puzzle in my local newspaper that keeps my brain reaching.
  9. Knowing that soon cooler weather will come, leaves will turn colorful and maybe we’ll have snow.

Room darkening drapes that keep the heat of summer outside where it belongs.


Sealey Chapbk Challenge-28 plus 2 poems

Seasons-Monday Morning Writers


arlene s bice

What reader can breeze past a shop with a table

full of books for sale sitting on the sidewalk  

or the paintings spread out on a tablecloth of an 

entrepreneur artist in Washington Square

see the man selling crisp apples at lunchtime in

Manhattan, he’s next to the guy playing the sax

bringing music to those too busy, dropping coins in

the open, blue velvet-lined case, a bit of appreciation

further down the walk is the fast-talker selling watches

sporting all kinds of fancy bands at really cheap prices

a bargain for the tourist looking up at the skyscrapers

in wonder, his feet firmly planted on the sidewalk

saunter along at an easy pace to the carefully crafted,

handmade jewelry of an artist paying her way through

school, her facial expression cries out to you “at least

buy just one thing,” encourage her to continue her talent 

listen as you move down the sidewalk to languages strange

to your ears, babble on, being understood by another

sidewalks are for living outside, for connecting to people

you’ve never seen before and probably will never see again

travel south to historical Moore Square with its annual

Raleigh Arts Festival, Artsplosure, Sidewalk Painting

Sand Castle Contests, Farmers’ Markets, all alive and well

where people meet and eat, from vendors on the sidewalk

sidewalks are city landscapes, the variety of fauna being

humans, wandering the terrain rather than forest denizens

allowing the concrete squares to lead them to new places

as animals use dirt pathways to make their way thru a wood



arlene s bice

For all the years I did not cry

showing the world my bye & bye

and then time passed me  a loaf of rye

and I began to cry—I had no mustard

so my rainy days with rivers high

I recognized the need for us to cry

not a whole river wide

as the Julie London song abides

but enough  to get the sigh

out of your system 

think about flying in the sky

dropping tears to water the crops on high

ground where they will flow and dry

in the meantime the plants will survive



Bend in the Road-arlene s bice

She flew out of the house in the center of a whirlwind whipping around her making her stressed beyond belief. Her mind was twirling through a mass of unhappiness, anger and so many questions she asked that went unanswered. She had been traveling on the straight and narrow, under full control but it wasn’t working. What was her next move she asked her dearest and wisest friend. Tone yourself down, she advised, stay calm and have faith, your turn is coming and is on the way. And there it was, as soon as she opened her heart and her mind, the bend in the road was right in front of her.


Sealey Chapbk Challenge-25 Devilish Writing Practices


The perfect item to bring to my friendship circle of women is something I have no name for. I gather the ingredients first so they will be handy to me.

NO NAME RECIPE arlene s bice

peanut butter                          walnut halves                            dried dates                             sugar touched by cinnamon, in a shallow bowl

I place the items to the side of the old wooden table-top, cleared now of the crossword puzzle from last Sunday’s newspaper and the antique brass candle-holder containing a taper. I’m lucky enough to have stocked up on tapers when I could still buy them at wholesale prices. The holder was a gift from Mona, who in the winter invites me for dinner served in her simple colonial dining room, lit only by candlelight, as authentically colonial as the dinner served.

I’ve also moved the wooden bowl hollowed out and hand-painted on the outside, by the loving hands of a true craftsman. This too, was a gift, but from Norma who began as a customer in my shop and became a very generous friend.

These items are removed and the table scrubbed clean of cat fur wisps from my two girls, Mz Lizzie and Lady Jane. They give me the same great joy as the Bennet sisters in Pride and Prejudice for which they were named. They love to watch me cook and bake from the safe distance of a nearby wooden wine rack stand, a gift to my late husband still in use long after he has passed.

I cup a date in my left palm, holding the paring knife in my right. The sharp tip of the knife slits the date open like a pocket sewn closed in error. A small swipe of peanut butter fills the gaping hole easily before I reach for the walnut recently plucked from the ground under my neighbor’s huge, ancient walnut tree. It was necessary to scoot the squirrels away to get the walnuts. They don’t give them up easily even though the tree will give us thousands more this year.

As soon as I brought my little treasures home, I spread them out thinly on a cookie sheet, blackened with age and use, roasting the nuts on low heat for an hour or so.

The date and peanut butter embrace the newly received walnut half, not quite closing around it. Next I roll the piece into the cinnamon tinted sugar

waiting in the shallow bowl with the images of Toulouse Lautrec posters reminding me of another century. My friend Tom encouraged me to buy a whole set of them, knowing I would always treasure them as I do his pieces of artwork that I own.

The finished product is placed next to her sisters on the cut glass tray, a lovely platter salvaged from an unlovely time, an angry divorce, but now garnishing a shelf, patiently waiting for a lifetime of happy use.

P S: Cream cheese may be substituted for the peanut butter but nothing can substitute the friends that will share my creation.