Issue #54 - moni's top 10 E-ZINE
(The Poets Niche Official Newsletter)
Friday, January 28, 2000


    "The shortest distance between a problem and a solution
      is the distance between your knees and the floor. . .
   The one who kneels to the Lord can stand up to anything."
                  (unknown author)



-  moni's POEM OF THE WEEK


1)  For those of you struggling with depression, please know that there
is definitely light at the end of the tunnel.


Our future is not promised
Our outlook is sometimes bleak
In the mist of all our trial,
Our faith is often weak.

We find ourselves pretending
That everything is okay
But questioning our Father
"Why our life is going this way?"

Making all sorts of promises
As we sit down and weep,
Promises out of fear
And ones we cannot keep.

Sometimes with our problems
There is no one to confide
And our every waking moment
Are of thoughts of suicide.

So what is the solution to the
Problems that we face?

It is God's infinite wisdom and the
Comfort of His grace.

Lisa Henderson (c)

THANKS LISA for your words of comfort.  Please feel free to send your
love and comments to me at ( and I'll forward your
responses directly to Lisa.


2)  REFLECTION & RETROSPECTION -- I received the following email at the
end of last year, which I'm compelled to share with you.  [Truth -- that
little voice that speaks to me [from within] told me that there was
someone special out there who really needed to read these 'very words']. 
I hope these words will touch your heart like it did mine and give you
the insight and/or answer you've been searching for.

Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999
From: Gloria Ware

As we reflect on all the trials, tribulations and triumphs of the past
year, I'm reminded in retrospect how blessed my year has been.  God
enabled me with the strength, determination and diligence to overcome a
very horrific accident with my ankle.  In crossing that triage, I found a
renewed pilgrimage in the art of my writing.  I was finally able to
complete a novel that I had been working on for over a year.  So within
that vast darkness, I was handed a light that led me once again to more
wonderful things like friendship.  I was nurtured back to health by so
many friends and loved ones. . .giving me a more compelling insight to
the 'true' power of humanity, grace, humility and UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.  As
I move forward into the millennium, I move with the overwhelming grace of
so many wonderful blessings and look forward to a trilogy of many more.  
So as each of you move into the next century, take the time to reflect
and retrospect on those things that have brought value. . .joy. . .
understanding. . .compassion. . .vision. . .and a renewed spirituality to
your lives.  Take that vision with you as you venture on the pathway to
your destiny. . .

THANKS Gloria for such beautiful thoughts and another ray of hope!!! 
Please feel free to send your love to Gloria at (


3)  WHAT NEW MEMBERS ARE TALKING ABOUT!!!  By now, you should have
received David's email introducing the New Members to the Poets Niche
Family!  Below are a few of the email responses David received:

FROM JEZULA ANTOINE:  Thank you for the hard work you put into this 
introduction of the new jacks on this poetry swing. . .keep it up babe!

FROM TAUNI LEE:  Thank you for including me in the beautiful warm welcome
to the Poets Niche. . .I'm so glad to be a part of this family and I
appreciate your welcome letter and introduction!

AND. . .FROM ALL OF US, THANK YOU DAVID for being the HEART BEAT of the 
POETS NICHE.  You certainly know how to keep this eclectic group of 
international poets BUBBLING OVER WITH EXCITEMENT!!!


4)  MORE NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION -- I came across these New Year's
Resolutions and thought many of you could definitely relate to or simply
add these to your list of resolutions.

  "New Year's Resolutions for you, our Internet Junkies" by RJ Bills

-  I will try to figure out why I "really" need 12 e-mail addresses.
-  I will stop sending e-mail to my wife (husband). A phone call every
now and then would be appreciated.
-  I resolve to work with neglected children -- my own.
-  I will answer my snail mail with the same enthusiasm with which I
answer my e-mail.
-  I will stop sending e-mail, ICQ, Instant Messages and be on the phone
at the same time with the same person.
-  I resolve to back up my 12GB hard drive daily. . .well, once a week. .
.okay, monthly then. . .or maybe. . .at least once a year.
-  I will spend less than one hour a day on the Internet. This, of
course, will be hard to estimate since I'm not a clock-watcher.
-  I will stop checking my e-mail at 3:00 in the morning. . .4:30 is much 
more practical since my friends overseas already had time to answer me by 
-  When I hear a funny joke I will not reply, "LOL. . .LOL!"
-  I will read the manual... just as soon as I can find it.
-  I will think of a password other than "password."
-  I resolve. . .I resolve to. . .I resolve to, uh. . .I resolve to, uh,
get my, er....I resolve to, uh, get my, er, offline work done, too!

If you'd like to read more of RJ's funny words of wisdom, check out his 
website at (

5)  POETIC SHORT STORY -- No explanation or intro needed!  JUST READ and 


I'm gonna sing sad love songs
Songs of lost love and broken hearts
Gonna sing about pain
Songs about lovers who drifted apart

Gonna sing in small lounges of the "B" variety
Lounges that smell of cheap drinks and peanuts
Lounges unacceptable to higher society
But the kind of place that's oh so perfect
For a broken man like me

It won't matter much that my voice is a little out of tune
Or the four-piece combo plays slightly offbeat
This is the lounge and no one will care
They won't even know it's my heart that I bare

There will be a few older ladies sitting close to the stage
Looking below my beltline with lust
They'll whisper and giggle and perhaps throw a kiss
Leave a two-dollar tip then head for their bus

In drunken voices I'll hear "Oh honey, isn't he good?"
As I sing a timeless old standard love tune
In the wee hours of the morning far from the main room

But it's here in this lounge tears can flow from my eyes
The small "B" lounge crowd thinks it's part of the act
Some say how I moved them and promised to come back

Not surprisingly, more than a few come back
The world is full of people wanting to hear a sad love song
I'm sure to sing one of their tearful favorites
Just have a seat, it won't take long.

           BRUCE HENRY (c)


moni:  hey Bruce!  dat's what i'm talkin 'bout!!!! THIS IS ALWRITE my 
brotha!!!  the moment i started reading your poem, you brought me right
into the LOUNGE, sat me down, bought me a drink, sang your sad love
songs, (a lil offbeat &a few sour notes), but nonetheless still sad. 
and as i inhaled the secondhand smoke which filled my lungs with despair,
depression slapped me on the back of the head and said, "wake up lover! 
it's your turn to sing!"  AWESOME JOB!!!  i can't wait to hear your

BRUCE:  Thank you moni.  Yes, sometime I sing those songs in the "B"
Lounge of my mind and heart.  Glad you saw the scene and sang a few tunes
yourself. . .you sounded good :)

Please feel free to sign up for Open Mike at the LOUNGE LIZARD, and send 
your love directly to the Show's Host in Charge of Love, Barry White's
twin brotha on his mama's side, Bruce Henry at  (!!!


6)  DON'T GET MAD, JUST GET EVEN!  Do you ever feel like the more you do, 
the less respect you receive?  Here's the scenario of what my fellow 
co-worker and Poets Niche member Maria Despenza suffers through every 
blessed day.  And even today, although it was a bit earlier -- 12:39 --
the paging began.  Why don't I just let this poor soul explain her side
of the story:

FROM MARIA:  I eat lunch at my desk every day from 12:30 to 1:00 and 
everyday my boss  calls me at 12:40.  Every single day.  If I ignore her 
beeping me via the telephone intercom, she pages me over the loudspeaker.  
DAILY.  moni sets her clock by it.  Yesterday, she let the intercom ring
for SEVEN SOLID MINUTES, as I was eating my lunch, and I was not happy.  
Comedian Paul Mooney said it best: "Never get between a black woman and a 
piece of chicken."  moni, being the wonderful motivator that she is, 
encouraged me to put my frustrations on paper, and this is what I came up 
with.  This is my first entry, of all things.  It's sort of tongue-in
cheek, but maybe some of you can relate to this.  Enjoy!

        I'm Entitled

Everyday I show up for work
And from 8 to 5, I'm on your time
But bear in mind that from 12 to 1
The law says that I'm on my dime

I'll lift a barge and tote a bail
And open unimportant mail
I'll work late hours when you're in a crunch
But, damn it, let me eat my lunch

I've cut the time to half an hour
To do the work that you desire
But get the hint, cause this is vital
It's my lunchtime, and I'm entitled

I'll hide my 'tude and keep the faith
But 20 minutes you cannot wait?
Repeatedly, I've mentioned this
Repeatedly, you've chose to diss

Well, guess what, girl, I know your game
You are NOT gonna rule this dame
You have to know, and this is vital
Itís MY lunchtime, and Iím entitled.

I take the break, for therapy
You don't know what it does for me
When your demands exceed the pace
Of everyone else in this stuffy place

I go the mile you ask me for
An extra two, and sometimes more
But bear in mind, when the noon clock chimes
The law says that I'm on my dime

Patience is a virtue, true
But what am I supposed to do
When break time comes and you're calling me
Spoutin' out orders from A to Z

My food's getting cold, my temperature hot
You don't appreciate the help you've got
I generally do not get so mean
But I can't eat a cold Lean Cuisine.

I know that I truly earn my pay
To put up with this crap everyday
You have to know, that for me to stay
You back off at lunchtime, what do you say?

Just take a pill, and chill awhile
I'll return from lunch, and with a smile
But bug me again in the middle of lunch
It may be your nose that I will punch!

Understand this rule, cause it's so vital
It's my lunchtime, AND I'M ENTITLED.

Maria Despenza


FROM WALT:   That was GREAT!!!!! Fabulous!  I hear you!  Sometimes
writing poetry like that really does make me feel better about things. 
Hope it helped you.  I love it! It may become the anthem of overworked
office workers every where!  Congrats on a job well done! (take it from
me, even if your boss doesn't tell you!)

BRAVO!!!! Post this on the walls, hell, wallpaper this place with it...
I know exactly where you're coming from.  I work here too, you  know...I 
think it's in the training manuals for attorneys, you know, How To Be An 
A...hole Naturally Without Even Trying in 10 Easy Lessons.

HITS, includings songs like, "LET MARIA EAT HER LUNCH IN PEACE," or
NUMBER," please feel free to send your comments and love directly to
Maria Despenza at (


7)  POETREE U SAY -- On March 22 thru March 26, 2000, the Virginia 
Foundation for the Humanities will host its Annual Virginia Festival of
the Book Program, in Charlottesville, VA.  This five day event will
include readings, lectures, panels and general discussions with featured
guests including Reynolds Price, Nikki Giovanni, David Wisniewski, Sonia
Sanchez, Earl Hamner, Henry Taylor, and many, many more.  Workshops

-  Authors discuss beginning a novel, writing literary thrillers, secrets
of successful freelancing; or turning books into movies;
-  Agents and editors talk about the art of the deal, inside the
publishing process;
-  Evening poetry with Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Rita Dove and more;
-  An evening of fiction with Connie Briscoe and Elizabeth Strout;
-  Festival luncheon featuring Cokie Roberts;
-  The Internet and Publishing with
-  Legal experts discuss when authors and publishers should be held 
responsible for the actions of those inspired by their books

This event is free and open to the public.  However, tax-deductible
donations are accepted, and there will be an extra fee for the luncheons
and receptions.  For more information, please check their website at 
( or call (804) 924-3296.


8)  CONTINUING YOUR EDUCATION -- The Graduate School at Princeton
University is offering a summer research program for African American,
Hispanic, and Native American undergraduates for nine weeks.  Students
should have completed their junior or sophomore years in college,
preferably have a GPA of 3.5 or higher, and show promise for graduate
school study. Students in the Princeton Summer Research Experience will
receive a cash stipend of $3500, travel expenses up to $500, and the
program will pay for room expenses of $1000. Deadline is February 14. 
Eligible students should contact Associate Dean David N. Redman at (609)
258-3032 or email at ( for information and 


9)  POEMS OF THE WEEK 60 -- Below are two emails I received from members
regarding Poems of the Week:

Dear moni:  As always, another EXCELLENT NEWSLETTER/Top 10!!!  However, I
do not fully understand how poems for Poems of the Week are selected?  Do
they come from all the submissions, or do we have to submit them directly
to you and not on the group line?  Thanks, from a Poems of the Week

Dear POW Supporter and THOSE WHO WONDERED TOO:  Thanks a bunch!  I
receive ALL the poems submitted by over 200 members.  Since I have a
backlog of poems to feature, I don't use a specific formula to select
which poets to showcase in Poems of the Week.  However, sometimes what
may seem random may not be so random after all.  For example, check out
the poems featured in Week 15 wherein all the poems relate to some form
of "Writer's Block"; or Week 33 featuring a portion of Shaun Cecil's
Rusty Knight poetry series; or Weeks 11, 31 and 45 featuring the
collaborative works of Niche members; or Week 48 where "time" is a
factor; or other weeks showcasing the poems of those members who were
interviewed; or weeks set aside for holidays or special occasions.  And
finally, there's the no rhyme or reason category.  WHEW.  I do try very
hard to make sure that everyone is featured at some point or another.  I
hope this solves the mystery.

Dear moni:  I noticed that before you feature the Poems of Week, you
write a sentence including all of the titles of those poems being
featured (which by the way is pretty cool).  First, why?  And second, how
do you do that?  Peace, from I NEED A SENTENCE FOR MY DAMN THESIS!

Dear INASFMDT (or fast mind) [hey, that's pretty good, if I must say so 
myself]:  Truthfully, I don't have a clue how or when it started (or for 
that matter, realized that I was even doing it).  It really depends on
three things -- 1) the titles; 2) "IF" my mind is working; or (3) If I
can visualize a poet standing before me reading "that" very sentence. 
Pretty bizarre, but that's how the mind of a person needing some serious 
psychiatric treatment or medication works.  I'm hoping one day to come 
across the titles, which creates the sentence HELP ME.  I'M SICK!!! 
Here's the sentence from the titles of this week's featured poems: ["I
can't fix you," were the last words Martin said, before the death of cool
died.  But as the millennium approached, on January 15, 2000, the rebirth
of cool was born and our journey continued."]

Now, see if you can figure out what makes this week's FEATURED POETS and 
their randomly selected poems so special!!!

        JANUARY 15 by Frank Jenkins
        MILLENNIUM APPROACHES by Padmore Agbemabiese
        JOURNEY by Tauni Lee
        THE DEATH OF COOL by Rodney Coates
        the rebirth of cool by /bams
        I CAN'T FIX YOU by Navita Gunter

Check out Poems of the Week 60 at ( and you can decide
for yourself which category these poems fall under -- random, holiday
and/or the same name game.  THANK YOU POETS!!!  


10)  Thanks to ALL OF YOU who have participated, contributed, and helped
me along the way in putting together THE TEN.  Below is moni's Poem of
the Week.  Your comments are always welcomed and greatly appreciated.

Until we meet again!
much love



Now. . .I don't mean to be blaspheming.
But, it just seems to me that I ain't
much like Him.

If God created me in His own likeness,
then why ain't I color-blind?

Monica D. Blache (c)

        Monica D. Blache (c)

(Or use your browser's buttons)