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issue #19 - moni's top 10 minus 2
February 15, 1999

                        HAPPY DAY AFTER VALENTINE'S DAY

               (L) listening (O) openly (V) validates (E) everyone
                                 moni (c) 1999

1)  THE POETS NICHE GETS A FACE-LIFT. As many of you may already know, 
the Poets Niche is sporting a brand new look! I caught up with Poets
Niche founder, president, and site designer, our own
Friday Inspirer, Walt Goodridge to get the full story:

moni:  Why did you redesign the face of the Poets Niche?

walt:  As one of the most popular niches within, I've 
been wanting to do something special for a while, but simply have been 
distracted by other company stuff.  The whole website is always changing.
Much of what exists now I'm sure will look different 6 months from now 
as we evolve.  I wanted the Poets Niche to have a look that reflected 
the growth, all of our offerings and the "people power" behind the site's
appeal and popularity.

moni:  I'm sure you looked at many different websites to get some ideas.  
How did you finally decide that this design, along with the graphics, 
would work best for the Poets Niche?

walt:  As I surf the net I'm usually on the lookout for two things: 
(1) new "technology"; and (2) cool graphics.  The collage of images 
(actual members of the niche, by the way) is something I put together
to complement the new technology I found.  For anyone who's into site 
design, the current format uses a Javascript "mouseover" feature that 
allows the user to see more of what we offer by simply positioning their 
mouse over the different "departments". The department sub-headings pop 
up on the other side of the screen so the user doesn't have to go too 
deeply into the site and get lost.

moni:  Is it more user friendly?

walt:  I think so, but that's for the members and visitors to let me know. 
I know the membership in the Poets Niche is up, and we're about to create 
a fourth group!
moni:  And finally, how does the Poets Niche new look differ from the 
other websites on the internet?

walt:  Hmmm. . .well, if I may be so bold as to rephrase your question, 
the "look" I'm sure is similar to sites out there. What sets us apart is 
what's going on "inside"!  I wanted the reorganization of the content and the
visitor's access to it to start to mirror the very interesting, special 
group of people who belong to the Poets Niche.  I wanted the site to 
begin to tap into and reflect the amazing things that are going on behind
the scenes, in the emails, on the phone, in face to face meetings; the 
fact that we're changing lives in a real way.

If you haven't already done so, Walt and I invite you to see the POETS 
NICHE NEW LOOK!! Please let us know what you think.  By the way, as you 
surf thesite, if you find any errors, blank pages, or get any errors, 
please let me or moni know right away.  

I would like to personally thank Walt for the countless hours he devoted 
to redesigning the Poets Niche Website.  Our motto is, The vision of one 
is the dreams of many.  I'm grateful for Walt's visionary insight.  For 
without his vision, many of us would still be sleepwalking.  THANK YOU 


2)  GREETING COMMITTEE - Because of our increasing popularity, and new
members joining everyday, we are now forming a Greeting Committee. 
Instead of everyone being notified when a new member joins the Poets 
Niche, the WELCOME WAGON will help our new members feel right at home.  
Anyone wishing to be on the GREETING COMMITTEE, please email me immediately 


3)  COMMENTS FROM THE PEANUT GALLERY - The Poets Niche "Peanut Gallery" 
was conceived as a way for poets and poetry critics to discuss the poetry
submitted to the Poets Niche, beyond just saying "that was good" or "I 
liked it".  With the understanding that criticism can and should be 
considered A Good Thing--constructive criticism can lead to growth and 
insight, from both the artist and the critic.  The aim of the Peanut 
Gallery is to provide a place for in-depth discussion of selected works, 
including commentary by the writer on what the piece being discussed is 
about, if they so choose.  Honest, thought-provoking opinions from peers 
is expected, and will be "webified" and kept on the Poets Niche webpage 
(www.niche Something to keep in mind: They Who Criticize
About Spelling, Should Be Careful To Spel Rite Themselves. Some basic 
rules for the Peanut Gallery:

A)  Once a week (depending on feedback), the moderator will select a poem
to be discussed, and will contact the poet for permission in advance,
giving the poet the option to send their own commentary to the moderator 
if they so choose.  If the poets wishes to remain anonymous, please let 
me know when submitting your poem. 

B)  The moderator will then re-post the poem in its original form, along
with any commentary from the poet, and invite members to send their 

C)  Members who want to participate in the discussion will send their 
comments and critiques DIRECTLY TO THE MODERATOR ONLY at (, 
who will collect them through the announced period (the moderator reserves 
the option to follow-up on a comment to the critic).  Also, if the critic
wishes to remain anonymous, please let me know when submitting your 

D)  At the end of the announced period, the comments will be condensed 
and posted on the Comments From The Peanut Gallery webpage, as well as 
announced in the moni's top 10. (Similar to Poems of the Week). 

E)  As the page says, "Can you handle it? Sometimes it's praise. 
Sometimes it's criticism. Sometimes it's suggestions...but always with 
love!". The Outside World will be cold and cruel enough when they start 
reading and criticizing our published pieces; we don't have to be cold, 
or cruel, in the Peanut Gallery.  Just honest--and thick-skinned enough 
to take it when it's our turn.  Remember: those who can't take it, 
shouldn't dish it out.

To kick things off and put my money where my mouth is, as the moderator, 
I will be the first "sacrificial lamb" to be critiqued by interested 
members.  Though I have no problem with "hearing" blatantly honest
(even mean-spirited) commentary about my works, if it would make folks 
more comfortable, comments can be sent to moni for this first piece at 
(moni@ instead.

If you have any suggestions regarding the rules before bams' PEANUTS ARE
ROASTED next week, please let her know as soon as possible.  Thanks bams! 


4)  FROM THE QUEEN'S THRONE by Shenita Vanish ( - 

Did I tell you that I desire to be married, with children?

The interesting thing about life is that it will give you exactly what you
desire.  However, if your heart and your mind aren't in alignment, you'll
cancel out your request.  Often, we miss judge the cancellation and call the
results disappointments.

Disappointment is when we say that we desire one thing but the results is
something else.  We expected one thing and received something else. I find
that life is continually teaching me things that I need to know. I expect to
meet a man that I will ascend into love with, get married and have children
that will be spiritually enlightened.  But how many times have I turned down
an opportunity to meet a "nice" young man because I was (1) tired; (2) not in
a good mood; (3) he was too tall; (4) he was too short; (5) he looked like he
was one of those "know-it-all, advance degree brothers; (6) he lacked 'formal'
education; (7) he was from the west coast - as opposed to the east coast; (8)
he was from the north - as opposed to the south, and the list could go on and
on and on? 

What do I expect?  What do you expect?  Do you desire a job that pays you
$40,000 but say that you will accept a job that pays $25,000?  Guess which job
you'll probably get?  Do you desire a mate who is financially secure and
attentive but have been told that "if s/he makes money. . .s/he won't be able
to be attentive.  S/he'll be too busy working."  So you give up one for the

If you align what you desire with what you expect, I am confident that God
will provide for your every need(s) and desire(s).  God hears our hearts.  He
speaks to our hearts.  Let's not take the intellectual approach to life
anymore.  Let's listen to our hearts.  Let's align our mind with our
hearts/spirit and let God direct the way.  

With this in mind, I am sure that God will not disappoint us.  And with that
in mind, look forward to my announcement, one day soon, of the delivery of the
love of my life.  Until then...continue to be blessed.


5)  THE MEANING OF LOVE - I asked a few members to define love.  LOVE MEANS: 

From Mocha - Love is a natural high!  It's unconditional, supportive, fun and
demonstrates patience above and beyond one's "last nerve". 

From Rose - Hmmm, my definition of love?  That's a hard one.  However, if I
had to give a 'quote' on the definition of love, it would be, "Love is:
"Finding the 'Mirror image' of yourself,  treasuring that person above all
others, then loving them enough to let them go, if that's what they really
need."  But hey, that's just my opinion.

From Felicia - Love is undefinable. . .when you think you have it -- you
probably have something else; when you've given up, that's when it finds you
ready or not, for better or worse.  Love is never what we think it should be,
never what we think it is; as we look closer it changes, but in the end we are
rearranged and love remains the same -- being what it was all along,
perpetually undefined and real nonetheless.

From James - Okay. . .let me see.  Love is the one true thing in this world,
the only thing that will survive into the next one, and the one thing that
everyone wants.  It could be as innocent as a hug from your baby girl, or as
passionate as an intimate, midnight encounter under the stars.  We are love,
God is love, Love is. . .love.  

From Katherine - Love is a fully encompassing feeling that makes one want to
melt into the one that they love -- becoming one in the true sense.  It strips
you of all concern for self and increase the need to give more, care more, be
more, achieve more.  Love recreates your world into a colorful, vibrant,
sunshine filled existence.

From Tamshi - What love means to me?  Strength of commitment from your partner
(faithfulness, honesty, consideration of feelings), respect in one another's
goals in life and definitely support for life decisions.  I also think that
sensitivity, inner beauty and sensuality are key factors for me in the love

From Valentino - Love means looking past the imperfections of our minds eyes.
. .and let your souls fly free amongst the clouds in the sky."

From Jaci - When there is no pain; when there is no hatred; when there is no
fear; when there is no jealousy; when there is no pretense; when there is no
camouflage. . .when all the sadness and falsehood and rhetoric have been
peeled and stripped away. . .the tiny electrified core that remains is Love.

From Ajani - Love is the moment in time when everything you have ever wanted
and worked for with every ounce of your being means absolutely nothing if
compared to the perfection of a touch, a smile, an embrace, or an long
anticipated kiss made real.  It's the moment when looking at your new born
child, or one not so new, brings tears to your eyes at the humbling thought
that you were blessed to be part of the process of bringing life.  Love is a
moment that doesn't have to last forever, but in it's simple slice of
perfection, you'll always know it was there.


A true inspiration

Love means
peace of mind
peace in heart 
to be true to oneself
and overcome the fear of the
person within

Love means finding the spirit of life
and love through and in
as many things you can experience
with your new eyes of hope

My faith has shown me love
My lover lets me live it.

No wonder there's so much love at the Poets Niche!! 


6)  FELLOWSHIP INFORMATION - The National Urban Fellows, Inc. is currently
accepting applications from talented mid-career individuals from traditionally
underrepresented communities who are committed to assuming leadership roles in
public service.  The National Urban/Rural Fellowship Award is a premier
graduate fellowship that offers a unique learning experience: a fourteen month
academic program combined with a practical, hands-on nine month mentorship
with a senior public administrator.  The Fellowship is conducted in
partnership with Bernard M. Baruch College of the City University of New York.
The program grants 25-30 fellowships annually and is highly competitive.
Candidates must possess leadership qualities; a strong public administration
background; a bachelor's degree; an excellent academic record; US citizenship;
a minimum of 3 years administrative or managerial experience and a willingness
to relocate.  African-Americans, Native Americans and Latinos are strongly
encouraged to apply.  The Fellow receives a stipend; a full payment of
tuition; a book allowance; as well as travel and moving expenses related to
program activities.  Employment is not permitted during the Fellowship. See
details on the MBA website ( 


FOR POEMS OF THE WEEK 25!!!  Here's what one judge, Wilma Garnett, said about
the winners:

"I've been an avid reader of poetry for 40+ years.  And although I haven't
written poetry in over 20 years, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the poems
submitted.  Each poem gripped my heart, mind and emotions -- all at the same
time.  Moni, thanks for asking me to be a judge.  The pleasure was all mine!" 

A)  VALENTINE'S DAY by Jo Ann Taylor -
C)  FOREVER VALENTINE by Sidney Singleton -
D)  LOVE by Phaedra Davis -
E)  ON VALENTINE'S DAY by Shawn Goins -
F)  EVERYDAY VALENTINE (Rainbow of Roses) by David Weeks
G)  INVITATION by Jaci LaMon -

Please feel free to show your support by visiting the Poets Niche website
( and reading the winning poems.  


8)  Instead of a poem this week, here's a Valentine's short story.  Comments
always welcomed.

much love

                                AFTER THAT WEEKEND
                              Monica Blache (c) 1999

I framed my journal entry and gave it to him as a Valentine's gift.  He read
it out loud.


Journal Entry: September 22, 1988 - 10:00 p.m.

     Home from the hospital, and I can't believe what happened!!

     I was standing in the produce section, picking through the not so green
lettuce, squeezing avocados, and sneaking a taste of the grapes.  Without
looking, I grabbed a cantaloupe.  For a split second, an electric charge ran
through my right hand.  I turned.  There was another hand on the cantaloupe,
attached to this seemingly ordinary man.

     "Oh, I should've looked before I grabbed the cantaloupe," he smiled and
quickly apologized.  "Did you feel that?" he asked, looking at me for some
type of confirmation.  I gave no hint that I felt the same strange spark we
exchanged through the cantaloupe.  I tried to respond but nothing came out.  I
looked down and we were still holding the cantaloupe.

     "This may sound crazy, but I need to share something with you."  I
quickly looked to see if I was fully dressed.  Sometimes I've left home with
things unzipped or opened or my skirt tucked in my pantyhose.  Good.  Nothing
was exposed.  He laughed a little.  I guess he knew what I was thinking from
my body language.  Then I thought, what could this complete stranger share
with me.  Meanwhile, I still hadn't spoken a word.

     "It's more of a, a. . .spiritual nature," he continued?  I was only
tempted to listen because a man had never approached me on a "spiritual"
matter, unless it was one of the Deacons on the third Sunday of the month
soliciting funds for yet another building project, or the Pastor trying to lay
his hands on me to save my poor lost soul.  "Two nights ago, Saturday night to
be exact, I was on my knees praying."  A man at home on a Saturday night
praying can't be all that bad.  "I know we just met, but I feel I can share
this with you."  There's that word again -- share.  "Saturday night I was
feeling overwhelmed by worldly temptations.  My patience to be understanding
was waning.  And, and, I'm sorry if I'm rambling," he apologized.  I nodded
for him to continue.  I wasn't in a rush.  Besides, his presence was relaxing,
and his baritone voice calmed the initial anxiety I felt moments before.

     "Like I said, two nights ago I was praying.  I'll just fast forward to
that part of my discussion with God where you come in.  You see, I haven't had
much luck with the opposite sex."  Well, there it was!  Your classic pickup
line, right there in produce section.  The grocery store is one of the top ten
places to meet a woman.  He knew he needed to work fast because my facial
expression had just politely excused him.  Before I could tell him I wasn't
interested in what he was selling, he blurted out, "My prayer was for. .

     I dropped the cantaloupe and turned to walk away.  "Please, wait, wait,
let me explain," he said, as he put his right hand on my left shoulder and
gently turned me back around.  There it was again -- that. . .that electric
shock.  When he looked at me, or more like through me, I was completely at
ease.  I was floating on air and hovered somewhere between reality and
insanity.  I saw his mouth moving, but didn't hear a word he said.  It was
like he was a hypnotist and I was under his spell.  I felt glued to the floor.
My brain was saying, "Don't, don't let him touch you  because this, this,
shock from his touch is paralyzing you."

     "I'll make it quick," he pressed on.  "I didn't expect God to answer my
prayers so quickly.  I was tired of meeting women who were promise makers, but
heartbreakers.  I was frustrated with game players, and not future seekers.
So I prayed for a woman who lived God's principles.  A woman who valued the
essence of love, and who loved herself enough to share her love with me.  I
wanted a woman who wouldn't blame me for the faults of others.  And, I wanted
a woman to shower with absolute devotion, passion and laughs to last us a
lifetime.  I knew it's you because God told me I would feel it in her touch.
His sign was that spark we both felt when we touched the cantaloupe." 

     I got flushed.  The floor was spinning and my legs went limp.  The next
thing I remembered was hearing a somewhat familiar voice saying, "Nurse,
nurse, she's waking up."  A firm hand was patting my left hand.  "Honey,
honey, you fainted."  Oh, that's nice.  Someone is calling me honey.  I opened
my eyes.  It was the cantaloupe man.

     "Are you okay?"  I nodded because I couldn't remember how to speak.
"You're in the hospital."  I smiled up at him.  Then he kissed me, awakening
senses deaden from years of pain and loneliness.  The floodgates welcomed my
tears.  I wasn't afraid anymore. 

     I didn't know it then, but I realized shortly thereafter, he was the one
I had prayed for two nights ago, that same Saturday.  He was the one I asked
God for.  And when he repeated the exact words I prayed for on my knees that
same Saturday, I knew my life would never be the same -- after that weekend.

End of Journal entry!!


     He reached out and touched my hand.  And there it was again, that...that
electric shock.  Still there after ten years of marriage.  

     His Valentine's gift to me was a chilled bowl of cubed cantaloupe.



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