issue #29 - moni's top 10
April 26, 1999


                      "Those who open their eyes each day
                             should never fear life."
                (by Poets Niche member, Letrisee Nycole Lawson)

1)  MEMBERSHIP HAS ITS PRIVILEGES - A few of the "perks" of being a
"member" of the Poets Niche are:

a)  Free membership; 

b)  Publication of your poem(s) on the internet in POEMS OF THE WEEK 

c)  The Poets Niche E-Zine - moni's top 10 is a forum created for members
to showcase their talents -- e.g., FROM THE QUEEN'S THRONE written by
Shenita Vanish -- as well as sharing information amongst our members for
networking purposes; 

d)  Collaborate with other poets/members to write poetry together (see
Poems of the Week 11 and 31); 

e)  Own your own webpage just like Saleem Abdal-Klaaliq;

f)  Have your poem(s) critiqued by members of the Poets Niche in COMMENTS

g)  Sell your book(s) online through the Poets Niche Bookshelf; 

h)  Be a featured poet in upcoming Poets Niche Anthologies (the
booksigning for our first anthology, COME INTO OUR WHIRL, will take place
during our first OFFLINE PARTY in Atlanta, Georgia on August 5-8, 1999;

i)  The Poets Niche is your home - Like Shaun Cecil said, "I am having
way too much fun...I finally have a place to play and to be a nut."


2)  MOTHER'S DAY POEMS - In honor of MOTHER'S DAY, which is on Sunday,
May 9, 1999, Poems of the Week 36 and 37 will feature poems dedicated to
and written for MOTHERS!!  EMAIL ME (AND ME ONLY!) your MOTHER'S DAY
poem(s) and look for them to be featured on March 3 and 10, 1999!  If you
would like to add a special dedication to your mom, please feel free to
do so because these dedications will also appear on the website. 
Depending upon the number of poems I receive, please make your
dedications short so that everyone who submits a poem has an opportunity
to participate!  


3)  THE CONCLUSION OF MONI'S INTERVIEW - Draft of my closing statement
(if anybody gets their hands on this, I can kiss this cushy job good-bye. 
No more inspiring people to be the best that they can be (note to myself
- draft a lawsuit against the Army for stealing that saying from me); no
more helping others resolve their problems by hiding the bodies; and no
more talking or laughing on the phone with members).  In closing, I know
that I have proven beyond a preponderance of the evidence that I am not
the real moni, but a mere stand-in, being paid to act the part.  After
you have reviewed all the emails and trace all the phone numbers, you
will find that there is no one like her, and that moni is guilty OF ONLY

After part one of my interview, Valentino sent me this email - Moni,
darling, how have you been lately?  I read the in-depth "woman behind the
Poets Niche".  Unfortunately, I didn't find out anything new.  I already
knew you were a beautiful woman and person, and you like poetry.  What
more in life is there to know?  Besides, I couldn't think of anything to
ask at the time, and you are an island spice of New Orleans with a party
named after you, "Mardi Gras" "Moni Gras," it's all the same thing.
Whenever I get nosey, I go the Barbara Walters up close and personal
style.  Candlelight, soft music and fine cuisine.  So either they talk or
pay for the meal. 

                QUESTIONS NOT ASKED 

moni:  Where did you get your sense of humor?

moni:  There was a blue-light special at Wal-Mart, so I picked up two --
funny humor and dry humor.  I wanted to be an actress, but I couldn't
remember all those damn lines.  Instead, I ended up at the Ed McMahon
School for sidekicks.

moni:  Do you possess any special powers?    

moni:  Yes, but nothing like Samantha on Bewitched twitching her nose. 
I'm semi-psychic (but my brother says I'm completely loco and psycho). 
Some members have already witnessed my powers and I won't reveal the
names of the innocent (just in case the information I've given them is

moni:  What kind of work do you do?

moni:  I am a legal secretary, paralegal, litigation specialist, and
class action coordinator.  (My official job title is Amanuensis, which is
defined as a "slave with secretarial duties.").  I have worked on class
action cases as small as 2,500 claims to as large as 250,000 claims. 
Every stinkin' day, I have an emergency court deadline or a client or
attorney is yelling at me for not reading their minds.  My motto is "I
JAIL." (This is where my insanity defense comes in).  

moni:  Do you have any bad habits?  

moni:  Yes! 

Continuation to: "Do you have any kids or a pet?"

The only other person who has a key to my heart is my 13 year old nephew,
Mikel.  Although I didn't give birth to him, he is definitely my other
son.  Mikel is at my house everyday after school for a couple of hours to
"chill" (as well as eat me out of house and home), and sleeps over Friday
and Saturday nights.  And ever since he has been able to travel, we have
taken summer vacations together.  This summer we will attend our family's
Ninth Family Reunion in Virginia.  Even when he's 100 years old, Mikel
will always be "auntie's baby boy."  

Anyone who has dog insurance; fled the city during Hurricane Georges so
their "dog" would be safe (and yes, Mikel was with his auntie too) means
they have a pet. I have had Casey (whose a cross between a Rottweiler and
Pitt Bull) since she was six weeks old.  It wasn't until I had her for
about seven years, did I accept the fact that I was a pet lover. 

Letrisee:  How did you get started in the poetry club?  

moni:  Some guy, it think his name is Walt, kept sending me inspirational
messages every Friday for about a month.  After several requests, then
practically pleading to be "REMOVED" from his mailing list, only to be
ignored for my own good, Walt and I became friends, and the rest is

Ghada:  Moni, what did you do before we "all" took over your time and in
effect your life and kept your fingers glued to the keyboard? 

moni:  I "was" working on my second and third books of poetry/short
stories, and my first suspense novel.  Recently, it's extremely hard to
find time to work on my projects.  But, I plan to devote more time to my
work once COME INTO OUR WHIRL is published.

Queen:  What writers inspire(d) you?

moni:  There are several writers I admire -- J. California Cooper, James
Patterson, Monique Gilmore-Harris, Akousa Busia, Josephine Hart, and
Edgar Allen Poe.  However, I'm inspired by the work of our own members. 
We have a collection of over 850 poems all written by members of the
Poets Niche.  If that's not inspiring, I don't know what else to say. And
not to sound too cocky, but when I look back at some of the poems and
stories I've written, I must admit that I'm inspired by my own growth.

Shaun:  Moni, your poetry has so many facets to it, mischievous, serious,
tender, romantic and vengeful.  In your dream of dreams, who are you?

moni:  For years, I have been a daughter, a sister, a student, the
girlfriend, the dutiful wife (now grateful ex-wife), a single parent, the
favorite auntie, and the most dumped on employee of the year.  "WHO ARE
YOU?"  There's nothing phony about me.  (Except when I'm paid to be phony
between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.).  And, as Flip Wilson's
GERALDINE would say, "WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET!"  I'm all those
things -- mischievous, serious, tender, romantic, but never vengeful,
because it takes too much energy.  
Queen/Walt:  What are your long term goals?  What do you see yourself
doing 10 years from now?

moni:  When I was 5 years old, I wanted to live until I was 10 (which
seemed old at the time).  At 6, I started planning my life out in terms
of 5 year goals.  (In 5 years I'll still be living at home taking orders
from you know who; in 5 years, if mama and I are still alive, I think
I'll climb the Andes Mountains).  It wasn't  until I turned 40 and people
very close to me started dying, did I realize how fragile life really is. 
So to answer your question, now I only see my time here on earth in terms
of moments.  I pray that I live to enjoy every second of the day, and
every moment that God gives me.  Which brings me to the next question.  

Queen:  What is your long term vision for the Poets Niche?

moni:  All I can say is, since I have 20/20 vision, our future looks

bams:  If you were only able to be awarded one prize that would have to
last the rest of your life, what would that prize be?  


Queen:  What do you hope to experience in Atlanta when the poets meet?

moni:  If I experience only half of what I have experienced on the 
INTERNET, I can guarantee you that this is one PARTY YOU DON'T WANT TO 
MISS!  EVERYONE will finally get to meet the amazing Walt, and (I had
rhythm before I left my house, and where's my limo) moni.

feel free to send your fan mail or mad letters to moni's mom at


4)  I WANT TO BE JUST LIKE HER WHEN I GROW UP - In issue #21 of moni's
top 10, I mentioned that Poets Niche member, Tina Marie Clark, was
invited to Oklahoma to have her song, "Who Could Have the Heart," played
for the survivors and the family members for the Four Year Anniversary of
the Oklahoma bombing.  On Saturday, I called Tina for an update on her
trip to Oklahoma.  Every time we talk, I'm either exhausted from laughing
or crying. WHY?  Because this sister, and fellow New Orleanian, is
dedicated to helping others with her words.  HOW?  Not just through her
poetry, but in her songwriting.  

Tina told me that at the last minute she didn't go to Oklahoma because
the media was "scaling back" its coverage of this memorial.  One of the
innocent victims who lost her life on April 19, 1995, was 21 year old New
Orleanian, Lakesha Levy.  Tina's song has connected her and Lakesha's
mother, Constance Favorite, forever.  Constance shared with Tina her
disappointment with the media.  But, God has a way of making things
happen for a reason.  

During our conversation, Tina told me about a woman from New Jersey who
asked Constance if she would send her some of Lakesha's things because
she wanted to do something special for the family.  After receiving God's
blessing, Constance sent these items to this mystery woman in New Jersey. 
Several weeks ago, the New Jersey woman finally sent Constance a gift she
will treasure for a lifetime.  The New Jersey woman made a "handmade
quilt" using the items Constance sent her of Lakesha's twenty-one year
history on this earth.  This patchwork quilt included items such as
Lakesha's elementary school uniforms, report cards, family pictures, a
piece of her military uniform, pictures of Tina and Constance planting a
tree at Armstrong Park in memory of Lakesha, a picture of the
Proclamation from the Mayor declaring April 19, 1996 "Lakesha Levy Day in
New Orleans," AND a copy of Tina's song "Who Could Have the Heart," with
twenty-one angels beautifully framing the quilt.  

Because Tina is definitely a woman of action, she called the local
television stations and told them about Lakesha's quilt.  On Monday,
April 19, 1999, four local television stations gathered at Tina's home to
interview Constance.  She shared her story about this wonderful soul who
took the time out of her busy schedule to bring such joy to complete
strangers.  And, despite this tragedy, that there are still people in the
world who really care, like the New Jersey woman, who gave them the GIFT
OF GIFTS!  After hearing this story and seeing Lakesha's quilt, there was
not a dry eye in the place!!

But that's not all.  As long as there is suffering in the world, Tina is
compelled to write songs to warm hearts and comfort souls.  She has
written another song "RESTORE HOPE" for the refugees and personnel in
Kosovo.  She granted me permission to share a portion of her song with

"Where there is little to no hope at all,
Where the people are too weak to stand tall,
For our efforts God will bless us all
For not standing idle watching our brother's fall
Our brother's keepers are what we are.
I'll take your hand and you take mine
Together we will get through these hard times.
Chorus: Sometimes in order to help our brother cope, 
        we must restore hope." 

Tina Maria Clark (c) April 23, 1999
(No portion of this song can be reproduced or copied without the written
permission or consent of Tina Maria Clark). 

And, she has also written a song "Hold Onto His Hand" for the families
and students in Littleton, Colorado.  

Because Tina is currently without a computer, please feel free to send
your love and support to me at (, and I will
immediately forward your responses to her.  Now you know why I WANT TO BE


5)  SHARE YOUR GOOD NEWS WITH US - With so many sad things happening in
the world today, I thought it would be a good idea, if we shared our GOOD
NEWS with each other -- e.g., job promotion; I quit my job to write my
best-selling novel; Spike Lee bought my screenplay and we're in pre pre
production; I just signed a contract with I GOT YO SONG PRODUCTION to
record my upcoming single "DIVA N DA HOUSE &UP DA STREET"; baby on the
way, new house, marriage proposal (yes, I DO); and definitely the winning
lottery numbers.  Please email your GOOD NEWS to me at (moni@nichemarket.
com), and I'll include your UPLIFTING and EXCITING NEWS in future issues
of moni's top 10.


6)  LAST CALL for all poets and writers - BlackWords, Inc. is publishing
a collection of short, feel-good poems.  Send us your poems of
inspiration, of love, of upliftment, and definitely, of humor.  We want
poems that make us smile in the morning, give us hope during the day, and
open our hearts at night.  Poems submitted should be a maximum of 30
lines.  Any form of verse, (haiku, free verse, etc.).  We prefer to keep
it on the positive and uplifting side.  Poetry needs to be sent in no
later than May 1, 1999.  You may e-mail or send your submissions.  For
mailed submissions, please include a printout of your formatted poem(s)
and softcopy (Word Perfect or Microsoft Word in IBM Format).  Poems will
not be returned unless you enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope. 
For emailed submissions, include your  poem(s) in the email message, not
as an attachment.  Accepted poets will be notified by September 1, 1999.
Please send submissions to: Angela Boykin,  Attn: BlackWords, P.O. Box
1266, Washington, DC 20013, or via email to ( 
Please be sure to tell Kwame, CEO and Founder of BlackWords, that moni
sent you.  


7)  BIRTHDAY WISHES - HAPPY BIRTHDAY to those members born under the sign


8)  ANOTHER COMPUTER VIRUS - There is another computer virus being sent
via email, which is called the A.I.D.S. VIRUS.  It will destroy your
memory, sound card and speakers, drive and it will infect your mouse or
pointing device, your keyboards (possibly motherboards) making what you
type not able to register on the screen.  It self terminates only after
it eats 5MB of hard drive space and will delete all programs. It will
come via E-mail called "OPEN: VERY COOL!)".  DELETE IT immediately!  It
will basically render your computer useless.


9)  POEMS OF THE WEEK - This week's featured poets are:

BEGINNINGS by Phaedra Davis -
missing by Craig Gill -
MUSE by Tasha Tavaras -
BUSHES by Saleem Abdal-Khaaliq -
SPIRIT JOURNEY by Ras Deko Abba Nkosi (David Week's brother)

Checkout the Poets Niche website at ( to read and
review this week's poems in POEMS OF THE WEEK 35!  Please continue to
support your fellow members by sending your love and suport to them


10)  This week I thought I would do something different.  Shaun Cecil and
I have teamed up to write two poems with the premise of a Ghost
Sleepwalking.  Your comments are always welcomed and greatly appreciated. 

Peace & Blessings



On the edge of my senses;
I know it is her again,
Hovering and blowing slow kisses,
Just as my heart is about to mend.

I turn to see if I can catch a glimpse,
But there is nothing there,
But the feeling of breath burned air on my lips,
And the smooth touch of tender care.

I hear the essence of her heart,
And the pith of her scent,
Enfolding, encircling and making me part
Of what her love once meant.

My arms reach out and up once more,
Searching for a loving embrace,
But the moment is gone forevermore,
And tears tear runnels in my face.

An Irish will-o-wisp she be,
A ghost of love gone,
Floating through my memory,
And fleeing with the dawn.                  

Shaun A. Cecil (c) 4/99



i walk in a daze through day and night
and wonder if my prayers have been

he resembles pieces of repressed memories 

of hope sealed in bottle and tossed away 

a glimpse of nothing ordinary 

a sliver of what i once held in my hand

when love was precious and thoughts 
of him tiptoed across my mind 

leaving a hint of footprints left in the 
sand we once walked across as lovers

my days and nights of sleepwalking alone 
are now over

because the ghost of him haunts me 
no more 

and what was etched in my heart 
long before my days were empty 


Monica Blache (c) 4/99 

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