ISSUE #31 - moni's top 10 E-ZINE 
(The Poets Niche Official Newsletter)
May 10, 1999 


                         HAPPY DAY AFTER MOTHER'S DAY!!


                 It's true that we don't know what we've got 
                until we lose it, but it's also true that we 
             don't know what we've been missing until it arrives.
                              (author unknown)



One calm, bright, sweet, sunshiny day, an angel slipped out of heaven and
came down to this old world and roamed field and forest, city and hamlet. 
Just as the sun was setting, he spread his wings and said, "Now my visit
is over and I must go back to the world of light.  But before I go, I
would like to take along some mementos of my visit here."  He noticed a
beautiful flower garden and said, "How lovely and fragrant these flowers
are." He plucked the rarest and most beautiful roses and made a bouquet
and said, "I see nothing more beautiful and fragrant than these; I will
take them back to heaven with me."  Looking on a little further, he saw a
bright-eyed, rosy-cheeked baby, smiling into its mother's face.  And he
said, "Oh, that baby's smile is even prettier than this bouquet of roses;
I will take that, too!"  Then he looked just beyond the cradle and there
was a mother's love pouring out like the gush of a river toward the
cradle and the baby.  And he said to himself, "Oh, that mother's love is
the prettiest thing I have seen on earth;  I will carry that, too."  With
the three treasures he winged his way back to heaven.  When he got
outside the pearly gates, he decided to examine his mementos to see how
well they had made the trip.  He looked at the flowers and they had
wilted.  He looked at the baby's smile and it had faded.  He looked at
the mother's love and it was still there in all its warmth and in all its
pristine beauty.  He threw aside the wilted flowers and the faded smile,
and winged his way through the gates.  He led all the hosts of heaven
together and said, "Here is the only thing I found on earth that would
keep its beauty all the way to heaven...It is a Mother's Love."


2)  MO' ADVICE - Sent in by Pamela Barnes - Big Mama always has good
advice.  In the movie "Soul Food," Big Mama wisely said, "If you let the
bad times stop you, you won't  be around to enjoy the good times."  So
true, so true!  Life is full of ups and downs, good times and bad times. 
When the bad times come don't let it conquer you. You have to conquer it.
No one enjoys it, but they must be endured.  Life isn't always fair.  
Tragedy, grief, loss, setbacks and disappointments aren't welcome,
predictable or convenient.  You gotta roll with it and not let those
times roll over you.  For some people having faith is like riding a bus,
they have it only when life is going their way.  When life isn't going
your way that's the time to draw on your faith and inner strength.  If
you feel like a hopeless victim, you'll never know what victory is.  You
may not be able to change the situation, but victory means it didn't
change you for the worst.


THE POETS NICHE!! - By now, everyone should have received the OFFICIAL
GA, on August 5-8, 1999.  I would like to thank Mocha for volunteering to
be our OFFICIAL PRESS COORDINATOR!!  Because I didn't want to embarrass
Mocha or the group, and in anticipation of my babbling and incoherent
statements to deejays, reporters, talk show hosts, or just the man on the
street kind of interviews, I paid my lawyer to prepare "MY" OFFICIAL

"I think Walt is the best person to answer that one."

"I was on my way to church when that happened, so I am unaware of what
you are talking about."

"Yes, I have contributed more than just money or my time to help both the
Republican and Democratic parties stick it to...Hey wait a minute!!  I
thought these were going to be questions about my poetry group and not
about group sex with the Bill (I mean, The President)."

"Again, I was on my way to "some" church when that happened."

"How did you find out about that?  Walt and I agreed never to speak about
that incident again!!"

"What I really meant to say was, I was on my way "home" from church when
that happened."

"Please refer to Paragraph 200, Subsection Z, under 'NONE OF YOUR
BUSINESS!', and I think that should answer any further questions you may

AND, just in case things get ugly and I have to tell the truth, I am
prepared to say:

"What do you mean I'm not getting paid for this interview?  Well, this
interview is over!!!  Walt, give me back the official spontaneous, off
the cuff comments, I prepared for you, cuz YOU are on your own PARTNER."


4)  OFFLINE PARTY - I have discovered that a great number of YOU are
planning to attend the festivities in Atlanta!!  However, we have NOT
RECEIVED any type of CONFIRMATION from MANY OF YOU!  If YOU fall in this
category, HERE'S OUR DILEMMA.  Because the hotel, restaurant(s), and tour
provide them with this information ASAP/PRONTO/IMMEDIATELY/RIGHT NOW!!! 
The rates that we were provided were based on the ACTUAL number of
members in attendance.  PAMELA BARNES, our OFFLINE PARTY COORDINATOR, has
worked COUNTLESS HOURS coordinating with the representatives of these
establishments to provide us the most convenient and affordable
accommodations possible (AND FOR THAT PAM, WE ARE ETERNALLY GRATEFUL).

SIGNING of the Poets Niche First Anthology "COME INTO OUR WHIRL".  Your
cooperation is greatly appreciated!  



5)  OKLAHOMA UPDATE from Oklahoma resident, Letrisee Lawson - Oklahoma is
in great despair, and most of the cities are gone.  We had to leave
school because of tornado warnings and that Oklahoma State University
might be in danger.  40 plus dead, scores injured, thousands of homes
destroyed, and one whole town was hit twice, wiping out the whole town. 
My parents' friends' houses are gone, and some are okay. 

For those who want to contribute, Shaun Cecil (also an Oklahoma
resident), has this advice: "I really believe the best route to take is
the organization "Feed the Children".  For several years now I have bee
impressed with their methods.  At the moment they are crying out for


From Sameerah:  I am sorry to hear that you were in that environment, I'm
sure it took an emotional toll on you and it is something that you will
never forget.  I will most definitely pray for you and others like you. 
An extension of caring, loving, kindness, smiles, and courtesy, don't
cost a thing.  If we all extended one out of five of the few costless
attributes to someone, it could make such a difference in their lives. 
May God bless you and yours.

From Jo Ann:  I'm sure glad you're okay.  I will keep you and all the
others in prayer.

Thanks Sameerah and Jo Ann.  Please feel free to email your prayers to
Letrisee at ( and Shaun (



I know that I haven't really submitted anything in awhile, but the other
day I was thinking about how blessed I am to have such a good life and to
have so many good people in my life; so I was just giving thanks to the
Lord.  A month ago, I decided for the last time to quit smoking.  I have
tried several times (of course, with no success).  I have a heart defect
which could worsen if I continued to smoke (been smoking for 14 years). 
But strangely, at my last visit my cardiologist told me, "Oh, don't
worry, everything looks just fine."  But you see, that was Satan in a
white coat, because I was having tremendous pain and he'd told me awhile
back that too much blood was leaking from my heart valves and I needed to
quit smoking and give my heart an opportunity to re-strengthen itself.

But, after hearing the good news from my doctor that everything was fine,
Jesus whispered the truth into my heart.  So, I decided to put it in the
hands of My True Healer, My Way-Maker, My Faith Provider, the Man that I
love so very passionately -- Jesus Christ, my One and Only!!  I said to
him, "Jesus, I want to quit today, right now."  Before now, I have never
been able to quit for more than a couple of days to a week.  But
Hallelujah, I called His name, Jesus, and He filled my lungs with His
love, and told me to us Him as my shield and my sword.  I was protected
by his love and nothing, I mean nothing, could take me down or take me
out!!!  As long as I believe that He has power over all things, then
there would be power in His name when I speak it.  With every cigarette
craving that multiplied since my call on Jesus, I spoke His name loudly
and confidently, trusting in Him to clear my way.  Today, I am one month

But that's not all, because you see God is such a good God.  He knew that
being a 30-year old single mom with three kids, plus two foster children,
and applying 150% in all other areas of my life, things could be a little
stressful.  Jesus knew that I used cigarettes to calm my stress, so He
just took my stress away!  Just like that!!  Because He means so much to
me, and I am overwhelmed with the joy of knowing the Lord, I'm in tears
right now as I type this message to you (screen's getting blurry-
laugh!).  moni, I love Him so much and I just wanted to share this with
you, don't know exactly why, but I've learned not to ask when He's
leading me.  Thanks for listening.

RENEE, I AM SO PROUD OF YOU and STAY STRONG!!  Please feel free to send
your support directly to Renee at (

KEEP THE GOOD NEWS COMING! If anyone else would like to share their GOOD
NEWS WITH US, please EMAIL it to "ME" ONLY at (  


7)  SHORT, SHORT, REALLY SHORT STORIES - Our FIRST submission for the
REALLY SHORT STORY SECTION of THE 10 was sent in by bams:  

                   A Short Chick, A Short Ride: a short story
                         Copyright Rose Cooper, 1999 

She looked up at the clock on her computer; 12:52pm, it read.  She had
had enough.  She put down the mouse, stepped away from the keyboard,
stood up, and announced to no one in particular, "I am going to Lunch!"

The manner in which she said it left no room for doubt: today would be

Time after time, she'd hear herself say almost the same thing, casually,
and her co-workers would think nothing of it.  She'd go microblast some
unremarkable frozen food platter (she'd jokingly tell them "I'm gonna go
cook this Delicious Nutritious Meal", knowing that she would barely taste
it, much less care what it was that she had eaten the minute it was
gone), and come back to her cubicle- without-walls, simultaneously
pseudo-eating and pseudo-working.  It was a Thing she did, day in and day

But not today.

Maybe it was the ease with which she moved away from the computer.  Maybe
it was the sure way she stood up.  Maybe it was the way she pronounced
the capital L in "Lunch".  Or maybe -- just maybe -- it was swift zipping
sound of her leather jacket, heavy with patches and pins, that let them
know: she was going for a ride.

She had a whole hour to distance herself from her work!  The whole notion
made her giddy; she felt a...power...that was inexplicable.  A whole
hour!  She wondered where that hour would take her, but even in the midst
of her wondering, she knew that the "where" didn't matter nearly as much
as the "how".

She was gonna VRRRRROOOOOOMMMMM>>>>>>>>>

When she reached the parking ramp, though, she felt pretty silly.  She
was, after all, *only* going to lunch, and on a busy street, no less; it
*wasn't* like she was setting off over the river and through the woods to
gran...well, you know.  How easy the joy-stealing thoughts try to make
themselves prominent; but the reverie that revealed itself in the newly
installed, deep-throated rumble (care of Bear and his new bub pipes)
quickly brought her back from her senses; back to her happiness.  Ten
minutes in the sunshine being a vast improvement over the same ol' same
ol' at the computer, and, lid on, tassels flying, she was off
with the wind in the parts of her dreadlocked hair that wouldn't be tamed
by the three-quarters helmet.  So what that the destination wasn't "parts
unknown"?  Or was it?

No particular fast food joint held her interest [she told herself; the
whole idea being that good old Purple Haze would decide where she would
eat.  *If* she would eat.  But if she thought about it too long, Logic
would rear its ugly head.  And on this trip, Logic wasn't invited along. 
So...] so she felt the bike leaning toward the left, toward downtown
Lansing.  Downtown Lansing, with all its tall-for-a-small-town buildings
and parking ramps and closed-in food spaces, that wouldn't do
[she could hear Purple Haze thinking] and she felt the bike leaning
toward the right.  Toward the mall and...hmmmm...didn't there used to be
an old bike shop thataway?

She went thataway.

Subway blinked its lights at her.  She glanced, and drove past. 
McDonalds?  Oh hell no.  Not today. 
Burger Thing...sorry, not even with the temptation of a twoforonespecial.
Sushi House?  
NEXT!  KFC?  Maybe, but she wasn't quite ready for the grease.  Not just

And so forth and so on etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, until -- surprise! 
- she discovered ol' Purp slipping past the mall, and soon afterwards,
the road dwindled from two lanes to one.  "Well," (she thought to
herself, there being no one else around to share her thoughts with.  Not
counting Purp.  But he knew, she thought.  He knew.), "maybe we should
just go a bit further, toward that old bike shop. It's only been 10
minutes, after all. We have plenty of time."  And with that, they
sauntered easily down the road.

Did the air get somehow fresher the further she went?  It seemed to, so
she took deep gulps of it, something she hadn't done in many months. 
Deep cleansing gulps of the fresh, cool air, and not a bug in sight.  The
music Purple Haze decided to play suited her mood, and she sang along
with him.

In no time, she reached the old bike shop, and seeing that it was turned
into a nondescript clothing outlet store, decided to go further.
Reasoning to herself that she still had plenty of time left, and besides,
she hadn't gone this way before; a "see what we can see" thingy sounded
quite nice, she thought.

The spaces between buildings got wider and wider, the trees got thicker
and thicker, and soon they found themselves in the country [No, she
quickly reminded herself, *not* the country!  That would mean we went too
far, and have to turn around! Hmmm...wasn't that a city bus stop about a
block or two or four or more back?  Yeah, she decided; it was.  Still not
far enough gone to be too far gone.  And isn't the city beautiful, and
cow-filled, these days?  Yep, tis so.

She chose to ignore the Williamston Village Limit signs that she saw
approaching.  "Williamston must be a new part of East Lansing, Purp. 
"Yeah, it must be.  Never mind that the buildings looked different, in a
small-town kinda way.  They just do things a bit differently out here in
East Lansing.  Yeah, sounds right.  But not seeing any food joints that
tickled her fancy, she kept going.  Still 25 minutes [give or take] left
on the clock...and what's that "Webberville  10 miles" sign up there

Please email your comments to bams at (  Thanks
bams for starting things off in OUR FIRST ISSUE of SHORT, SHORT, REALLY


THE WEEK CRITIQUE will be quiet because our moderator, bams and hubby
Michael, are trekking cross-country for the next two weeks.  You can be
guaranteed, however, that this tour will certainly inspire bams to write
a new series of poems probably entitled "Bammer's Gotz Da Whole Whirl 'N
Huh Hand!"

But this doesn't mean that when the BOSS is gone that we should play.  ON
although we know we can always count on Suli, Chris, Pat and Shaun for
their comments, let's not disappoint bams (or for that matter, Padmore
and upcoming poets) by sending in your comments.  MotWRC will resume with
edition no. 8 on May 26, 1999.


9)  In honor of MOTHER'S DAY, POEMS OF THE WEEK 37 is dedicated to
MOTHERS!!!  Our featured poets are:

THE OTHERS DAY CARD by Saleem Abdal-Khaaliq -
UNTITLED by Sue Christiansen -
THANK YOU, MOTHER by Cephus Pierce III -
MY MOM by Rodney Coates -
I REMEMBER by Shaun Cecil -
THE WAY SHE SAID, "I LOVE YOU" by Renee Davis -
MY MOTHER'S WOMB by Padmore Agbemabiese -
MOTHER LUV by Letrisee Nycole Lawson -

You can read these touching poems and dedications in POEMS OF THE WEEK 37
at (  Please feel free to send your love directly to
our featured poets!


10)  MONI'S REAL WORLD - There were several things I didn't divulge in my
interview about the "REAL moni".  I'm only mentioning this because my
therapist said it would be good for me to come clean (which is Step 5 of
WITHIN).  So here goes:  

In my freshman year of high school I was voted "MOST POPULAR".  However,
the turning point for me was in my senior year when I received THREE GAG
GIFTS from my fellow graduating classmates -- PIN THE TAIL ON THE DONKEY,
A PAIR OF BIG CLOWN SHOES, AND A BIG RED NOSE.  If you haven't figured it
out yet, I was voted "CL(ASS) CLOWN" in my senior year of high school. 
Because I was painfully "SHY" (okay, you can stop laughing now), LAUGHTER
was always the best medicine for anything that ailed me (except for that
time of the month when thousands fled and the neighbors boarded up their
windows).  So, whenever you feel a little depressed, remember this: IF

Below is moni's poem of the week.  Your comments are always welcomed and
greatly appreciated.




Why did I think him?  This man whose name I don't know.  

Funny thing -- my imagination.

It might be this third glass of piņa colada.

It might be because I see him everyday at the same time, 
after work, and at the same place, on the bus.

His hat is the first thing I notice when he boards the bus.  

Then, it's the way he walks down the aisle politely
acknowledging everyone with a smile.

His unassuming presence stands taller than his physical self.     

His history sits comfortably beside him, without anyone 
knowing what he's been through; what he wants out of life; 
what gifts he has to offer; or what he thinks about when 
he lays his body and thoughts to rest.

Sometimes sleep comes easy for him during that twenty 
minute ride home.

I watch him from the back of the bus, and try to enter 
his dreams while he sneaks a catnap.

And, every now and then, we sit close enough to assess 
each other's body language.  

Ours is that kind of mutual attraction where curiosity 
is fed by harmless looks, smiles and casual conversation. 

I hope I don't offend him when my curiosity breaks 
through the silence.  

I hope I don't ask too many questions or cross that line 
where a stranger shouldn't cross.  

But I don't think of myself as a stranger because he's 
become part of my day, part of my routine.

The bus stops.  

We part and wave good-bye. 

Tomorrow he'll be there -- at the same time, after work, 
and at the same place, on the bus.

I wonder why I thought of him.  It may not be the piņa 
colada after all.

Funny thing -- my imagination!

Monica  Blache (c)

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