Issue #34 - moni's top 10 E-ZINE
(The Poets Niche Official Weekly Newsletter)
Monday, MEMORIAL DAY, May 31, 1999


This week's issue

- moni's Poem of the Week


     * The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; 
         they just make the most of everything that comes their way. *
                               (unknown author)


1)  "COME INTO OUR WHIRL" UPDATE - After reading 700 plus poems, hundreds
of emails, tons of miscellaneous stuff, and sending out Release Forms to
the Featured Poets, I've COMPLETED (at least my portion -- ALL 203 pages)
of "COME INTO OUR WHIRL"!! The first thing I did after I sent the
manuscript off to Walt a couple of weeks ago was SLEEP!!  Walt is
currently finalizing the layout of the manuscript, and here's what he has
to say about our FIRST ANTHOLOGY:

moni:  Walt, when you received the first draft of "COME INTO OUR WHIRL,"
what was your first impression? 
Walt:  It's FANTASTIC!!!  moni certainly outdid herself this time!  By
the time this book is published, the world will know, as we all do, WHO
moni:  How is the final layout coming along?
Walt:  The book will be laid out in a very unique way.  It will be part
chronicle, part biography, part compilation, and wholly enjoyable!  It
will appeal to poetry lovers, as well as those who simply love a good
story!  I expect that the manuscript will be sent to the printer by the
first week in June.  Also, if anyone would prefer that their email
address NOT be published in the book (i.e., if it's a work email that you
don't want your boss to know you used), then let me know ASAP!!
moni:  Besides the hard work and sleepless months moni endured compiling
OUR FIRST ANTHOLOGY (another attempt on MY PART for more praise), what
would you like everyone to know and to expect when they finally get a
copy of "COME INTO OUR WHIRL" in their own hands? 
Walt:  I'm sure you will all be proud of your involvement in this
milestone publication.  We are presently receiving more visitors to the
Poets Niche website, so our publicity efforts are definitely kicking in.
The book will be the defining accomplishment that solidifies our image in
the public's mind.  This first edition will be the beginning of a series
that will create a lot of success stories for those involved. 
enough to start the process, we need more advance orders and
contributions from you, friends, family, etc., to get the final payment
to the printer by the end of June.  Joining forces and resources will
guarantee that "COME INTO OUR WHIRL" will make it to the bookstores all
over the country!!

Walt and I thank everyone in advance for continuing to support the Poets
Niche. Your love is what keeps us going!!  

the light at the end of the tunnel.  Many of my family members and
friends have disowned me because when it comes to the day-to-day handling
of the Poets Niche, I have to ADMIT (but not under OATH), that I have
TUNNEL VISION!!  To reconnect with my family (actually, I've been
disinherited), I'll be on vacation from July 5th through July 11th. 
Therefore, there will be NO moni's top 10 E-ZINES on July 5th and July
12th (which I'm sure many of you are saying, "THANK GOD"). 

However, WHILE IN MY ABSENCE, I thought it might be a good idea to have
someone GUEST WRITE THE TOP 10 (somewhat like Johnny Carson allowing Jay
Leno to GUEST HOST THE TONIGHT SHOW).  And although it doesn't take a
rocket scientist to write THE 10, you must meet the following

a)  Be able to pat your head, rub your stomach, leap over stacks of
emails, and work a full-time job all at the same time;

b)  Remain silent about confidential information, while stuffing your
mouth with chocolate; 

c)  Sing moni's National Anthem -- Once, Twice, Three Times a Foul; and 

d)  Not get a rash from moni's dry sense of humor.  

To be considered a GUEST WRITER for THE 10, email me the following line:
HE'S MY BROTHER!"  The winners will be scientifically selected (emails
placed in a hat) and the first two emails randomly selected, will be the
lucky WINNERS!  The winners will be announced in Issue #35 of moni's top
10 E-ZINE on Monday, June 7th.   


3)  DECK OF CARDS (author unknown) - This is a story about a soldier in
the North Africa Campaign in World War II.  After heavy fighting, the man
returned to camp.  The next day being Sunday, the Chaplain had set up
church service.  The men were asked to take out their Bibles or Prayer
Books.  The Chaplain noticed one soldier looking at a deck of cards. 
After service, he was taken by the Chaplain to see the Major.  The
Chaplain explained to the Major what he had seen.  The Major told the
young soldier he would have to be punished if he could not explain
himself.  The young soldier told the Major that during the battle, he had
neither a Bible or a Prayer Book so he would use his deck of cards and

"You see, Sir, when I look at the ACE, it tells me that there is one GOD
and no other.  When I see the "2", it reminds me that there are two parts
the Bible, the OLD TESTAMENT and the NEW TESTAMENT.  The "3" tells me of 
"4" reminds me of the FOUR GOSPELS, MATTHEW, MARK, LUKE and JOHN.  When I
see the "5", it tells me of the FIVE UNWISE VIRGINS who were lost and
that five were saved.  

The "6" makes me mindful that GOD CREATED THE EARTH IN JUST SIX DAYS, and
GOD said that it was good.  When I see the "7", it reminds me that GOD
RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY.  As I look at the "8", it reminds me that GOD
their three sons, and their three son's wives.  When I see the "9", I
think of the NINE LEPERS that GOD healed.  There were ten lepers in all,
but only one stopped to thank him.  The "10" reminds me of the TEN
COMMANDMENTS carved in stone by the hand of GOD.  The "JACK" makes me
remember the Prince of Darkness.  Like a roaring lion, he devours those
that he can.  When I look at the "QUEEN", I see the BLESSED VIRGIN MARY,
MOTHER OF JESUS.  As I look at the last card, "THE KING", it reminds me

There are 365 spots on a deck of cards, and that is the number of days in
each year.  There are 52 cards to a deck and that is the number of weeks
in a year.  There are 12 picture cards and that is the number of months
in a year.  There are 4 different suits in a deck and that is the number
of months in a quarter of a year...."
And so, the young soldier then said to the Major, "You see, Sir, that my 
intentions were honorable.  My deck of cards serves as my BIBLE, my
PRAYER BOOK and my ALMANAC." A deck of cards should most importantly
remind us that we need JESUS  365 days, 52 weeks and 12 months a year and
that we should always PRAY "4" others.

May you never look at a deck of cards the same way.


4)  REVOLUTION CONVERSATION PIECE (a personal commentary by Poets Niche
member, Angela a/k/a "Genez" Singletary) - It's gotta be a little bigger
than just you and me outside appearances or individual strategies see
we're dying out there and just maybe you don't care cause it's not
directly effecting you.

The 6 o'clock evening news forgets to mention our ghetto blues of babies
being gunned down by drive-by shootings while crack cocaine continues to
conquer the last of my childhood neighbor-hood.  And in the meantime,
little girls look forward to nothing more than being a mother by the age
of 15 while little boys have no one to teach them how to become men but
being a thug is what's really in.  Communication has come to a halt
around the dinner table and no one realizes that we have so much that
needs to be done.  We have become prisoners in a technological world full
of computerized devices yet we lack the skill to care about what's really
going on in our own backyards.  Fear has become an option and we've
learned to turn our heads just as easily as Congress bombs third world
countries who have something that they want.  High schools have
become semi-prisons while the number of black on black crimes,
imprisonment and self-hate rockets to an all time high.  When does enough
become enough?

Our children are growing in a world that becomes more irresponsible and
reckless each generation.  They are learning in record numbers to accept
the reality of physical abuse, police brutality and racism.  Fathers hit
Mothers, brothers sell drugs, sisters sell their bodies and somebody's
son is strung out on drugs.  Crack sells replace education in order to
escape the ghetto while the beauty and innocence of childhood becomes a
dream that has become deferred one time too many.  They've all seen the
horror of destitution and anger while we pretend that they don't notice. 
These same children enter our elementary school without dreams but
illusions built upon a foundation that has become diluted and poisoned. 
We are not advancing.  Why?

To teach a child is to raise a nation.  To enhance a child's
understanding of themselves is the opportunity to enhance our futures. 
Too many times we refuse to listen to what our children are telling us. 
We become bombarded with the pressures of everyday life and deny our
children the support, respect and stability that a young life so
desperately needs.  What harm can come from insuring children that the
world is theirs and with a lot of determination and hard work, anything
is possible?  Maybe you played no role in a child's existence but with
the simplest task, there comes new direction and hope.  To understand a
child is to understand ourselves.  Only until we put violence as an
answer behind us will we ever prosper.  Wake up Black America, we can no
longer advance while living in a barbaric state.

Thanks Angela for your commentary and expressing THE WAY YOU SEE IT!! 
Please email your comments directly to Angela at (asingletary@bcbs

If you have a POINT OF VIEW you'd like to share with the group, please
email it to "ME" only at (  This will allow those
members who don't necessarily write poetry a forum to showcase their
talents.  Commentaries, however, that degrade, divide, discriminate,
inflame, and/or insult, will not be published.  


5)  CASTING CALL FOR BLACK FAMILIES - For our year-end, December '99
special collector's issue, AND STILL WE RISE: A Tribute to the Spirit and
Strength of the Black Family, we are looking for a variety of stable
Black families, who have interesting stories to share about how they
maintain their health, wholeness and happiness as a family unit, despite
the challenges of today's world.

"We Are Family" will be a photographic portfolio with text by Valerie
Wilson Wesley. We want it to be a beautiful, surprising and inspiring
document that will help readers to appreciate (in the words of Susan L.
Taylor) "the powerful truths behind our 'habit of surviving,' and
encourage African-Americans to have faith in ourselves and one another as
we create a pathway to our future." Here are the types of families we are
looking for: 

*Blended family (2nd marriage for both spouses) with kids that are "his,"
"hers" and "ours"; also have amicable relations with all ex-spouses and
in-laws who share responsibility for raising of the children; 

*Teen parents who have managed to do well by themselves and their
children because of personal determination, community and family support
and mentoring; 

*Successful foster or adoptive families;

*Grandmothers raising a family for the second time (grandchildren);

*Buppie family with six-figure income and the big house who decide make
adjustments in the work-family equation to give more time and attention
to their children, rather than acquire more material things; OR who have
found innovative ways to ensure their children are anchored and move
securely in the world outside affluence;

*Striving, dual-income blue-collar family (for example, factory worker
office worker in their 30's) with at least 2 kids buying their first home
or maybe empty-nesters with grandchildren;

*Single mother who takes care of a thriving family and herself;

*Gay family with two women raising children together successfully;

{Extra points for families living outside of the East Coast, in places
like Atlanta, Cleveland, Chicago, Phoenix and the other points west}.

Please email Susan McHenry at with suggested

Thanks Nicole for sharing this information with your fellow members!  If
any decides to participate, please let's us know if you've been chosen! 


6)  POETRY YOU SAY - Writer's Focus of Philadelphia is now accepting
registrations for the 1999 Multi-State Poetry Slam on Saturday June 26,
1999 at Club Dances.  There will be (4) cash prizes and THE TOP CASH
PRIZE is $350.   Some of the sponsors for this event are: Essence
Magazine, Today's Black Woman Magazine, Big Dog Productions and Power99
FM.  Forms can be emailed to you.  Contact the WF hotline at (215) 722
6565 for details regarding registration and admission costs.
Friday June 25th - The Poetry Stage for the National African American
Cultural Expo at the PA Convention Center. Special host: Sonia Sanchez.

Friday Evening - June 25th.  The Poetry Crew from Chicago and many other
talented people who will be in town that weekend for the Poetry Night Out
at the Poets Den in Camden, NJ.  For more details please call Lamont
Dixon at (609) 767-4129.

Saturday Night - June 26th.  The official Poetry Slam After Party at Club
Eden-Roc.  There will also be a special Poetry CD Release Event. 

 7)  MORE GOOD NEWS - A couple of weeks ago, I called a student loan
company regarding deferring my son's financial aid until the Y3K.  The
voice on the other end was the kind of voice women write poems about!! A
poem like:


The sound of his voice sent chills down my spine
and the notion that our bodies could somehow be 

I prayed for yet another second of courage so I could 
ask him his name before our lives disconnected.  

When he spoke again, I lost consciousness.  Drifting
somewhere in between being single and hopes of being 
his forever, I heard the operator say, "Your time's up."

(moni (c) 1999) 

Hang in there cuz I'm getting to the good part.  After we handled my
son's financial business and I determined that he just needed a job, (I
proposed to this stranger and he said, "YES, when donkey's fly", or
something like that).  Anyway, out of the blue I asked him, "DO YOU WRITE
POETRY, because you have the kind of voice to make poetry sing?"  (PICK
UP TIP 1001 -- Flatter him by asking if he writes poetry, and if
flattering doesn't work, then it's called networking).  He was shocked by
my question.  He told me just seconds before I called, he had just
finished WRITING A POEM and was pondering about his writing career!!  I
asked him to read it to me, which he did, and it was ABSOLUTELY
BEAUTIFUL.  Now, I may have forgotten the title of his poem, but I didn't
forget his name.  The name that belongs to the mellow voice on the other
end of the line is WALTER BAKER!  Walter hails from the windy city,

I told Walter about the Poets Niche and quite naturally, he was excited
to find out that such a group existed.  Since he's not currently on the
internet, I mailed him a packet of information on the Poets Niche.  I
called him again last week (a selfish move on my part disguised as a work
related activity) to confirm that he received the information, which he
did.  We can expect Walter to join the Poets Niche real soon!!  He said
that after he read about the Poets Niche, he stayed up all night trying
to figure out which poem(s) to send so he could share his work with the
group.  If his poems are anything like his voice, I'm positive you'll be
charmed too!!

Now the moral of the story is:  If he or she doesn't accept your marriage
proposal, network and invite him or her to join the Poets Niche.


8)  African-American stamps may be discontinued because they aren't
selling.  Please go to the local Post Office and buy African-American
stamps each and every time you mail something.  It doesn't require
special ordering.  I know it's easier to just accept the love, or rose,
or teddy bear stamps that they offer you automatically when you request
stamps.  However, we are only 13% of the population, so if we aren't
buying them, nobody's buying them.  Please spread the word.  


9)  POEMS OF THE WEEK turns the same age as moni -- 40!!!  Thunderstorms
in the air, reignited sensations of her.  So instead of worrying about
paying the rent, which was already spent, I wrote my soulmate a poem,
just because.  This week's FEATURED POETS are:  

SENSATIONS by Reggie Byrd -
SOULMATES by Jill Montgomery -
BECAUSE by Nicole McLean and Elizabeth Cartwright -
THUNDERSTORM by Robin Porter - z_porterrc@TITAN.SFASU.EDU
THE RENT'S ALREADY SPENT by Janice Haskins -
A POEM by Devin -

POEMS OF THE WEEK 40 will be posted on Tuesday, June 1st.  I invite you
to check them out tomorrow at (, and read why you
don't always have to be out in the rain to get wet.  Please also feel
free to email your love and support directly to our featured poets. 

Also, don't forget to visit COMMENTS FROM THE PEANUT GALLERY to critique
"Still Water" written by David Weeks a/k/a Ancient Tradition.  


10)  Below is moni's Poem of the Week.  This poem was written for one of
my best friends, who died many years ago.  There has not been a day that
has gone by that I don't think about or miss Marcus.  Your comments are
always welcomed and greatly appreciated.



                  [for Marcus]

Frame by frame our lives scroll before us.  Are we responsible 
for what has happened or was it meant to be?  

Our secrets are locked within, although the signs are quite clear.  
We have witnessed the shame others have already gone through.  
Fear of being deprived of our dignity, segregated like lepers, 
shunned like criminals or judged by imperfect Homo Sapiens, 
kept us silent.

Concealing the truth about who we are perpetuates narrow-minded 
intolerance.  No longer will we tolerate being the scapegoat for 
all society's social ills.  No longer will we passively allow 
our voices to be muted.

It is time to take the shutters off the windows.  We are eager 
to educate those seeking knowledge so misconceived notions are 

Although our days are numbered, there will be a cure.  But until 
then, look beyond the outward scars.  Redefine human compassion.  
Embrace us.  Ease the fears of our inevitable fate.  Comfort 
those we leave behind.  

We have reconciled our differences and made peace with the Creator.  
We exist -- simply proud just to be.  We are your fathers, mothers, 
sons, daughters, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, acquaintances 
and friends.  We are...part of the human race.

Monica Blache (c) 

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