To: Poets Niche

Issue #41 - moni's top 10 E-ZINE (minus 1) 
(The Poets Niche Official Weekly Newsletter)
Wednesday, July 28, 1999


This week's issue:

- moni's TOP 10 E-ZINE TURNS 40+1 


1)  "WRITING TO LIVE" - "One of my characters in "Water Marked" talks
about the effort to live intensely, in the place where you are most
vital, in the place where you freely bleed.  She calls this the quick. 
In this novel, I am interested in our various ways of getting to the
quick" making art, embracing the sacred, choosing to love over time. 
Writing is like getting to the quick."  (Excerpt from a conversation
between Martha Southgate and Helen Elaine Lee; see "Writing to Live",
July 1999 Issue of Essence, pg. 98).  


2)  A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS - Over the weekend, I was looking
for JUST THE RIGHT THANK YOU CARD to send to my friends/our sponsors.  On
Monday, JUST THE RIGHT EMAIL came from David Weeks.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Please pass this message on to our friends who helped us out financially
with the book!

To:    George Winston, Richard Thomas, and Jesse and Doris Augustine
From:  Poets of The Poets Niche/Featured Poets of "Come Into Our Whirl"

We, the featured poets of "Come Into Our Whirl", would like to thank you
for your belief in us and your financial support, as we journey towards
the fulfillment of this grassroots endeavor.  For many of us, the
publication of our work is a long time dream, and a duty of which GOD has
charged us with.

Your support reassures us that GOD did not put us out there alone on this
journey.  Again, thank you for helping us realize our dreams, and
accomplishing our duty.

"If your friend introduces you to a stranger, and says to you, this is my
friend.  Then she or he is no longer a stranger, they are now your

GOD's Blessings And Guidance~!

Poets of The Poets Niche

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
THANK YOU DAVID for the THANK YOU EMAIL!  I couldn't have said it any
better.  I LOVE YOU DUDE! 


3)  OFFLINE PRE-PARTY MADNESS - Well, I'm packing my bags and filling my
gas tank with GOOD CHEER, cuz we are ONLY EIGHT DAYS away from our FIRST
OFFLINE PARTY and COME INTO OUR WHIRL book signing in Atlanta on August
5-8, 1999!@!@!

The actual pre-party madness started when Shenita a/k/a Queen and Irma
came to New Orleans on July 3rd for the Essence Festival.  Shenita and
Irma left Atlanta around midnight and arrived at my front door around
6:30 a.m. on July 3rd.  (For the record, I was still in my pajamas and
makeup-less, so they got to SEE the REAL MONI).  After we screamed
(moni... Shenita... Irma...moni... Shenita... Irma) for about ten minutes
and woke up my neighbors, I welcomed them into my humble abode.  (Now
that I think about it, they may have been screaming because they saw the
REAL MONI, and not because they were excited to finally meet me...oh,
well).  I gave them the HOUSE RULES (everything you need is in the house,
so go for it cuz i ain't nobody's maid), and introduced them to my dog
Casey.  However, before they could hit the streets of New Orleans, they
took a nap.  Two hours of sleep later, they were ready to go.  (I really
didn't have time to party or take them sightseeing because I was packing
for my vacation).  Sooo, I gave them the keys to the house, pointed them
in the right direction to Bourbon Street, and sent them on their way.  

Later that evening, my brother joined us for dinner and I treated them to
some REAL SOUL FOOD.  ON THE MENU -- Shrimp Etouffe, grilled trout,
broccoli and a green tossed salad.  Look out Colonel, cuz it was FINGER
LICKING GOOD!!!  Good conversation and laughs were had by all.  (Shenita
and Irma PROMISED to cook for ME in Atlanta at our next PRE-PARTY
SHINDIG.  Y'all better get the grill ready cuz I can't miss a meal due to
health reasons (my healthy appetite).  

Prior to leaving on Sunday morning, Shenita and Irma gave me a beautiful
thank you card.  They wanted to show their appreciation in the form of a
cash donation, but they knew that I would be refuse it.  I did tell them,
however, that I wouldn't refuse their donation if it was enough to pay
for Gus' student loans!@!@

Here's an excerpt from Shenita's email: I'm just getting around to
reading all of my emails...Thank you for everything that you did for us
during our stay in New Orleans.  We had a wonderful time!  Take care and
please be sure to call me as soon as you get to HOTlanta.

FROM MOCHA - earthly angel and poetic sister.  I'm so proud of
YOU and all you've done with the Poets Niche, the upcoming reunion and
our first publication.  When I first heard your voice on the telephone I
would have never imagined you had so much energy and were on point the
way you are!!  You sounded like a little girl, because you speak so
softly (that's my work voice) but what you say is truly POWERFUL.  You go
Girl!!  When I grow up I wanna be just like you (laughing), see ya on the
3rd for dinner.  Oh yeah, in my house we eat with elbows on the table and
fingers greasy.

FROM bams - I'll be coming down to Hotlanta on my bike.  Atlanta is a wee
bit farther than I thought it was, and I'll be coming by myself, but I
plan on taking my cellphone with me (and asking God to ride pillion--that
is, passenger).  I'm not particularly worried about it, more like
"somewhat concerned", but I'm keeping faith that this will be yet another
epic journey for me.

Finally, if I never told you this before, I thank goodness for you,
monilove.  You and Walt have opened avenues of expression for me that
laid dormant for many years, and if it weren't for you, I wouldn't have
planned on coming down to the Offline Party (crowds normally ain't my
thang).  As it is, I cannot believe I *volunteered* to read some pieces
of mine--that *really* ain't my thang!  But I know this party has a
purpose, and I intend on finding out what that purpose is all about.  As
I said, let me know what I can do to help; I got your back!

FROM VALENTINO - The closer to the "Poets Niche celebration," the more
excited, proud, and disappointed I get.  My heart aches that I can't be
there, but I wish you and the Poets Niche family much success, and my God
bless and watch over you and the Niche family.


4)  moni's TOP 10 E-ZINE TURNS 40+1 - Typically, after I hit the send
button and THE 10 is emailed to the masses, I never [I mean NEVER] read
that issue again.  But when I started putting issue 41 together, I
realized I had no memory of writing issue #40 (which happens to be my
age).  So over the weekend I took a moment to *smell the coffee* and re
read all 40 issues of THE 10.  Andddd, if I may be so vain for just a
brief moment, I really enjoyed reading and reflecting on what has
happened over the past year or so.  Andddd, if I could be vain for just a
moment longer, THE 10 is not only packed with helpful information, but is
also well written (minus the minor/miner errors -- I can't seem to find
anyone to edit THE 10 between 2:00 a.m. 4:00 a.m.), inspirational, and
sometimes downright funny.  I'd like to thank those members who shared
their souls with us in their interviews (there'll be more interviews to
come), and all those who have emailed informative tips to share with you. 
I decided to share with you my top 5 commentaries and/or opening
statement from previous issues which "I" thought were really, really

a)  The weapon of choice for mass destruction is the MIND.  
moni (c) 1999

b)  IN SEARCH OF SATISFACTION is the title of one of J. California
Cooper's books. In the author's notes, she writes, "I cannot think of
anyone - any age, any color, any sex - who is not in search of
satisfaction...TIME is to be used to build our minds, our tool to get to
some satisfaction. We are building our minds, our values, as we find what
will give us satisfaction, how to get it, how to keep it.  Our minds
decide the quality of our not depend on anyone else for your
happiness.  Happiness is something a person acquires for themselves with
their energy and the tools of their mind...Make your own happiness inside
yourself and, when you have enough to share, find someone to share it
with...Move on to seek, to find what you the search for
satisfaction."  If you're not satisfied with your life, STOP COMPLAINING
or BLAMING others.  First, ask God for direction and He'll put you on the
right path. Then, make those changes in your life that satisfy YOUR
needs.  My wish for all of YOU in 1999 is that YOU FIND SATISFACTION!!

c)  THE POWER OF NEGATIVE THOUGHT - Technology has allowed us to
communicate with thousands of people just by pressing one button -- SEND. 
When you press SEND, not only are you sending out your poems, but you are
also sending out positive and negative energy.  That being said, I am a
true believer that anyone who joins the Poets Niche is here for a bigger
reason or purpose.  Part of that purpose is not just to feature the poets
or showcase their poems, but to also gain knowledge about our own
strengths and weaknesses.  Many of our paths have been altered because we
have allowed the negative thoughts or insecurities of others to pave the
roads we travel down.  The domino theory begins when we digest this
negativeness and accept it as our own thoughts, toppling years of hard
work of building our own self-esteem.  Remember, NO ONE CAN STEAL YOUR

d)  TALK IS NOT ALWAYS SO CHEAP - We have all heard the saying, "Talk is
cheap."  Well, that's not always the case.  Gossiping cheapens the person
spreading the rumor.  If the wrong person gets wind that "you" were
spreading rumors, it could put you in an awkward position.  Stay away
from office politics, conversations with friends about so-called friends,
or taking sides in family squabbles.  Remember to stay above the FRAY and
PRAY, because what YOU SAY could COST YOU.  When you feel the need to
gossip, use this equation: CALCULATE the time YOU spent listening to the
RUMOR.  MULTIPLY the time YOU used spreading the RUMOR, PLUS the number
of people you told.  Now, MINUS the VALUE YOU GAINED which equals IT'S

e)  LOW MAN ON THE TOTEM POLE - Working in the corporate arena for over
20 years, I've learned several lessons about integrity and self
preservation.  Many times I wanted to shout out to those making decisions
about my job performance and salary, "Hey, wait a minute, I did that, not
so and so!"  Therefore, because I prefer to do things quietly and "behind
the scenes" (without much fanfare), sometimes I'm overlooked.  Recently,
I decided to take my great Aunt Clara's advice, which didn't mean much to
me at 13 or even 17, but holds true today; 1) "Those always waving their
hands for attention (Hey, look at me, I'm over here.  Didn't you notice
me?) may get the initial recognition, but will one day get their hands
cutoff"; and 2) "It's okay to be the low man on the totem pole, because
everyone else has to stand on "YOUR" strong shoulders to get to the top. 
But when YOUR shoulders giveaway to the weight of those on top, the man
on top and those in between, will fall, but YOU will be the one still standing!"

Thanks for bearing with me for ALL 41 issues of moni's top 10 
E-ZINE!@!@!@!  I hope you're having as much fun reading THE 10 as I have
putting it together for YOU!  


5)  POETIC SHORT STORY - "THE TEST OF TIME" by Janelle E. Morrow (c) 1999 - 

The air was hot and dry.  The days had seem to become so long.  The days
seemed more like drawn out hours, that took more than 60 minutes to
complete.  My days had began and come to an end.  My every blink was slow
as if I was in a slow motion movie.  But my thoughts and emotions were
running like Sunday at the races.  Life had come to a point where it had
ended, so I thought.  My days had seemingly come to an end, because of
the one person I truly loved did not want to be with me any more. 
Instead they wanted to take time and space from each other.  Each word
piercing through my eardrum like a dart.  It seems like I just blocked
out all of the consonants and vowels spoken till I heard nothing.  All I
could see was the person I loved looking at me with this look.  This look
was like they didn't want to tell me that, but they had to.  This look
was like they didn't want to hurt me, but there was no other way to tell
me.  The same person, that wanted to spend their life with me, was
telling me that they did not want to be with me.  

When I look back in retrospect, the writing was on the wall in our
relationship.  Things had changed, evolved into something else.  Me on
the other hand was trying to hold on, till their grasp got a little
looser and they couldn't hold me anymore.  Have you ever had that happen? 
It feels like you are grasping on for dear life, and they are trying to
hold on.  They try to hold on so long that they get tired, and the last
thing they want to do is let you go but it happens.  It happens in such
an instant that the element of surprise is a shock to all.  It shocks the
person you let go, because the look they give you is how could you let
go.  If you had held on a little longer, help was on its way, the look
they give you as you float away from them.  The look that if I could take
back that moment I would, so I could still hold them.  I am strong
enough, but I wasn't at that moment.  So as you float away, thoughts of
your life run through your head.  As you make your descent, you realize
that this is it.  You will never be able to hold, see, talk, or anything
with the person you love, the person who let you go.  Then thoughts of
anger and resentment set in.  You question how could they do this to you. 
How could they let you go?  You saw help coming, but they couldn't see it
because they were concentrating on holding on to you.  The resentment
spills over into intense thoughts about hating that person.  But how
could you hate the person you love.  You start going over everything they
ever did wrong to you in the relationship.  You start going over the good
things.  The arguments, the walking out, the not talking to each other. 
The make-ups, the love, the life you shared with that person.   It all
comes as quickly as the seconds change to minutes.  The reflections of
the time you have spent with that person, the time you want to spend, the
time that would have been spent is checked in.  The further you float
away you know that this is it.   The last kiss becomes a cherished
memory, the last hug.  All now but distant memories.  

You have your whole life ahead of you some say, but you don't feel that
way.  They have even told you go out and find someone else.  They ask you
why do you want to be with them, when all you do is complain about how
they treat you.  Then it dawns on you, have you been doing that.  Have
you been complaining to no avail?  Have you brought excess baggage along
the way?  Maybe that is why you were so heavy, and they couldn't hold you
any longer.  Maybe that is why it hurt them so to let you go, because
they wanted you to let go of that luggage, that you didn't need.  They
had been telling you to leave it, but no, you had to carry it.  Because
somehow you felt that you needed it.  And for what.  It became a burden
in more ways then one.  Why did you have that luggage?  You thought you
could handle it, but you couldn't.  You couldn't carry the load, because
you were always complaining about how heavy it was.  That is what did it,
or partially.  You should have known, you couldn't handle it, but you
tried to anyway.  

As the old saying goes your eyes were bigger than your stomach.  You bit
off too much.  And now it has come to this.  You say you will let go, but
it is hard, because you figure you have been carrying it so long that you
get use to it.  But you never do.  You just keep adapting till it is too
much for both of you to carry.  You try to make the other person carry
it, and they do not want to.  But out of respect for you they try, and it
is way to heavy for them to bear.  So you take it all back and trudge
along.  And look where you are now.  Floating away further, and further,
faster and faster.  You finally let go of the luggage, and you stop
floating as fast.  It slows down a little but not enough to soften the
impact that is impending.  The impending impact is just moments away,
till you see the end.  The end is approaching faster and faster.  The
closer you get; your breath becomes shorter, and shorter.  You can feel
your heart beating outside your chest.  But you can't scream, all you can
do is try to brace for the impact. You are getting closer, and you just
close your eyes, and then suddenly.

You awaken to find yourself in the self-pity pot hospital.  You find that
indeed you had fallen and you have several broken egos, expectations,
hurt feelings and a major dislocation of your heart.  The doctor comes in
to ask you how you feel and tell you how long your stay will be.  The
doctor tells you it will take time to heal, and that is all determined by
you.  You have to get well on your own.  There is not much the doctor can
do with these type of injuries.  Self-healing is the method we suggest. 
There are other methods such as drugs and alcohol to help you forget
about the pain, but when it wears off those injuries will still be there. 
So they suggest you get some rest, and let time heal those injuries.  As
you dose off you see across the room is the person that let you go.  They
were standing there the whole time the doctor was there.  They come to
your side, and express that they did not mean to let you go like that. 
They explain to you that they are there, and they cannot be there every
day, because as they let you go they had injured themselves also.  They
had dislocated their heart as well.  The doctor informed them it will
take time to heal them also, but as you, they cannot have  a lot of
stressful activity.  So you thank them for coming to see you.  They tell
you they will keep in touch to make sure you are steadily improving, and
you tell them you will do the same.

So time elapses, and you see your friend.  You have both gotten over some
of your injuries and are still healing the others.   As you see each
other, a warm feeling comes over your heart, because you are genuinely
glad to see them.  And they are feeling the same way.  You ask how each
of you is doing.  And both of you respond with the traditional, ok.  You
ask if they would like to join you for dinner and they accept.  You go on
to dinner, and you talk for ages about anything.  It was like it was when
you first met so long ago, before the accident, before life brought you
together.  It is a path that you both enjoyed taking.  You don't even
talk about the past, but the future, and how both of you will fulfill
your dreams.  See life started over for me when I left the hospital, I
tell my friend.  I realized what excess baggage can do.  I realized what
excess baggage did to us.  I have grown, in more ways than one I explain. 
I tell them I stayed in the hospital a little longer than expected, but I
realized you cannot get better staying in the hospital, so I came on
home.  The day I walked out of that hospital, that was my new life.  It
took time for me to heal, and realize who I am.  It took time to realize
that the extra baggage I carry was not just in our relationship but
excess baggage I carry in life.  I have realized that I don't need all
that baggage, it just makes the trip that much harder.  The test of time
has proven this to me.  For all of the baggage I am sorry.  I am sorry
that I blamed you for letting me go when I realize now that you couldn't
help it.  I was just too heavy.  But I thank you for letting me go,
because eventually I would have pulled you with me, and I would not have
wanted that to happen.  Time will tell, how our injuries will heal.  The 
test of time is all either one of us need.  I hope the test of time will
not be as hard for you as it has been for me.  Thank you for everything.

Would you like to hang out sometime?

                           TO BE CONTINUED!!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

WAY TO GO JANELLE!!  Please feel free to send your comments and support
directly to Janelle at (  Stay tune for the
follow-up/Part II "Can I be a Friend?" in an upcoming issue of THE 10!  

Next week's poetic short story - Voyages with the Madman: Series III,
Part II by rodneyc.

Also, don't forget to submit your SHORT, SHORT, REALLY SHORT STORIES (no
more than 3 pages plezzz) to ME ONLY at (


special prayer out to Renee Davis' father, who has suffered slight
medical setback.   Please feel free to send your prayers and support to
Renee and her Dad at

A prayer for my co-worker Barbara Johnson, who was slightly injured in a
car fire.  The good news, however, is that Barbara and her son Joey, just
bought a new home.  Nothing but good thoughts for you and Joey, and get
better soon.   Please also feel free to send your love and support to
Barbara at (

* * * * * * * * * * 
I'd like to WISH the HAPPIEST OF BIRTHDAYS to those LEO members born
between July 23 and August 22:

Trisa Robinson - July 29th   (
Rodney Coates - August 2nd   (
Shawn Goins - August 3rd     (waiting for new email address)
Janice Haskins - August 14th (

* * * * * * * * * * 
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to bams and Bear a/k/a Michael and Rose Cooper, who
celebrated their 14th wedding anniversary on July 20th!  I wish you both
a lifetime of continued LOVE and HAPPINESS (Al Green flashback).  


7)  WEBSITE TO CHECK OUT - Tia Shabazz is the Webmistress of the African
American Online Writers Guild.  The Guild was formed "as a literary
educational association 'to provide information, support and
encouragement to its members and to promote fellowship among the writing
community.'"  This website has a wealth of resources, such as marketing
information on book and magazine publishers; non-fee-charging agents, who
are seeking new or unpublished clients and other hot marketing tips. 
Membership is required to access certain section of the Writers Resources
site.  Go to ( to see for
yourself.  Please make sure to tell Tia that you are a member of the
Poets Niche, and that moni and Walt sent you.


8)  POEMS OF THE WEEK - It was OPEN MIC for the local poets at CAFE
NICHE.  Word on the street was this week's competition would be fierce. 
The judges decided to change the format to make things a little more
interesting.  Instead of the poets signing in and reading their poem(s)
in the order of the sign-in sheet, they were instructed to drop their
name and title of the poem(s) in a hat.  The judges were hoping that the
random drawing would add an element of surprise!

"This is monilove," I said.  "Welcome to Cafe Niche, and I'm your host
for tonight's competition.  To get things started, I will read a little
poem *which I composed* from the titles of the poems from the first six
contestants.  So when you hear the title of your poem, take a deep
breath, and get ready to RUMBLE!   My poem is entitled, "WEEK 47". 

	     She still felt displaced even though it was a new year.
	     So she vowed that when one door shuts and she was
	     beyond the plains of pain, there would be no more of 
	     the same.  
  			          monilove (c) 1999

The WINNERS of the this week's OPEN MIC NIGHT are:

	     NEW YEARS by Jim Roche
	     BEYOND THE PLAINS OF PAIN by Padmore Agbemabiese
	     THE SAME by Karen Roberts
	     NO MORE by Lee Taylor
	     DISPLACED by Janine de Novais
	     WHEN ONE DOOR SHUTS by Tyese Dantzler

Check out POEMS OF THE WEEK 47 at ( and read for
yourself the poems of this week's featured poets.  OUTSTANDING JOB MY


9)  Last week, every time I looked around, two words -- FATE AND FAITH --
continued to come up in email messages, casual conversations and even in
the form of a prayer given to me on the bus from my friend Jackie.  The
answer to why those two words had crossed my path so many times last week
came in the quiet and still on Monday morning -- FAITH IS HAVING THE

Well, I think I've said a mouthful already.  Below is moni's Poem of the
Week.  I look forward to your comments and welcome your honest opinions.  


p.s.  Hey Cephus, thanks for the kind words.  You made my day!!



Surprised and grateful each morning when I rise, 
I take my book off the shelf.  Turning the pages, 
I begin my episodic adventure.  I will encounter 
various characters and villains throughout the 
manuscript pages.  I am the author of every page 
and each chapter has a refreshing beginning and a 
surprising ending. 

However, if the day is not going as I have forecast, 
I simply turn the page and presto -- a different plot.  
And, when the pages become frayed and the binder worn
with age, I just flip to a new page with the flick of
my finger and continue my journey to another day.

            Monica D. Blache (c) 

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