To: Poets Niche
Issue #49 - moni's top 10 E-ZINE (minus 2)
(The Poets Niche Official Weekly Newsletter)
Monday, October 18, 1999


                       To accomplish great things
                  we must not only act but also dream,
                    not only plan but also believe.

                             Anatole France


This week's issue:


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1)  WELCOME - There's nothing like being the new kid on the
block, or having to make new friends.  On behalf of the Poets
Niche, I'd like WELCOME all our NEW MEMBERS!!!

I would also like to personally THANK DAVID WEEKS for being our
Greeting Committee Coordinator.  Every month David sends out a WELCOME
EMAIL introducing all the New Members.  As most of you already know,
David has a way of making you feel right at home.  I'm grateful that
David is playing for the HOME TEAM and pulling you into our "whirl"
with his special brand of love and encouragement.

Please remember, if you have any questions, please feel free to email
David at (, because he's there to help YOU!

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2)  WHIRL TOUR UPDATE - Where there's a rumor, there's a
hint of truth.  Rumor has it that the DC/MD/VA members have
found a location and set a date for their book signing.  I'll
just say. . .SAVOY on October 30th at 4:00 p.m.  Anddddd,
someone we all know is also thinking about hosting "her" own
whirl bikers tour. . .But you didn't hear it from me!

The Great Barrington, MA whirl tour has been rescheduled for
Spring 2000.

Don't forget to visit our UPCOMING EVENTS webpage at
( for up-to-date information on the book signing
 location nearest you.

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3)  CHAT ROOM - I knew if I held out long enough someone would
volunteer to be the moderator of our Chat Room.  DRUM ROLL
PLEASE!!!  I am proud (more like relieved) to announce the POETS

a)  Every FOURTH SATURDAY of EACH MONTH, at 8:00 p.m.CST, the 
chat room will begin discussions for approximately one hour
(perhaps longer, depending on how things are going).  Please be
patient and allow the page to load up.  (A lunchtime chat room
discussion may be scheduled in the future).

b)  The purpose of the chat room is to discuss a variety of
issues ranging from writing poetry, sharing our thoughts on the
poems written by well-known and aspiring poets, relationships
and why we, as poets, feel the need to write about all aspects of
love, as well as an array of topics brought to the roundtable
for discussion.

c)  Voicing your point of view does not mean using profanity.

d)  If you have a specific topic you'd like to discuss, or have
any suggestions or questions, please email SHAUN ONLY at

Here's a sneak preview of our first topic:

FIRST DISCUSSION DATE:  October 23, 1999 at 8:00 CST

Allen Ginsberg defines poetry as - "Poetry is a kind of
mediation that slows me down and brings me back to myself."

Gustave Flaubert defines poetry as - "Human speech is like a
cracked kettle on which we hammer out tunes to make bears
dance, when what we long for is the compassion of the stars."

T.S. Elliot defines poetry as - "Not the assertion that something
is true, but the making of that truth more fully real to us."

(For more quotes on WHAT IS POETRY?, see "An Introduction of Poetry" by X.J. Kennedy).

ANDDDD, our own Gloria Ware defines poetry as:

      POETRY IS....................

That unconditioned response
        to a conditioned world.....
That undefined action
        given a plausible definition.

That which borders fantasy
        intertwined with highlights of reality.
That section of the soul
        brought to an inconceivable threshold.

That unsung song
        heard by those that cannot hear.
That which is unconscious
        brought forth into consciousness.

That which is dead
        brought forth to an exhilarating liveliness.
That which is low
        elevated to an all time high.

That which is dark
        translated eloquently to light.
That which is a barrier
        becomes a broad opening...........

That which is hidden
        now brought to a clear view.
That which is unbelievable
        is somehow believed..............
THAT IS POETRY..........................

THANKS GLORIA!!!  Please feel free to email your support to
Gloria at (

So, get rid of the kids, and feed the dog, because we look forward
to chatting with YOU on October 23rd at 8:00 p.m. CST!!!

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            MEETING YOU
            by Shaun Cecil

      I can still see her in my mind's eye.  Walking, not
strutting, down the street, the rain pouring down, wearing
sandals, a cockeyed grin, a tie-dyed tee shirt with frayed
jeans, and an army surplus rucksack slung over her left
shoulder.  From the rucksack pouch, I can still see, just
peeking over the edge, the color peach of what I later found to
be a half dozen peach roses.  Walking beside her was a man with
an umbrella, wearing alligator shoes, a three piece suit and a
power tie of rabid red.   His hair was glued in place.  On his
left hand were rings studded with diamonds, and on his wrist was
a gold Rolex.

     I watched with fascination as she disdained the rain, and
with an eloquence of a woman born to talk, she waved her arms
and moved her fingers, pointing out the syllables of each word
she spoke.  With a laugh that was almost a shriek, "Gawd man,
you must be crazy!" and she chuckled again.  She pointed at his
nose and laughed again.  "You want me to order your sandwiches,
that's fine.  But me serve them?  You're out of your mind, boy!"
- the "boy" with a rising inflection that spoke volumes of
insanity, ending with a sharp crack of finality.

     As I was standing under the awning of a fruit and vegetable
stand, and they were just a few feet down, waiting to cross with
the light, I could here their entire conversation.  "Damn girl!"
he said.  "It's bad enough that I allow you to come to work in
that crazy outfit.  It's bad enough that I let you answer the
telephone in that 'bored, must you bother me voice'.  And, it's
even worse that I let you talk to me as if I were the hired
help."  His frustration was clearly stated.  "And now, when I
need you the most, to remind me of my meetings, and to help me
with my committees, you go NATIVE!"

     Again, that supersonic laugh.  "You need me?  Why, you
Harvard trained, Ivy League bush mongrel."  And with the
"mongrel" came that snap of derision.  "You come to work at
10:00 a.m. and you leave at 3:00 p.m.  I make out a calendar for
you each and every Monday, put a memo on your desk of the day's
agenda, and you want me to be your momma?"  "Momma," is flashed
in pure brilliance with hands in supplication and voice rising in
earnest conviction of flung cow crap.  "Why son, I thought you
knew that all I'm good for is the taking notes or for the appeasement
of the clients."  Once more, a snort and a clap of laughter, that had
me looking for a lightening strike any moment.

     He spins the umbrella, and flashbulbs of raindrops spin off
over her head.  "But, you know I am so busy, that I just can't
keep up.  You know what I am supposed to be doing and you know
that I depend on you to keep me from wandering to far away from
the published path."  He looks at her with the look of a little
boy who knows just how cute he is.  "You know that I can't run
my office without your help.  You know that I am at your mercy
when it comes to the daily chores of my business.  You know that
I could get nowhere without you.  You are important to me, and I
need you there."  Then he smiles his most convincing courtroom,
jury going to hang you, smile.

     Silence.  She reaches into her rucksack, and pulls a single
peach rose.  She sniffs it reflectively, and then looks up into
his big hazel eyes.  "Yes, I know all of that," she speaks in a
professional voice, not a bit of banter or twang in it.  "Yes, I
know it all.  Do you see this rose?" and she sticks it in his

     "How can I not see it," he replies with an angry cast to his

     "Well, this rose is one of six, sent to me by a man, a man
who told me that he wanted me to have them because he
appreciated me."  Her voice lowers.  "A man who is not
associated with anything you do, or have done.  A man who has
never met me or seen me, or even really needs me.  A man who
just wanted me to know that he cares."  She then took out a pair
of nail clippers from God only knows where in that rucksack.
She slowly began to clip the thorns from the stem of that single
peach rose.  With a gentle laugh, a laugh that I remember tore
through me like a kid in a candy shop, she said to him,

     "You want me.  You think you need me.  No!  You really
think you own me!" and on the word "me", her voice rose and the
hands began to dance.  "Well, you have never told me that you
appreciated me.  All you ever do is complain."  Her voice
changed again and the laugh came blasting in.  "You call what I
do, taking care of chores, just as if I were a child of yours
making your life simpler.  You think that I don't see the
Mercedes Benz you drive as I get in my Pinto.  You think I wear
sandals because I think that they make a statement.  You think I
don't see the steak in your office while I eat my bologna.  You
think that I am BLIND, Boy!"  With "boy", the notes of the
laughter become almost unbearable.

     Nervously, he watches her, not even realizing that he was
standing in a puddle of filth left by that French Poodle just
moments ago, "Well..."

     Without missing a beat the hands go on.  "I think that you
don't even know that I exist, unless I'm late, or miss
documenting an appointment on your calendar that YOU forgot to
tell me about."  Suddenly she stops.  She takes the rose she has
so carefully trimmed and places it as a boutonniere in his suit
jacket.  Another supersonic laugh bursts out.  "A single peach
rose from you which said, 'I appreciate you,' would have kept
this conversation from ever happening."

     With a flip of wet hair, and a spring in her step, a jiggle
of free breasts, and a wink for me, she left him standing in the
Poodle puddle.  She took me by the arm and spun us both.  "I'm
to lunch," she said, as she held up a Platinum Visa Card.  "ON
YOU!"  So together we skipped down the road, she with a smile on
her face, me a look of amazement, and on him, a look of worry.
Over her shoulder she calls with that laugh of hers, "You had
best have that mess from your meeting cleaned up before I come
back.  That is…if you really want me back!"

WAY TO GO SHAUN!!!   She sounds like Martin Tupper's secretary,
Tobie, from the old HBO series, DREAM ON.  Just so you know, my
nickname at work is TOBIE!  HAHA!!!! Please feel free to send
your support and comments directly to Shaun at

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5)  INTERVIEW - You guys don't want to miss reading any part of
this interview.  I laughed and cried at the same time.  I must
admit, however, that I sometimes worry if I ask too many
personal questions, or simply ask too many questions.  If that
is the case, I don't have to look too far from the tree because
I learned my interrogation skills from my mother.  Lawd knows,
whenever I was up to no good, my mama's instant -- moni's trying
to overthrow the government radar -- started flashes.  She would enlist
the services of a local snitch (usually a willing sibling who would sell

me out for anything sweet or the simple pleasure of watching me suffer.
She would hatch a plan, sit back and wait for me to trip myself up and
catch me in the act.  It was the quiet unassuming manner in which she
offhandedly interrogated me that finally broke my will to lie:

"So what time did *you* say you were going to be home?"
"Who did *you* say you were going with?"
"Is there an address or a phone number where *you* can be reached?"
"Will there be any *parents* at this party?"

So, to answer the question, do I ask too many  questions,
I'd have to say - IF I DO, I DO IT ALL FOR YOU!!!  You can judge
for yourself, however, after you've read the long awaited, moni
what took you so long, I've been dying to know that too, UP

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moni:  It's been said that you have a vivid imagination and a
gift for storytelling.  So, tell us the story of your life.

Nicole:  I grew up in a Maryland suburb of Washington, DC.
Suitland is a town that was better known in the 80's for its
high teenage pregnancy rates or the hopeful dreams of
impoverished youth turned drug runners rather than the home of
the US Census Bureau.  My life didn't get colorful until I was
in college learning to deal with life on my own terms.  Let's
see. . .I'll give you the highlights.

I started college at the University of Maryland, College Park at
17.  I learned a few things at UMCP. First, I learned that I was
an attractive girl (few folks at my high school thought I was
attractive including me).  Second, I learned that drinking and
lounging with my friends was much more pleasurable than going to
class.  Third, if you don't go to class, it's really difficult
to pass a class in college.  And finally, I learned that
flunking out of college in 3 semesters is much easier than you
think.  HA!

At 21, I was saved and I learned how to help others by
participating in various ministries at church.  Being an only
child, I'd never had to give consideration to anyone or anything
that I didn't want to consider.  I was engaged at 22 and I found
myself living a life that I didn't like. Faced with options that
included marrying a man that frightened me with his sensitivity,
working a dead end job forever and being at the beck and call of
anyone that ever did anything for me.  I called off the wedding
to figure out what I wanted out of life.

It took me 3 years to get accepted into a credible college.  Boy,
you'd think folks would have been knocking down my door to
get to a student who went from a 3.85 GPA in high school to a
1.10 GPA in college.  I was spurned into overdrive by the
suicidal death of one of my best friends.  My friend was
beautiful and vivacious and her death affected my life in a
myriad of ways.  Kyatta was a phenomenal singer who couldn't
decide whether to follow her own dreams or to live the dreams
that were laid out for her by her parents, her church and her
friends.  I believe that she took her life at 23 because she was
confused.  I decided that I had to learn from her mistakes and
do whatever it took to get where I needed to go - for myself.

I went back to college as a full-time student at 25…what an
experience!  I attended Mount Vernon College for women and
I learned a lot about myself and my abilities there.  I decided to
continue my pursuit of a career in law because the desire was
still very strong within me.  I am currently taking classes on a
part-time basis and will be taking the LSAT very soon.

I am single with no children. My friends are my sibling
equivalents and I treat them as such.  My mother has one child
and my father has two.  I never envisioned that I would have a
half brother that was 23 years younger than me but hey.  God
never puts more on us than we can bear.  I've grown from this
experience and learned that my parents were humans first.  My
parents are still married to each other and are constantly
working to improve their relationship.  I am dating no one in
particular, and some days I like it that way.

moni:  When did you start writing, and why poetry, as opposed to
another genre?

Nicole:  The desire manifested long before the gift/talent
arrived.  I was awakened to poetry through an English assignment
when I was 14.  The homework assignment was to write a poem.  I
thought it would be a snap.  I was so wrong!  My "A" average sunk
to a low "C" because of the fat "F" I received on the assignment.
HAHA!!!  I learned a lesson and my interest in the genre was sparked.
I tried many times to write poetry but failed miserably each time.
I couldn't find my voice.  I tried other genres; I wrote several short
stories and co-authored a few songs in my teen-age/early twenty years.
In 1996 I wrote what I consider  my first "real" poem (Chocolate
Mousse).  To tell the truth, that poem (as well  as many others that
I have written) flowed almost effortlessly from my pen.  I was so
stunned at the ease in which Chocolate Mousse came out that for
awhile I was afraid that I had plagiarized someone else's work.

I always have something to say (whether that's good or bad) but
I've come to accept that what I want to communicate isn't always
a long-drawn out story.  I normally just want to take a "snap-shot"
of an emotion.  Poetry allows me to do that.

moni:  Not many of our members know what you do to bring
home the bacon and fry it up in a pan.

Nicole:  I work in Virginia in the government affairs department
as the Grassroots Associate at a small trade association for the
federal credit unions.  It's my job to  facilitate the process of
educating our members about legislative issues and keep
them motivated to be active in the legislative process back home.

moni:  When you became a member of the Poets Niche, I must
admit, I literally screamed every time you submitted a poem.
When your emails popped up on my screen, I just sat back and
waited for you to slap me in the face with some [DON'T
MESS WITH ME BOY 4 I CUT U - kinda poetree].  How do
you draw from your life experiences to come up with such an
emotional writing style?

Nicole:  I am an emotional person.  I've been that way since I
was a child.  As a kid, I was known as a crybaby -- the tears
were usually from frustration rather than sadness.  Today, I'm
still a crybaby but I'll cut you to shreds with my tongue before
I let you know that you hurt me.  THEN I'll go home and cry
myself to sleep.  It's a defense mechanism.

I often find myself with a lot to say, but a limited ability to express
what I feel. So, I pour it out on the page.  I often laugh to myself
when I receive comments from Niche members  who tell me that
they like my style of poetry.  I laugh because I don't consider myself
to have a "style".  I just write exactly what I feel, and usually,
exactly the way I would say it to the person I'm talking to.
I guess I'm a little strange that way.

moni:  I know you email chat and hang out with some of the East side
Poets Niche Posse!!!  Do you think you would have met any of these
people had you not been a member of the Poets Niche?

Nicole:  The Poets Niche has been a blessing for me.  I would probably
have never had the opportunity to make the connections with folks that
I have.  But it's not limited to the East Coast Posse. . .although we
are definitely "holding thangs down over here!"

Some of the folks what helped me along the way: Ancient Tradition
helped to open my eyes to my own gift.  Craig Gill made me aware that
poetry really does speak to your heart when it's written the right way,
and with the right emotion.  Shaun Cecil showed me that I can do things
with words that I didn't think was possible for me.   bams,
oh-my-goodness! What can I say?  Her work inspires me to make mine
greater.  And there are so many more artists on the Niche that have
made me laugh, smile, cry, and just wonder how in the world we all came
together this way.  It's just another way that God has worked to pull
things together in my life.

moni:  Being an aspiring entertainment lawyer, does that give you an
insider's advantage of the ups and downs in the literary market, as
well as the pitfalls of contract disputes writers face when dealing
with agents and/or publishers?

Nicole:  I'm not there yet, but I do have an understanding of
contractual disputes from dealings/conversations with my friends and
associates that are practicing attorneys and situations from my own
past mistakes.  Let me tell you, the literary market is just as cut
throat as any other entertainment industry. . .don't be fooled into
thinking it's not.  I have already had some of my work plagiarized and
flat out stolen. But that was back in the day when I was writing
stories and songs. . .not poetry.

moni:  What's your opinion about writers/poets having their work

Nicole:  It is a must. Period!  No discussion necessary!!!

moni:  A three part question: How did you find out about the Poets
Niche and what were your initial thoughts about us? Has that changed as
a result of your being one of the FEATURED POETS in our FIRST PUBLISHED

Nicole:  I was a member of a listserve and every week someone would
submit Walt's inspiration to the list.  I didn't read them at first. I
felt that I didn't have time, haha!  But one day I needed inspiration. 
I read it and was impressed with the quality.  So I went to the site,
and once I found my way to the Poets Niche, I knew that I had to join. 
I wanted to learn from folks that were out there doing their thing with
their work.

I never ever thought that the scribblings I wrote would be so well
received. I mean, my crazy friends liked them, but they were my
friends.  They didn't have any real credibility to me.  I was shaking
at my keyboard when I first submitted a poem.  I imagined that someone
on the list was going to "call me out" as a fraud and a "wanna-be".  I
really expected the worst.  But instead, nothing happened. . .and just
when I thought I must have done something wrong and pissed somebody off
(as usual), my e-mail box was crowded with folks telling me how much
they liked my work.  I sat at my desk and cried.

When you sent me the e-mail saying that you wanted me to be a part of
the book, I just sat there stunned.  I was encouraged to do the book by
a friend on the Niche 'cause I was about to say NOPE, UH-UH, NO WAY!  I
didn't feel that I had the appropriate skills to be published.  But I'm
glad that I did agree to do the book 'cause it was and is a dream come
true for me.

Being a featured poet is GREAT, but I found myself in an awkward
situation recently because of it.  I went to a poetry reading with my
roommate (cousin).  She's a recent transplant from NC and I wanted to
show her some of the different things DC had to offer.  We were having
a light discussion with this really nice guy when he inquired whether
or not we were "closet-poets". Now, I still consider myself a closet
poet but my big mouth cousin starts going on and on about how I'm a
published poet and that I have so much work…blah, blah, blah…I could
have fallen through the floor.  I have never read any of my work
anywhere (not even in the mirror at home) and suddenly this guy is
pressuring me to recite some of my work.  Oh, the pressure of
competition (smile). I didn't read or recite anything that night but
I've made a promise to myself to do at least one reading before

moni:  Okay, you were in Atlanta for our book signing and readings!
When you first saw THE BOOK, what was your first impression, and are
you still sleeping with it under your pillow? HAHA!!!

Nicole:  My first impression of the book was "where's my page?"…(smile).
I could barely see straight because I was scared.  Scared of what, I
still don't know, but I was shaking in my stiletto sandals…HAHA!  It
was really cool, but one of the best things about the whole deal was
that two of my best and favorite friends were there with me and they
really liked the book and the whole deal.  To have someone who's
completely on the outside, see the whole machine at work and be
impressed, was a great thing.  I got a chance to put some faces to
names and just be a part of the vibe for a little bit.   While I don't
sleep with the book under my pillow, it is right beside my bed.  Heck
something's gotta fill that empty space…(smile)!!!

moni:  What advice would you give to young poets/writers in terms of
following their setting goals and following their dreams?

Nicole:  I can only give the advice that I remind myself of regularly:
to you to use, not to hoard.  Think about what you want, set a
deadline, make it as far away as you need to, and then set smaller
deadlines along the way.  You'll be surprised at how far you'll go with
a plan of action.

moni:  Who is or was the biggest influence in your life?  And, has
their presence in your life shaped your opinions and/or changed you as
a person?

My mother is a huge influence in my life and my friends/family.  I am a
people watcher, and I learn about myself and about people by their
actions and my reactions to them.  My mother is in what I would
consider an awful situation with my father, yet she stands by his side
everyday.  From her, I am learning what unconditional love is, and I
realize that I have a long way to go to be able to give that to and
accept that from someone else in my life.  I am my mother's only child,
and her opinion of me means the most to me next to my own.

Each of my really close girlfriends has been through some dramatic
situation or another and I learned from those situations as well.  I
learned the most, I think, from the death of my friend Kyatta.  If my
girlfriend had given herself a plan of action to do what she really
wanted to do, I don't think that she would have felt it necessary to
die to find a peaceful place.  Each time someone close to me passes
away, or leaves my world, I look at their life and try to glean
something positive from it that I can apply to my own life.  Once the
concept of death and finality hit home with me.  I realized that
nothing is promised and that I have to do those thingsthat I feel will
bring me joy and realize my purpose in this world.

moni:  Rumor has it that you make a FANTASTIC cheesecake.  Will you
share with us your special ingredients, but write us a poem.

Nicole:  Just for my niche friends…:)

Making cheesecake is like making love

The thought of the final outcome sets your mouth to watering…
Close your eyes…
Open your mouth
And taste the labor of my love for you

You start with a lot of ingredients…
Something creamy,
Something sweet,
Some vanilla - just for flavor
You've got to set the right mood

Maybe some almond to give it a new twist…

Sometimes I add a little lemon too…
I know you like it a little tangy
every now and then, don't you?

Put it all in a large bowl…
And mix it well…
Oh it's so lumpy at first
Hard to maneuver in the bowl
It takes time to get the rhythm right
Then around and around I stir
Wanting to make sure it's alright

Can't have no lumps in my cheesecake
Only a smooth creamy taste is allowed…
After minutes of stirring… or was it hours
I don't know…lost track of the time

I put my finger in to taste…
I dip it in nice and slow
I gotta make sure that I don't miss any lumps
And that it tastes just so…
Everything must be mixed together completely
Well-blended… it's the beginning of a new creation…

You see…
I take bits and pieces from all parts of the kitchen
And it's my job to make them into an enjoyable treat
So I sometimes I have to taste it
Just to make sure everything is complete.

I sit that to the side…
Oh don't worry
We're not through
I've still got to make my crust
I've got lots more work to do

I put all my cookies in a bag
And pull out the great big roller
And I stroke back and forth
Over and over
Until fine crumbs are all I have to show

Mix that with some crushed almonds
And a little bit of melted butter too
And I press
And I press
Until it's conformed into
A package with an important job to do

I slowly pour my blended creation into the pan
And balancing it ever so gently…
I slide my baby into the oven and I wait
For the completion…

There are parts to making love/cheesecake
That require no effort of your own you know
In order for it to turn out right
You have to be willing to let it go

Some time later on
My creamy batter solidifies into a smooth textured cake
Much like the energy between two souls
Solidifies from lust to love with time

With my strong steady hand
And my gleaming sharp knife
I slice a nice-sized portion
And ask you to take a bite…

(Nicole McLean © 1999)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
moni: Do you have any final thoughts or special message you'd like to
share with us before we end this interview?

Nicole:  I am thankful that I found such a wonderful place to start
this part of my life.  I have enjoyed learning about everyone through
their work and look forward to many more opportunities to grow with you.

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

MARTHA STEWART and B. SMITH better look out!!!  And, it looks like
you'll get your wish of performing prior to Thanksgiving since your
fellow East Coast members are hosting their own whirl tour.  But
seriously, Nicole, THANKS for sharing with us your recipe for a happy
and fulfilled life.  Please feel free to send your love and comments
directly to Nicole at (

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5)  POETREE U SAY - Conferences and contests to check out.

On October 21-23, 1999, Chicago State University's Ninth Annual
Gwendolyn Brooks Writers' Conference on Black Literature and
Creative Writing presents Black Writers Approaching The
Millennium.  All events will take place in the Robinson
University Center and the Student Union Building, Chicago State
University, 9502 South King Drive, Chicago, IL.  Conference
speakers include Gwendolyn Brooks, Dr. Maya Angelou, Mari Evans,
Nikki Giovanni, Ishmael Reed, Sonia Sanchez, and lots more.
Workshops and panel discussions include: African Libation
Ritual, Creative Writing and a Poetry Slam competition.  For
more details, call the Gwendolyn Brooks Center at (773) 995-4440
or the Office of Special Events (773) 995-3898.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Emerging Writers Contest
Southern Women Writers Conference
A Gathering of Readers, Writers, and Scholars
Berry College *Mount Berry, Georgia * April 13-15, 2000

The fourth biennial Southern Women Writers Conference seeks to
recognize and promote new and emerging southern women writers.
The contest is open to women who have not yet published a
full-length volume and meet at least two of the following

  * currently live in the South;
  * are natives of the South; and/or
  * write about the South.

The top selection in each category will be awarded $500.  The
top three selections in each category will be presented in
readings during the conference.

Deadline:  December 1, 1999
Judge:  June Spence
Submission guidelines:  Submit manuscripts of 3500-4000 words; a
cover sheet with name, address, phone number, title of work
submitted; a brief vita or bio including publications; and a $5
entry fee.  Author's name should appear only on cover sheet and
vita or bio.

Deadline:  December 1, 1999
Judge:  Sandra Meek
Submission Guidelines:  Submit 2-4 poems, up to 10 pages total;
a cover sheet with name, address, phone number, title of poems
submitted; a brief vita or bio including publications; and a $5
entry fee.  Author's name should appear only on cover sheet and
vita or bio.

Address all correspondence to:
Katherine Powell
P.O. Box 490508
Mount Berry, GA 30149
Phone: (706) 236-1707

Thanks Katherine for your assistance!!!

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7)  POEMS OF THE WEEK - I don't remember love because love's passing
attraction turned one-time lovers into buddies.  Our featured poet this

         I DON'T REMEMBER LOVE by Nicole McLean
         BUDDIES by Nicole McLean
         ATTRACTION by Nicole McLean
         LOVE'S PASSING by Nicole McLean

Check out POEMS OF THE WEEK 55 at (, and read for
yourself why Nicole is a prolific writer.  Please feel free to send
your love and comments directly to Nicole at (

And, just in case you've been wondering, bams will be back with her
Middle of the Week Critiques!!!

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8)  Thanks Damaa and Saleem for keeping us up-to-date on things
happening on the poetry scene.  Below is moni's Poem of the Week.  
I greatly appreciate the time you take to comment on my poems, and 
I welcome your honest feedback.

Until next week, stay blessed!

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                   THE TRIPPIN' GAME

The bus was packed with Monday morning commuters not so
eager to start their weekly drama fest.

He got on the bus only moments before our regularly scheduled
8:05 a.m. departure.

He sat in the only empty seat beside me.

"Morning sistah.  Looks like it's gonna be a mighty fine day!"

Maybe he'll be quiet if I ignore him or don't respond.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt your thoughts of me."

I turned and looked out the window.

"Okay, okay.  That's how it's gonna be -- the silent treatment!"

"Look!  I hope you're not trippin' or trying to pick me up, because
I'm not in the mood today!"

"Honey, I'm just…"

"First, my name is not nor am I your Honey!"

"You could be my sweet honey…"

"Stop!" (as if in the name of love).

Now, I got his attention.

"What makes you think, I need you or your. . .honey!  
I have lived this way, good man, (&I'm giving you the 
benefit of the doubt), for almost five years, going on six."

I went an octave higher.  

"I've been without a lot of things and haven't missed it (that
being, you know what), or them (that being you or your fellow 

I've been without a touch that makes me ache;

without the noise that so-called love brings when
someone's "soul" has been emptied into my body

without the hope that tomorrow will steal him (or you) away
the moment he (or you) leaves my bosom in search of greener

without sitting by the phone waiting for an explanation 
as to why he (or you) didn't or "couldn't" call

without the lies commitment sometimes brings

without thinking it was something I said or didn't say
that made him (or you) go away

without feeling suffocated by someone else's insecurities

without the gaming, shaming and blaming

without someone to patch my roof or fix the fence

NO! I don't doubt that you're a good man or that your honey
is sweet.  I just don't have time nor the patience to find out."

All the other conversations on the bus fell silent, and the bus 
driver slightly leaned out of his seat so he could hear too.

"Well, holdup sistah.  Catch your breath for a second.
It sounds like you've been the one trippin' for almost five 
years, going on six.

And, I won't nor do I intend to apologize for my actions or those  
of my fellow brethren (since I can only account for a few anyway).

And, I know you're tired of sorry ass men with tired lies, 
counterfeit dreams, and hope faker than blue diamonds.

And, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt too and try to understand 
why you jumped down my throat when I said, "good morning."

But just for the record. . . 

I'm the kind of man who will make your body quake not ache

who will buy you a house and make it Y/OUR home

who will mend the fences of your broken heart

who will lay some pipe down that plumbers don't even use

who will call you when we're apart so you won't doubt my love.

I didn't say you needed me, I had hoped you sensed that I needed

So let me properly introduce myself, I'm Mr. Right, and I want 

A chorus of throats started clearing.  

He smiled, and I back at him. 

He pulled me close and planted a wet one on my lips 'till my 
body quaked.

Cheers of "You go boy," and "Gurl, I'll take him," filled the bus.

Without letting me go, he pressed the button behind me to indicate 
that the next stop was his.  

He whispered, "I think I won our bet!" as the sweet taste of his 
breath caressed my ear and left me weak.  

He did, and I had no problem paying this bet in full.  

"I love you, and I'll see you at home tonight to pick up my prize!" 

He winked back at me as he got off the bus.

I smiled, and everyone on the bus laughed.

"Certainly looks like it's gonna be a mighty fine day for somebody," 
the driver chuckled.

"And night too!" someone chimed in. 

I collected my thoughts and wondered what he had planned for us 

Monica Blache ©


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