To: Poets Niche
SPECIAL 50th Issue - moni's Top 10 E-ZINE 
(The Poets Niche Official Somewhat Weekly Newsletter) 
Wednesday, November 3, 1999 


              Things never were 'the way they used to be.' 
       Things never will be 'the way it’s going to be someday.' 
     Things are always just the way they are for the time being. 
               And the time being is always in motion. 

                –Alexander Evangeli Xenopouloudakis 
         (a fictional character in a book by Robert Fulghum) 


This week's issue: 

- moni's TOP 10 E-ZINE TURNS 50!! 
- moni's POEM OF THE WEEK 


1)  BIRTHDAY WISHES - If you were born between October 23 and November 23, you are definitely a SCORPIO.  Scorpios are strong-willed, motivated and loyal individuals.  To ALL OUR FELLOW MEMBERS CELEBRATING A BIRTHDAY this month, WE WISH YOU THE HAPPIEST OF BIRTHDAYS and a LIFETIME OF GOOD HEALTH,  LOVE and DREAMS FULFILLED!!! 



DATE: November 20, 1999 
TIME:  5:30 p.m. 
WHERE:  Visual Jazz Art Gallery, 2337 St. Claude Avenue, New Orleans, LA [Sidebar - World renowned artist and one of the sponsors of our Atlanta Whirl Tour and Book Signing, Richard Thomas (, has graciously offered me the  use of his gallery to host a NAWLINS STYLE, PRE-BAYOU CLASSIC, WHIRL TOUR  BASH].  You won't want to miss a moment of what I have in store for you! 

a) Performances by Poets Niche members and Special Guest Poet(s); 
b) A little bit of moni's silliness; 
c) Open Mike; and 
d) Special Guest performance by a Poets Niche SONGSTRESS. 

If you want to join in on the fun, please email me at ( as soon as possible!!!  I hope 2 SEE U THERE! 


3)  moni's TOP 10 TURNS 50!!! - The first issue of moni's Top 10 was emailed to approximately 40 members on October 21, 1998.  [See "Come Into Our Whirl," pg. 60].  Back then, THE 10 was just one page!  Now, THE 10 is emailed to approximately 250 subscribers.  I decided to go with the E-Zine format because it allowed me to expand the look of THE 10.  This mini-magazine is filled with: 

a)  moni's personal touch of keeping you informed of what's going on behind the scenes and in the lives of your fellow members; 
b)  Good news, as well as prayer requests; 
c)  Poetic short stories and really, really, short stories; 
d)  Motivational insights and/or commentaries; 
e)  Information on contests, book reviews and workshops; and 
f)  It allows you to read it over and over again at your leisure! 

WHY I KEEP DOING IT – Perhaps these emails will explain why: 

FROM RANDY - Thanks for the E-ZINE it made for great and interesting 
reading.  I hope to get more of the same in the future.  Until we speak 
again, God bless and Peace to U. 

FROM JOYCE - I wanted to let you know that just within the short time I have been with the group, I have been invited to do a guest reading at Kijiji's Coffee House in Nashville, TN.  A local cable television station at Tennessee State University will tape this event.  I'm working out the details with Navita Gunter (another Poets Niche member).  WOW!!!  I'm glad I joined this group. 

If there is anything else you'd like to see in THE 10, please let me know.  In the meantime, I won't fix what ain't broke, and I hope you will continue to share your comments and/or suggestions with me.  THANKS FOR BEING SO KIND! 


4) SISTERHOOD FELLOWSHIP - On Saturday, October 23rd, I attended St. Peter Claver's Women's Day Celebration, which was hosted by poet, Mona Duffel.  [See Issue #48 of THE 10 regarding poetry submissions to Mona Duffel at Data News Weekly].  The celebration started with a special musical welcome greeting by Edith Stevens.  [Trust me, we had no idea what she had in store for us].  From a group of approximately 40 spirited women, Edith asked for seven volunteers to play a variety of makeshift instruments to form an unrehearsed Calypso band.  Once the band was in place, the rest of "US" became the Spur-of-the-Moment Voices of Power Choir.  The twist came when Edith persuaded us to sing 
"I Love You Jesus Deep Down in My Heart" with a hip swaying, island beat.  The last ingredient to this makeshift, impromptu I Love You Jesus group, was a procession around the room.  [It turned out to be a great aerobic workout]. 

The essence of womanhood was captured as six interpretative dancers 
performed to the original works of Mona Duffel.  There was not a dry 
eye in the place after she read her poems "A Letter to My Daughter" and 
"Earth Angel".  We were also treated to a reading by Marilynn Ross-Butler, of her poem "Grace".  The evening was capped off by the performance of special guest poet, LaBertha McCormick.  More tears were shed only because we all laughed until we cried after LeBertha read her poems, "Nappy Headed", "Ugly Children" (she has 13 children), and "Menopause - the men are the cause for the pause." 

Boy. . .did I have fun, singing, clapping, swaying, laughing and rejoicing with my sisters in fellowship!!!  THANKS MONA, and I can't wait to do it again next year!!! 



                    NOT JUST ANYBODY: 
              A eulogy for my tormented soul 
          by B. Afena Cobham a/k/a Mocha © 1999 

Five hours prior to dawn's rising our shadows danced with the silhouettes of a candle's flame.  The sounds of lust filled urges traveled across the room, like death's sojourn to its final resting place. 

Hands, then fingers, mouths with perverted tongues became curious with body parts that are illegal to witness in public forum.  The stage had been set for two souls to come together to create one, if only for one night. 

Two hours pass the great sidereal movement, "urge" reached climactic 
proportions from the careful and tender kiss of his pseudo manhood. 

The moment had finally arrived when "urge" covered my ebony mass as does midnight over the Earth; and attempted to plant a generation of seeds into my tormented soul. 

Time froze leaving one chance to turn back lust's deceitful adventure. 
Being an opportunistic "urge" interrupted perhaps not realizing that his verbal sword would pierce my heart -- "I don't sleep with just anybody". 

Shame crept through the bedroom window riding on the wind of reality.  Again a fool had fallen for the hope of love and my soul became "just anybody"? 

Confused, enraged, embarrassed, cheapened, afraid, scorned and hurt.  The familiar presence of torment had blocked the threshold of new beginnings; and under the canvas of euphoric chaos my soul and torment had reacquainted. 

Unwillingly I went from whole to incomplete with the suggestion that I was "just anybody" and not "somebody" deserving the same amount of respect "urge" would want his mother, sister and future daughter to receive from other men. 

Indeed!  I was not just anybody, but somebody's daughter, sister and future mother.  A born nurturer and best friend to those who personified unconditional loyalty. 

For centuries White men took immoral strolls down slave-row into the abyss of stolen legacies, and the innocence of my ancestral sisters was lost. 

As I stared my tormented soul in the eyes, I had come to accept that I was sleeping with the new enemy, a Black man whose urges prevented him from taking his birthright role as conqueror of evil entities and caretaker of a Black woman's soul. 

I was not just anybody!!  I was the descendant of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, Isis, Cleopatra, Sojourner Truth and many other great Somebody's before me. 

There was not enough room for a warrior's spirit and a tormented soul to exist within me.  So faith waged war against torment, the fight was to the death. 

In the midst of the battle a renewed consciousness emerged. It was my 
responsibility to never allow "just anybody" in my life, my bedroom or my soul.  Urge's mastery of mind games would no longer stray my eye from the prize or self-esteem from greatness. 

The Creator through the power of prayer had slain torment and saved my soul. As the Sun took her inheritable place within the clouds another day in the life of "Somebody" began. 

Mocha, THANKS for reminding us that we are all SOMEBODY!!!  Please feel free to send your love and comments directly to Mocha at ( 


6)  SPECIAL INTERVIEW - I first introduced you to Monique in Issue #40 of THE 10.  Monique was kind enough to allow me to interview her for 
this Special 50th Issue.  I am one of Monique's BIGGEST FANS. 
Below is my "FAN"ATIC interview of Award-Winning Author MONIQUE 

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + 

moni - What were you like as a little girl growing up? 

Monique - I was a curious little girl with a giving spirit.  My parents said I would empty my purse out at the altar.  And, that "why" was my favorite word. 

moni - What sparked your imagination, and when did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer? 

Monique - I don't know what really sparked my imagination.  I attribute it to a gift from God from birth.  I didn't realize I wanted to be a writer until my early thirties. 

moni - Did you ever write poetry; and, if so, why the change to the 
romance/mystery genre? 

Monique - Yes, I wrote poetry as a young adult - young teenager.  I think after sharing my poems with people who didn't seem to get it, I realized that I would be the quiet poet - where my poetry would be just for me.  In terms of writing romance, I never read romance novels as a child - too fluffy I thought.  Plus, I could never relate to the characters on the cover.  I was lead into the romance genre because that's where I was supposed to be to learn my craft.  God has His plan. 

moni - Did your family and friends think you were crazy when you told them that you wanted to be a writer, and were they supportive in beginning? 

Monique - I never really thought that I would be a "writer" per se.  It just evolved.  My gift finally came to fruition and yes, my family and friends were very supportive. 

moni - Do you believe it's a natural progression for poets to crossover to different elements of expressions, be it writing suspense novels, 
screenplays and/or lyrics? 

Monique - I'm not sure really.  Or at least I can't say from experience.  The thing with writing or anything in life lending toward being successful at it, is that you have to be passionate about it!  If writing is truly a gift God has bestowed upon you, then you will do it whenever you can, no matter the sacrifice or reward or lack there of.  With new novelists popping up every month, I always stress to "would be writers" be sure it's your gift and you have true passion for it.  Don't dabble in writing just because it looks like the latest and trendy thing to do. 

moni - Your novels "No Ordinary Love"/94; "Hearts Afire"/95; "The Grass 
Ain't Greener"/96; "Soul Deep"/97, are all powerful novels where the 
characters just jump right off the pages.  What techniques do you use when creating a character and developing what should happen to them.  For example,  like Kaj Richards and Dana Alexander in "Ties That Bind Way Down Deep"?  Are these characters a mosaic of people you know, or are they truly fictitious characters? 

Monique - Before I start on a novel, I always spend a week or two or three doing character sketches. I need to know about the characters before I start writing.  I need to give them a life - a background: when/where they born?  what do they look like?  what's their favorite food?  song? etc.  It makes it easier to keep the flow going.  For instance, why bog the mind down with wondering if I said Kaj was 6'2 or 6'4 midway through the book?  With a character sketch for Kaj, I would simple glance at it and make sure that everything is still the same as I said it was say on previous pages. 

My characters are not necessarily representative of people I know 
personally.  My imagination just molds and shapes the characters.  Like with Kaj and Dana (and most of my other characters), I usually play the "what if" question in my head and then go from there.  What if a young, black male grew up in the ghetto as the eldest child and raised by his mother, with no daddy, and had an athletic gift.  What if he despised his life with his mother?  What if he could be drafted early to play pro-football would he feel obligated to help his family.  What if, what if, what if? 

moni - Do you believe that because we all wonder about our own fate, that it's important to explore spirituality as an element in your books. 

Monique - I believe that there are always one or two characters that must wrestle with their spirituality.  Many of us do and often times we can't get life "on track" until we come to grips with defining and developing our spirituality. 

moni - You can't write romance novels without a little romance!  HAHA!!!  Did you find it difficult to tap into different sources of your own sexuality to write the more steamy scenes? 

Monique - LOL.  Actually, my books get a D- for having "steamy scenes." 
Over the course of my writing for Arabesque, I attempted to add more sexual flavor to the story, but my spirit just would not allow me to go overboard, (especially as my own spirituality was being awakened even more).  A kiss here and there, a flirtatious gesture, a description of a particular body part here and there, and then the rest I like to leave up to the readers to let their imaginations run wild (or not). 

moni - How do you decide whether to use or not to use profanity in your 

Monique - That's always a tough one.  My parents are ministers so I'm always conscious of the fact that my mom may read my book.  She always tells me to write the story God gives me, and if He wants me to stop doing or writing a particular way, it will happen in His time and His way.  For the most part, I probably wouldn't write another TIES THAT BIND WAY DOWN DEEP the way I wrote it three years ago because I've grown spiritually.  I do think I over did it with profanity in TIES but I won't shy away from it if it is used in the context of "a moment" in the story. 

moni - When you saw your first book in bookstores, what was your initial reaction (besides screaming, then fainting)? 

Monique - I was all cheeks and teeth.  Smiling and blushing, and smiling and blushing.  I was like THANK YOU LORD.  I was turning my books face out on the store shelves, as well as all the other Arabesque authors. 

moni - When working on a novel, how often do you sit down to write, and how do you deal with everyday distractions (e.g., phone calls from friends and/or family obligations). 

Monique - When working on a novel, I simple set aside 1 or 2 hours a day (or at least 3-4 days a week) to write (not edit and re-write, but write).  I don't answer the phone when it's my "writing time."  As far as family obligations, when I'm writing for those 1 or 2 hours, there are no family priorities. Everybody is well fed and off to handling their own business.  I'm very firm about that with my stepchildren, who are old enough to understand.  My husband is usually busy with his business several nights a week so it works out well. 

moni - It's been said that writers write, and wannabe writers procrastinate. How do you avoid procrastinating, as well as deal with writer's block? 

Monique - Honestly, there's no such thing as writer's block when you know you have a story.  The only way to know you have a story is to summarize your story from beginning to end (some people call it outlining).  It could be 2-3 pages or more - no particular grammatical structure but at least if you have a blueprint and your character sketches, then all you have to do is write. NEVER, NEVER edit while you write - it's the one thing that will make you procrastinate.  If a person hasn't "finished" that novel they've been wanting to write or started writing, then either the story is too stale or complex and if it can't hold your attention to write it, it's a good chance it won't hold the attention of the folks who buy it and read it.  Rework the 

moni - Do you impose upon yourself certain deadlines to have a certain 
number of pages or chapters completed? 

Monique - Yes. I usually determine that I want to do X amount of pages for the week.  If I'm only able to get my writing groove on during the weekend, then it's 13-30 pages.  If I'm plucking away day-by-day, it's 10-25 pages for the week. 

moni - How did you find an editor, agent, and publisher?  Was it like 
looking for a needle in a haystack? 

Monique - Yes it was.  Again, I feel I was blessed and the timing was 
certainly God's timing when I found Monica Harris, then editor for Arabesque Books with Kensington Publishing.  Once she made the offer, I was able to secure an agent to work the deal.  Naturally, what wise agent would turn down representation when there is money on the table and they didn't have to work for it? 

moni - Do you always have an idea in the back of your mind for the next 

Monique - Yes, though I've been working on HAVE MERCY for over a year.  It's the promoting of my publishing company, launching JUST4GIRLFRIENDS.COM, going to book signings, shipping books, and collecting payments that has kept me away from finishing that story.  Actually, if I just sit down and start cranking, I would have a rough draft by Christmas. (200 pages) 

moni - How did you feel when you quit your "day job" and devoted your 
efforts on writing exclusively?  What advice would you give aspiring 
writers/poets about keeping their "day jobs"? 

Monique - Moni, girl I still have a day job.  So I would advise aspiring writers to definitely keep their day jobs until they make 50% more than what they are making at their day jobs by writing. 

moni - What other types of books do you read, and what writers inspired you to follow your dream of one day becoming a full-time writer? 

Monique - When I have time I read a lot of fiction.  Usually, I won't read when I'm writing because I don't want to pick up the tone/voice of the author while I'm writing.  Terry McMillian's "Disappearing Acts" inspired me to  become a writer.  I read Bebe Moore Campbell, Anne Tyler, Amy Tan, Eric Van Lustbader, Walter Mosley, just to name a few. 

moni - I remember after reading your second book, "Hearts Afire," there was an address in the back of the book for fans to write to you and share their thoughts about the characters and the storyline.  Quite naturally, I wrote you because I wanted you to know how much I thoroughly enjoyed "Hearts Afire" and "No Ordinary Love".  I guess my question is, did you receive a lot of feedback, and what made you write me back? 

Monique – Yes girl, I sure did!  Most of it was good and heartwarming, and there were a few "What the %$#@! kind of mess is this." You know how it is. 

moni - Let's play the word association game.  Tell me the first thing that pops into you mind when I say the following words: 

moni:  Internet 

moni:  Poets 
Monique:  "Deep thinking people". 

moni:  Writers 
Monique:  "Gifted and still broke". 

moni:  Characters 
Monique:  The heart of all stories of life. 

moni:  Spirituality 
Monique:  Doomed in life without it -- Truth, light, free. 

moni:  Craft 
Monique:  Hone it, breath it, eat it, live it. 

moni:  Love 
Monique:  Stressless life - a simple life so we can love freely without 
irritation or busy schedules. 

moni:  Books 
Monique:  Read no matter what kind of books. 

moni:  Agents 
Monique:  Better get one that respects your writing or don't have one at all! 

moni:  Marketing 
Monique:  More important sometimes than writing the actual book. 

moni:  Audience 
Monique:  Will win some and lose some there's a niche for us all. 

moni:  Money 
Monique:  Will come as long as you have the faith and willingness to endure. There are no shortcuts. 

moni:  Dreams 
Monique:  Ah, my favorite.  You've got to dream about a thing in order for it to become a reality.  Dream, daydream, night dream, dream it. 


moni -  Are there any trade secrets you'd like to share with us?  HAHA!!! 

Monique - Yes.  Pay your tithes on all the proceeds you ever get.  If you aren't sowing seeds, no way you going have a harvest to reap - you'll end up pilfering somebody else's harvest.  (You know the folks with their hands always out). 

moni - Tell us about your new website (JUST4GIRLFRIENDS.COM).  How did you know that there would be a niche for this particular market? 

Monique - It's exciting, and a work in progress.  I figure if the ___ for Dummies books were a hit, then certainly JUST 4 GIRLFRIENDS: A SIMPLE GUIDE TO___ would definitely be a niche winner for African-American women and have some crossover appeal too. 

moni - After we lost touch for a couple of years, I knew our paths would cross again.  Some would call it a coincidence (but I call it divine intervention), that we were reunited, via the internet.  I must admit, when I emailed you, I was afraid that you would have to scratch your head and think, "moni" WHO?  What did you think when you received my email bringing you up-to-date on what was happening with me, that I was still writing poetry, as well as hosting a poetry group? 

Monique - I was like, GO GIRL!  I admired your moxie and that you just dove in and took hold of your dream without having to go the conventional way.  You know, finding a publisher who would validate your work by offering you a contract or by crushing your spirit by not offering you a contract.  I felt proud and happy that you hadn't wasted all that time talking about what you still wanted to do but was actually doing it! 

moni - First, what's your impression of the Poets Niche?  And second, would you recommend our group to anyone looking for a place to share their poetry? 

Monique - First of all, I LOVE IT!  It spoils me in that I don't have to rummage through bookstores to find a good book of poetry.  I can just wait for your e-mail. And second, I have already recommended a few poets to your group. 

moni - Every little girl wanted to be Cinderella.  Is that why you initially wrote romance novels?  And, did the Prince ever find you and place the glass slipper on your foot? 

Monique - Sorry to disappoint you, but I never read romance stories.  I was a semi-tomboy. LOL.  But I still got the Prince! 

moni - Any final thoughts?  What do you think your future holds?  More 
novels, (perhaps one co-authored by "moni b and moni gs"), or writing 
screenplays for your novels (my sister and I have already done the casting for "No Ordinary Love"). 

Monique - I think it will be a little of all of the above.  Currently, I'm working as an Executive Producer with a video and film production company so I can learn the ropes of that industry.  I like writing scripts for TV commercials and I've done some scriptwriting for radio too. 

I will probably complete HAVE MERCY before the end of the year to be 
released next November.  I will definitely be looking to educate more people on E-books and looking to add more books (more writers) to the JUST 4 GIRLFRIENDS series.  And, I will be looking forward to that call from BET regarding converting one of my Arabesque novels into a BET Original Movie. 

I don't think I'll be publishing other authors under the Writing Minds 
Company just yet because I have so many stories I need to tell.  I have a screenplay I will finish by next year and a gospel play too.  I've got a lot on my "dream" plate.  I just thank God for my gift to write and ask Him to continue to guide my thoughts and story ideas in the way in which He would want me to write. 

THANKS A BUNCH TWIN!!!  To find out how you can order a copy of Monique's books, please feel free to email her at (  Oh yeah, don't forget to mention that moni sent you. 


7) MORE GOOD NEWS - Joyce Brown has just launched her new poetry webpage. Check it out at ( and read for yourself her rhythmtic, no nonsense, vibin' and jivin' poems. Don't forget to sign her guestbook. WAY TO GO JOYCE, and it was really good talking with you this week!!! 

* * * * * * * 
Damaa Bell is the New York base Webmistress of Blackberry Jam. No sneak peeks from me because I don't want to spoil the fun you will have clicking through a host of MUST READ information! You can find Damaa's webpage at ( DAMAA, THIS IS JUST WAY TOO COOL! 

* * * * * * * 

I received this information straight from the horse's mouth -- HER MAMA.  Talk about MUSIC FOR THE SOUL!!! "ANIBADE," featuring LEDISI, is the newest R&B CD to hit the market in a decade and promises to be the most awesome release in the new millennium.  Bordering on a jazz slant with a funky R&B rhythm, LEDISI is truly ready to pluck the apple of the music world from the tree.  You hear her daily on the radio being featured by The Braxton Brothers on their new CD, "CAN WE TRY AGAIN". 

Now you can hear LEDISI in her element and enjoy the Braxton Brothers at the same time because they also belong to her band.  On October 26, 1999, a CD release party was held at Yoshi in Oakland, California, in honor of LEDISI's CD, "SOULSINGER".  Please visit her website at ( and see her and her band with a schedule of her appearances. 

A WORD from Ms. LEDISI herself about her RELEASE PARTY - "Mom, people 
were scalping and fighting to get tickets!  Everyone went crazy.  Yoshi freaked out because the place was packed!  The Chronicle loves it!  I signed and sold so many CD's.  People are still talking about how great the show was.  I'm still receiving rave reviews about the Show and the CD.  It was unbelievable.  You would have been proud!" 

So what makes this wonderful news about LEDISI so special?  You can read it for yourself in her dedication to her mother - "Thank you God for my mother who poured all her joy, pain, and dreams into my sisters and I.  This is your dream as much as it is mine.  I dedicate this CD to you because without you fighting to give me this life, I would not be here!" 

Did I answer the question?  NO!  Okay, okay, so what makes LEDISI so 
special.  [Final interruption from our sponsors -- Those of you who are 
curious, I did ask the obvious question.  What does LEDISI mean?  LEDISI is a Yoruba name which means MY MOTHER IS GREAT!!!]  Okay, this is really the final blurb I managed to get from a personal email (permission granted to share) - "Mom! God I wish you were there to see me fly.  I soared with the wings you gave me, the wings your mother gave you and the wings grandmother gave her.  There were people everywhere ready to feel my spirit, ready to experience what God gave me, what they have been starving for.  They finally came to me yearning, ready, open and willing to let me in.  He, through me, made them cry, laugh, sing, dance and their ears were open again.  Just like 
the days when you sang mom.  Remember when you could feel the drums and you stopped everything you were doing just so you could feel the rhythm moving your body.  I know you wish you were there. But you were mom.  I did your dance and sang your song and told them how we triumphed through everything. They know you already mom.  They know how you feel.  I spoke to you through the album and gave you all the love, joy and pain that we have ever felt.  Mom, you would've been proud because God let you come through me.  I gave them you.  I gave them me." 

ANSWER:  Poets Niche member, NYRA PIERCE, is the GREAT MOTHER, LEDISI speaks of!!!  [Y'all know Nyra has been wearing a Kool-Aid smile all  week because she's trying to figure out what else to wear to the Grammy's since someone bought the Marilyn Monroe dress at Sotheby's Auction.  Oh yea, she also mentioned something about QUITTING HER DAY JOB!!!  If you have any questions about getting your own copy of LEDISI’s CD, "SOULSINGER," or you just want to send your love and support, please feel free to email Nyra at (  Hey LEDISI, got any advice on how to get that SMILE OFF YOUR MOM'S FACE?  THANKS for letting me have a peek-a-boo listen.  EVERY TRACK IS SLAMMING BABEGURL!!! 


we held our first chat room discussion on Saturday, October 23rd at 8:00 p.m.  The topic -- What is Poetry and Who is a Poet?  Below is an excerpt from our chat room discussion [at least the part we want you to read. HAHA!!!] 

[Cinda]  has joined the Chat room 
[Shaun]  hello 
[Cinda]  hey. . .think any others will join us? 
[Shaun]  I don't  know. . .moni had better be here! 
[Guest]  moni here! 
[Shaun]  bout time moni. get your name in. geeeee. you're not a  guest. 
[Cinda]  Hello Moni. 
[Guest]  hey Cinda!  looks like i have not to disconnect and reconnect. 
[moni]   okay i'm back.  i just got in from a poetry reading.  sorry i'm late. 
[Shaun]  did you feel your ears burning monilove. 
[moni]   yes and no, but i was driving like a bat out of hell 
[Shaun]  well looks like no one else is coming... 
[Cinda]  How long have you been writing poetry, moni? 
[moni]   since I was 12. 
[Cinda]  wow. . .I wish I had started writing early. 
[Shaun]  so where's bams. . . 
[moni]   bams is at work, i just read her email. 
[moni]   Cinda, it's no big deal...i really didn't start getting into poetree until 5 years ago. 
[Shaun]  okay then, let me ask you this, Cinda tell us what is your  definition of a poet? 
[Cinda]  I don't really have one, except a feeling that poetry is a way of expressing what is in the soul. 
[moni]  the interpreter of words is what a poet is to me. 

Stay tune to Part 2, of our Chat Room discussion… 


9)  POEMS OF THE WEEK - I thought I almost saw a smoke screen of faces, 
people and places as I glanced to the heavens for my lifeline.  I put my left hand on the pocket in my heart and those memories were still there.  Our featured poets for this week's Poems of the Week are: 

            LIFELINE by Rev. Demeterius Smith a/k/a Flite 
            ALMOST by Bree 
            smoke screen by Taheba Byrd a/k/a Sunshine 
            FACES, PEOPLE AND PLACES by Roy Solomon 
            POCKET IN MY HEART by Leilani Louden 
            RELEASE ME by Sue Christiansen 

Check out POEMS OF THE WEEK 56 at (, and please feel free to send your love and comments directly to these featured poets.  THANKS A BUNCH POETS!!! 


10)  A FEW STATS - From June 1998 through October 1999, I have received 
approximately 1,400 poems!!!  Every poem submitted is entered into a database.  Why a database?  For easy access to retrieve poems being considered for Poems of the Week, as well as future anthologies.  The database became an important backup tool when a few members lost all their poems when their computers crashed.  I was able to retrieve all the poems they submitted, (which meant they didn't have to retype their poems).  I then transferred the poems to a disk, and mailed both a hard copy and a disk to these grateful members.  They were glad to find out that such a database existed [translation - poems not submitted to some BLACK HOLE]; and that I had gone the extra mile to create it. 

My apologizes for not responding to all your emails (especially Derrick, Chris F., Chris K, Ella and Renee) as timely as I would like to.  As you can see, I've been berry, berry busy reading and entering thousands of poems into the database; putting together our first anthology "Come Into Our Whirl", which was published in August 1999; hosting our first Offline Party in Atlanta; personally talking to many of you; responding to hundreds of emails; reading books from members and financially supporting their efforts; attending poetry readings; and surfing the internet in search of useful information to share with you.  WHEW!!! 

Finally, there is something uniquely common about this Special 50th Issue of THE 10.  The FIRST PERSON to email me with the CORRECT answer, 
will receive a free autographed copy of NEXT YEAR'S ANTHOLOGY! 

Below is moni's Poem of the Week.  Your comments are greatly appreciated and truly welcomed.  Until next time, keep the peace! 

much love 


                       uneasy comfort 

I entered the house unaware that my past was there to greet me. 
The voice of a friend who I only thought of when the leaves longed 
for the sun, baptized my ears. 

A sense of uneasy comfort welcomed me into a room of silent stares 
and heads hung low. 

I wondered who opened the door and let him in. 

Gravity enticed me to hang around to find out the reason for his visit. 

And there he sat amongst my family casually reminiscing about "our" past; retracing "our" history of promises made a lifetime ago when young lovers are clueless of how time forgets to wait; 

Or how the past shows up on cue to reclaim its destiny. 

And there he sat spilling out old stories buried in between the what ifs and maybes dormant for some thirty-plus years. 

So I just stood there watching him lick his lips while he paused long 
enough to remember why our future was doomed before it had a chance 
to hold passion close. 

Long enough to hold me in suspended thoughts of youthful flickers of 

The lips that once seduced me to taste lust for the very first time. 

Those juicy lips that lured me to a secret hideaway where lovers do 
what lovers do when stealing moments away from the ones they vowed 
never to betray. 

I never understood why he was there entertaining my family and telling 
them about a fairytale that lived longer than its intended shelf life. 

A quick glance his way spoke those words left unspoken; and what he 
saw in my eyes was how old wounds thought long-healed still feel 
tender to the touch. 

He knew it was time to stop flipping through the chapters of "our" 
history and talking in tongues of what was supposed to be but somehow 
never was. 

When we hugged, we knew why our paths detoured and accepted the 
choices we made. 

And comfort came easy when I closed the door to the past. 

                  Monica D. Blache (c) 1999


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