Shirley Harshenin


Walking Between Worlds

Meet me at the edge
the road less traveled
blood orange paper towns
the secret school

It gets worse
when the past is present,
missing time
waiting for the return, daybreak
something to live by

What lies ahead?
medicine river maps
and dreams unshackled
the art of healing catching fire
the singing web:
be beautiful,
be you
It’s a magical world


Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?

for the mad—every last word
smoke signals breathing the page
from yesterday
to today
dying to be me undivided

first person plural, the weight
of story trined in twilight
against time, body & soul—the dispossessed
there’s no such place
as far away


Sources & Method:

“Walking Between Worlds” is a bookshelf poem consisting of lines taken verbatim from 21 book titles.

Title, “Walking Between Worlds” by Ann Andrews
Line 1, “Meet Me at the Edge,” The New Quarterly Issue 144
Line 2, “The Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck, M.D.
Line 3, “Blood Orange” by Heidi Garnett
Line 3, “Paper Towns” by John Green
Line 4, “The Secret School” by Whitley Strieber
Line 5, “It Gets Worse” by Shane Dawson
Line 6, “When the Past is Present,” The New Quarterly Issue 147
Line 7, “Missing Time” by Budd Hopkins
Line 8, “Waiting for the Return,” The New Quarterly Issue 142
Line 8, “Daybreak” by Mary Summer Rain
Line 9, “Something to Live By” by Dorothea S Kopplin
Line 10, “What Lies Ahead,” The New Quarterly Issue 145
Line 11, “Medicine River” by Thomas King
Line 11 & 12, “Maps and Dreams” by Hugh Brody
Line 12, “Unshackled” by Kathleen Sullivan
Line 13, “The Art of Healing” by Dr. Bernie S. Siegel
Line 13, “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins
Line 14, “The Singing Web” by Mary Summer Rain
Line 15 & 16, “Be Beautiful, Be You” by Lizzie Velasquez
Line 17, “It’s a Magical World” by Bill Watterson

“Why am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am” is a bookshelf poem consisting of lines taken verbatim from 15 book titles.

Title, “Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?” by John Powell
Line 1 & 2, “Secret for the Mad” by Dodie Clark
Line 2, “Every Last Word” by Tamara Ireland Stone
Line 3, “Smoke Signals” by Ashley Dun
Line 3, “Breathing the Page” by Betsy Warland
Line 4 & 5, “From Yesterday to Today” by Blfp
Line 6, “Dying to Be Me” by Anita Moorjani
Line 6, “UnDivided” by Neal Shusterman
Line 7, “First Person Plural” by Cameron West
Line 7 & 8, “The Weight of Story” The New Quarterly Issue 149
Line 8, “Trined in Twilight” by Mary Summer Rain
Line 9 & 10, “Race Against Time” by Stephen Lewis
Line 10, “Body & Soul” edited by Susan Scott
Line 10, “The Dispossessed” by Geoffrey York
Line 11 & 12, “There’s No Such Place as Far Away” by Richard Bach


Shirley Harshenin writes from her home in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. She believes in angels, caffeine, and the human spirit’s extraordinary resilience. Her work has been published in Room Magazine, Contrary Magazine, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Entropy: Woven, Unlost Journal, Lit Mag Love Anthology 1: Blood & Water, NAILED, The Nasiona, and is forthcoming in Crack the Spine.

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