Shirley Obitz


Venus Wishes

Venus Wishes is a fictional story of a drag performer in the Harlem Ball scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Inspired by the life of the real Venus Xtravaganza, featured in Jennie Livingston’s 1990 documentary, Paris is Burning. Harmon, a struggling playwright who recently experienced a long-term relationship breakup, turns to Venus to understand his sexuality. Venus finds herself in an unbearable, secretive love for Harmon. Harmon fails to understand the essence of the relationship until it is taken from him.


Refusing to Sleep

Refusing to sleep I stand by the window and see the moon of Babylon. I imagine it is me. I see myself showered in the light, I assume I came from this place, My cat follows me. We float downstream with the rise of the curtains. The Earth is let into our room. A few nights ago, we walked down the spiraling town to Bagdad through mosaics and gardens, we do that when we’re sleepless. We pass by our generations. We feel our way through sands and waters, the kisses and caresses of our many lives. We trace the enormous present with our eyes. I put on my red western boots and walked with angels in Mexico, and by Esarhaddon’s palace with my birthmarks and love letters. In the center of the room, I turn. Awake. I see the mystery of the eternal nocturnal illuminating. Breathing. Rhythmic. Steps. Across the markers of eternal diamonds inside an oval window. I imagine it is me. I assume I came from this place. Once again, I sleep.


Pandora’s Box

True crime, a murder that happened in 1946 in Portland, Oregon

At 8:45 p.m. the Hit Parade ended on KOIN. It was now or never. She left the radio on and could hear Tony Martin come on as she descended the stairs. A few minutes later the modest house in Southeast Portland was badly damaged in a blast that was felt several blocks away. Fern Bowden died instantly, her body so badly mangled that identification was difficult.”

JD Chandler


Shirley Obitz is a writer currently living in New Mexico. Her work has appeared in many online publications.

I write about the misunderstood, the misfits of life, the outcasts, and sometimes those alienated characters who are unable to escape the forces of their circumstances. My writing reflects my real life and my personal experiences. The Beats heavily inspire me; Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs. The music & poetry of Lou Reed, Patti Smith, and Jim Carroll has also greatly impacted my creativity. In addition, I greatly admire the works of James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Barbara Henning, Yanara Friedland, Truman Capote, and Tennessee Williams.

My childhood consisted of a lot of travel, and I grew up all over the country. No, I was not an Army brat—my mother had wanderlust. I was orphaned at the age of fourteen and pushed out into the world to fend for myself. I began learning the guitar and worked as a singer-songwriter in the lost Los Angeles folk scene of the 1970s and 1980s. For many years I worked in collaboration with a lyricist, and poet TJ Nichols, until finally breaking off on my own with my unique quasi-jazz-oriented style. After 12 years of writing songs and composing music, I left Los Angles to devote myself to spiritual practices. Always having a passion for eastern philosophy, I began delving into yoga and meditation, picking up where I left off before playing music began. I studied the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Sivananda, Aurobindo, and Rammurti S. Mishra, MD, as well as the teachings of Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh and many others.

From an early age, I understood that everything on earth is deeply interconnected through Spirit. I have always had a strong connection to the natural world. At the age of twelve, subtle healing energy from my grandmother was transferred to me from her hands to mine as she left her physical body. Since then, I have been able to feel others’ energy and physical pain.

While living in Sonoma County in the 1990s, I was called to study Shamanism and Native American Wheel Work with David Wolf. Soon after, I became involved with energy healing and attained Master Level Reiki certification through the Sonoma County Center for Reiki.

Conscious of out-of-body, mystical experience, I studied ritual in Colorado with an African ritualist and moved into the study of authentic dance under the direction of Gabrielle Roth in Mill Valley, California. I became certified in bodywork and Polarity at the Institute for Conscious Bodywork in San Rafael, California. Other areas of study include Peter Mandel’s Color Puncture, Shiatzu, T’ai Chi, under T’ai Chi Master Kevin Powers, and Jeffery Wolf Green’s School of Evolutionary Astrology.

​Having lived and witnessed many stories along my journey, keeping journals, and writing poetry, I have finally decided to commit myself exclusively to my writing.

I currently reside in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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