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Shel Silverstein….my tributes.

Photos of Barbie Angell by Rodney Smith - Tempus Fugit Design © 2013

i didn’t know when Shel passed away.  it seems everyone who knew me was so concerned about what my reaction would be, that no one wanted to bear that responsibility.  i didn’t have cable television in may of 1999 & i rarely read the newspaper, so i spent about two weeks in blissful oblivion.


i was watching a movie with my best friend & my new boyfriend when my mom called me.   she told me she had saved an article which had run in the Chicago Tribune about Shel.  excitedly i asked her if he had a new book coming out or if he’d be making an appearance….my one great wish had always been to meet my literary idol.  when she told me that he had passed away i was so obviously devastated that my new boyfriend thought i must have been crying over the demise of my father.  “No,” my best friend told him “she’s just found out that Shel Silverstein died.”

Tom Robbins & the pack of camel cigarettes he signed for me.

i’ve met many incredibly skilled musicians, actors & writers throughout the years, and i’m certain that i will meet dozens more in my lifetime.  i’ve shaken hands with Johnny Cash & had my photo taken with Tom Robbins.  i’ve made countless people, both celebrities and still unknown talents, laugh at my witty retorts both online & in real-life.  my one, great regret is that i never had the chance to sit down for five minutes with Shel….i know it would’ve been the best five minutes of my life.

and so….i offer you a little bit of my poetry for Shel Silverstein.  my elegy to him and my ode.  there is also a video done by G. Social Media from a show i had at Hop Ice Cream Cafe in west asheville, nc.

….thanks for playing. : )  barbie.

Shel's drawings in my hallway....from a Shel Silverstein poetry show i did many years ago.

My Hero

The sidewalk’s slowly cracking now.
The attic light has dimmed.
The giving tree gave
all the poems she saved.
The bearded man’s moaning a hymn.

The sun is going down again,
and the rain is coming in.
And we search the ground
for the perfect sound
and we wonder where we’ve been.

What common thought has captured us?
Who pulls the fraying thread?
And what can we say
of ourselves today,
when our bodies are finally dead?

And all of our eyelids are leaking.
And our ears softly beg for a rhyme.
‘Cause all that we need
is a moment to grieve,
in an endless allotment of time.

Where is our singing savior now?
Who took him away from our world?
His poems now rest
in his last precious breath,
in tears of the boys and the girls.

I’ve lived inside his shadow now,
for this lifetime that I’ve had.
And his words and art,
from my very start,
have distinguished the good from the bad.

I pray for a new man to follow,
to lead me the way of my dreams.
A genius of meter.
A brilliant new leader.
As my hopes start to break at the seams.

‘Cause Shel paved the sidewalk for writers,
and the gifts that he gave are unchanged.
And I can’t let it go,
since nobody knows,
how to mop up the tears in my brain.

Ode to Shel Silverstein

Who are you when you’re with me?
Are you the you you’d like to be?
I’d like to be with you, you see
and be the me I’d like to be.

And if we two, that’s me and you,
were the “we” we wanted to,
would we be happy instead of blue,
if I were me and you were you?

But if I were you and you were me
oh what chaos that would be.
So you be you and I’ll be me
and all will wish
that they were we.

for more information on Shel Silverstein, please visit

G. Social Media is on twitter – gsocialmedia

Hop Ice Cream Cafe is on twitter – hopicecream & thehopwest

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9 Responses

  1. I know I’ve read “My Hero” before, but it seemed to hit me really well this time around–loved this bit: “‘Cause all that we need
    is a moment to grieve,
    in an endless allotment of time.” & I like the “Ode” a lot. Such a lovely tribute to someone who clearly has meant so much to you. I know Shel would’ve loved what you do 🙂

  2. thank you. : ) i like to think that Shel would’ve enjoyed my work. he was such a fan of people taking things to the next level or in a completely new direction. i don’t think most people realize just how much i adore his work. he truly is my favorite writer….and probably always will be. : )

  3. thanks rach….i really appreciate your thoughts on this. you and i are kindred spirits in so many ways. i’m glad you enjoyed it, i just wrote what was on my brain. Shel was such an inspiration to me and it broke my heart when he died.

    virtual hugs, barbie. : )

  4. I was fortunate enough to meet Shel Silverstein at the Pier House in Key West back in the 70s. I don’t know how many copies I’ve bought of “Uncle Shelby’s ABZ Book”. They walk off.

    1. ohmywow….that must have been incredibly awesome. i’d love to hear that story. the closest i ever came to meeting Shel, was meeting one of his friends, Johnny Cash. and honestly, i was too nervous to ask him about Shel. i thought it might be rude and i’m a very respectful person in real life. : ) i’ve never owned a copy of Uncle Shelby’s ABZ Book, but i’ve read it countless times and suggest it to everyone. someday my finances will allow for the luxury. thanks for commenting. : )

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Contact Information

Barbie Angell

Release Date

March 5, 2024


“Barbie Angell Uncensored” is a dazzling fusion
of poetry, comedy and tragedy

ASHEVILLE NC – Poet, playwright and raconteur Barbie Angell performs “Barbie Angell Uncensored: An Unfiltered, Uninhibited and Unapologetic Event” at 8pm Wednesday, March 27, 2024, at LaZoom Bar & Gorilla. The 90-minute show is a melange of works spanning Angell’s career, including her poetry, excerpts from her autobiographical play “Death by Sparkle,” pieces from her children’s book “Roasting Questions,” and rarely performed mature works.

A multitalented, multi-hyphenate personality based in Asheville since 1999, the always colorful Angell is recognized around town for her work as a poet, playwright, columnist, emcee, artist and fashion designer. She has been voted “Best of WNC” poet by Mountain XPress readers for 10 consecutive years, and her skills as an emcee have made her a sought-after host for local festivals and large events such as Planned Parenthood’s Condom Couture and the Reproductive Rights Rally. 

Angell has written sketch comedy, co-authored “The Kids Show: Definitely Not for Kids,” and penned one act of “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” for Montford Park Player. She is currently creating and selling upcycled clothing in her own fun and funky signature style – some of which will be available for sale at the event, along with original artwork and prints.

Equal parts stand-up comedy, poetry slam and public confession booth, “Barbie Angell Uncensored” promises to be emotional, unsettling, hilarious, and as unique as Barbie Angell herself!

Tickets are available at for a suggested donation of $20.