My Poem “Houdini”

Everybody loves magic…
everybody lives to be bedazzled…
everybody who sees a magician
or an illusionist perform
an illusion or a magic trick
often cannot believe what
they have just witnessed…
everybody lives to see
something that they have
never seen before –
even those who have been
around the world and have experienced
things that are indescribable find
themselves, at one time or another
during their lives, captivated
by the gift of someone able to show
an audience of one, or one of a thousand,
something unbelievable,
something borderline supernatural,
something that looks so simple
but is in reality complicated
on so many levels, and something
that is a part of a tradition
that is not just exclusive
to humanity, that has also been
observed in the animal kingdom:
the art and the act of surprise,
of wonder, and of defying expectations.

Stories and mythologies
from all around the world
are filled with tales of characters
that have certain unexplainable skills…
legends have for centuries been written
about wizards and magicians who became
synonymous and memorable
because of who they were
and what they were believed to have done…
characters like “Merlin”, who is always
closely associated with the legendary
King Arthur have become mythical
in their own right because of the mystery
of who they were that still follows them
and cloaks them like a veil.

In this day and age,
just as back the medieval days
of kings, knights, swords in stones,
and ladies in lakes, people
are still drawn to experiences
that cannot be explained
without some sense of loss as a result…
even those people who ask how a magic trick
is done do not really want to know
because it is the not knowing of an audience
that is one of the most essential parts
that makes a magician want to keep doing
the same trick and the same routine
over and over again.

We need magic in the world
now more than ever,
because it is by being ensorcelled
by a gifted magician that we can
let our imagination run free…
thank god for magic and thank god
for magicians – who are wizards
in their own right – who some of us
know of, or may have grown up with,
like Derren Brown, Paul Daniels,
David Blaine, Penn and Teller,
David Copperfield, who learned from,
and who followed in the footsteps of,
one of the greatest and one of
the most spellbinding magicians
of all time: the one, the only,
Harry Houdini.

Two years on, I’m still “Playing God”

It has been exactly two years since my book “Playing God” was published – and over that time, since writing the stories within, I have been thinking a lot about The Man in Black/The Man in White who is the protagonist of the book and the stories that I wrote.

I will admit that when I first began writing the character of “The Man in Black” in the first story of the collection I did not entirely know who he was, what he was, nor where he came from – however, the more stories that I wrote the more I discovered who he was, what he was, and where he came from, and when I was touched by the hand of inspiration and I found out who he was/what he was everything just fell into place and that realization echoed through and influenced every story that features him.

It’s weird, but I discover something new about the protagonist of the stories and the book I wrote every day – things that I must have included subconsciously while I was writing them – and when I think about who the “Man in Black” is and who he used to be before the stories that I told of him are set, I realize how much of his hidden identity/who he used to be continues to inspire everything that he does, the acts that he chooses to take, and the interactions that he has with the other characters of the stories… an identity that he is trying to run away from and be the antithesis of.

I have come to think of the seven stories of “Playing God” as three act plays, of a sort – something that was not initially intended, but something that delights me was the final outcome by accident… or was it? In any case, “Playing God” is and always will be a special book to me and one that includes so much of me within its pages and within the main protagonist. So, I just want to say a Happy 2nd Birthday to my book “Playing God”and happy birthday to “The Man In Black” who inspired me so much.

I drew this sketch back in February in anticipation for the two year anniversary of the publication of my book “Playing God” and it is essentially a brainstorm of things that the “Man in Black” might have had racing through his head at any given moment of every one of the seven stories within the collection that he features.

Writing all the stories of “Playing God”was a journey of discovery for me just as it was for the “Man in Black/Man in White” whom I wrote about, and I will always think of those stories and that character fondly, and perhaps one day I will find another tale to tell about the mercurious “Man in Black” who looks like David Bowie but who is not David Bowie.

-Mark

My Poem “Walk On Water”

Today, pretty much everybody
here in the UK, is literally
having to “walk on water”…
let’s just say that the weather
could be a lot better than it is
and if you are “caught short”,
and you are not at least
carrying an umbrella,
then it goes without saying
that you are going to have to
either stay undercover
for as long as you can,
or, if you do need to go somewhere
in particular, you may have to
go “hell for leather” and run
as fast as you can –
as if you were some kind of
soaking-wet cheetah.

We here in the UK could talk adnorsism
about our eccentric and ever-changing
weather – in fact it is favourite
subject of small-talk…
we here in the UK can see
both the beauty of a summer’s day
as well as, on occasion, the water-droplets of a rain storm –
however, most stiff-upper-lip British
people would much rather observe
rain falling while looking out of the window,
perhaps from the comfort of their own homes,
instead of having to walk out of their front-door
and immediately have to find their footing,
while trying to keep calm, carry on,
and simultaneously having to
follow the example of the Messiah
and walk on water.

My Poem “Fortune”

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“It is within a bookstore where I willingly get lost…
it is within books where I discover a part of myself…
it is when I am with my muse in a bookstore
that my heart comes alive the most…
it is when I breathe in the aroma of new books,
when I become entranced by all the different book-covers all around me,
when I cannot take my attention away from the one I love,
that I feel surrounded by a fortune of limitless wealth.”
-Mark Hastings, “Fortune”

My Poem ‘Twilight of the Poet’

Don’t be sad, it’s not the end of the world…
Don’t cry, these are just words…
Don’t worry, my poetry isn’t going anywhere…
Don’t fear, my spirit will always be here…
Don’t follow, where I must go I must go alone…
Don’t hesitate to come back here and say hello…
Don’t think this is easy, it never is…
Don’t think that I won’t miss this…
Don’t watch too long as I race towards the sun…
Don’t ever hesitate to follow your heart and have fun…
Don’t forget the past, but never feel imprisoned by regrets…
Don’t forget me, remember me and be happy that we met…
Don’t do what I did, but believe everything that I said…
Don’t think this is goodbye, this is not the end…
Don’t worry, this is only the twilight of the poet.

My Poem ‘The Day-dreamer’

I am a boy in a bath-tub…
now I am a boy in a boat
on the surface of a pond…
within the blink of an eye
I am now a teenager
in the middle of a vast lake
surrounded by mountains…
I blink again and I am now racing
down a river, over rapids,
and all the while I am
a man in a boat without a paddle,
and then I reach the edge of a waterfall…
and when I open my eyes now I am on a sea
in the middle of an ocean of blue,
and overhead there is an unbroken sky
as clear as a new-born baby’s eyes –
and there I am, alone in my boat,
wearing a white t-shirt and a pair of little-blue jeans,
with a notebook and a pen settled in my lap…
and it is then that I drift away
and allow myself to be carried by the waves…
and within seconds there follows the end of the day –
the night surrounds me, the stars shine brightly,
the sea-air floods my lungs and my thoughts
more with every second and intake of breath…
I close my eyes again, and when I open them this time
I am among the stars in outer-space
being drawn to a new shore…
and when I blink once more
now I am clearly on the sea of an alien world –
where the sky is as golden as an Egyptian desert,
and the water beneath me is as red as a ruby…
when I momentarily look down at my notebook
and then I look up the picture before has changed again –
now I am encircling a vortex at unbelievable speed,
and the world becomes a blur…
and then I awaken in my bath-tub,
and I am a man of 35 –
a life-time of imagination returned to me
and took me on a journey of space and time
in the few seconds that I my eyes were closed…
now there is no fear…
now things are clearer…
I am on my way somewhere…
I do not know where life will take me next,
but I know that I will never stop being
a life-long day-dreamer.

TheDay-Dreamer

My Poem ‘Read my thoughts’

I am like an open book;
people can usually tell
what I am feeling with a single look;
I express myself a lot;
when I am not speaking I am thinking;
I always have an idea on my mind,
and an expression on my face to be read
that tells its own story –
like the time of a clock;
even when I am dreaming, sleeping, my mind is racing,
and like someone with all the right moves,
in one way or another, I am always dancing.

My thoughts are a constant universe of stars being born;
my dreams are my memories and hopes
being imagined and projected for only me to see;
the eternal hope in my heart and soul
is like an endless, beautiful, and breathtaking new dawn;
my poetry is my gift, my broadcast, my performance,
my love, fears, and desires, printed on a page,
that is the most honest expression of what lies within me,
and what I like to think is the best of me.

Every gift of connection and sharing touches me deeply;
what I say I always intend to be meaningful,
special, heartfelt, and not overly serious, deep, or cheesy;
everyone who knows me, or has met me,
I hope continues to still have the same feeling about me
that they had when they first met me,
and they still remember their first impression of me;
my lasting hope is that everybody remembers me
for the good things I have done,
and share something of me, or about me,
that might serve to inspire others infinitely.

It is not important to say everything you are thinking,
however if you are like me you can’t ever keep
what is on your mind locked away behind lock and key;
it is not everybody who is lucky enough
to be able to paint their own portrait
and display it for all the world to see.
When fate calls you, when destiny sends you a sign,
if you can see what is right in front of you,
and if you can read between the lines,
you can read my mind,
you can feel the meaning of something
before you even know what it is all for.
So, if you ever meet me, if you ever see me,
if you read something that I have written,
if you happen to pick up one of my books,
then I can guarantee you that without too much effort at all,
you will easily be able to read my thoughts.

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