Episode #18: “The Mark The Poet Experience” – Recent Poetry

In this episode Mark recites four of his most recent poems: “Same Language”, “Why?”, “The Runners and Riders”, “Hello/Goodbye”, and gives some personal insights into the inspiration for them.

My Poem “Why?”

There is always a reason,
there is always a why,
there is always a motivation
for the myriad of actions
that people sometimes take
and for the many decisions
that people sometimes make
that they have no trouble in
being able to justify.

Where there is a spark
there will always be a flame...
where there is touch and proximity
there will always be intimacy...
where there is language
there is will always be consideration,
interpretation and loss -
because truth and reality
are not always the same...
where there is the evidence of stories
of the past there will always remain mysteries.

Myths, legacies, stories, records,
chronicles, cave paintings, rock carvings
are important depictions of a mixture
of both fiction and fact all rolled into one...
sometimes it doesn't take anything more
than someone saying that they heard
a voice tell them to do something
for them to immediately act
seemingly without thinking,
nor without a fight...
symbols, signs, warnings, lessons,
cautionary tales are vital for
any civilization to learn the merits
of what is right and what is wrong...
sometimes it takes the bravest of the brave
to stop something that they know
is going to happen before it happens -
so that some day someone won't have to
look back upon a choice that they made
and have to justify to others
and perhaps to themselves
the answer to the question: why?

My Poem “The Way of the Artist”

Everything changes...
everything evolves...
everybody doing every thing
has their own process...
new things have naturally arisen
over time to replace other things
and other ways of doing things;
however, some things never change -
and one of the things that will never change
is the way that artists are inspired,
the way that artists seek out
new sources of stimulation,
the way that artists wake up
every morning and want to create art,
the way that artists cannot settle down
to sleep without first either thinking
about or doing something about
the nugget of an idea within them.

There is something inherently human
about art and about attempting to capture
the sometimes incomparable,
about the need to express our inner most
thoughts, feelings, emotions, dreams,
hopes, fears, and our natural insecurities...
there is something primal about
the experience of having this overriding
instinct that we feel compelled to act upon...
there is something almost genetic
about how people young and old
seem to have the same unconscious ability
to be able to go to the same places
that other people are unable to,
because there exists this continuity
of connection that crosses generations
like some kind of universal melody.

All my life I have created art,
I have witnessed art being created,
and I have come to recognize
the look in a fellow artist's eyes
when they are deep within that moment
when the inspiration and the art
within them are in full-flow,
as if it were a sixth sense of mine
that I have slowly but surely
developed over time...
all my life I have looked at
the natural beauty of the world
rise like waves upon an ocean
and literally change the geography
of a well known place or monument...
all my life I have witnessed
something come from something -
and I have come to believe
that "nothing" is in fact a type of
"something" that we have not yet
given a name to, because certain things
are like energy and no matter what
they will always exist.

Looking for an answer to a question
that may have been asked for centuries
and expecting to find what has not occurred
to anyone else before, at least to me,
is not in any way a sign of madness -
in fact, I believe the art of being inquisitive
and never asking the question
"why create art in the first place?"
and just feeling this need to create
some kind of art is the most powerful gift
and the most fulfilling way of every artist.

My Poem “The Right Turn”

In times of crisis and confusion,
or at times of rest and relaxation,
everybody has the same people,
the same things, and the same places
to return to that have always had a way
of bringing them back down to Earth,
of settling them down,
of bringing something out in them
which has always helped to enlighten
and to illuminate a way to find
a sense of peace of mind.

Everybody either has a go to “something” –
good book, a favourite TV show,
a movie, a song, or a piece of music –
that always has this transformative
magic and power to be able to instantly
change a person’s mood
and even have an effect upon
how a person thinks, talks, and moves.

Everybody always seeks out answers
and wants to find simple solutions
to questions and puzzles
that play upon their thoughts,
but sometimes the most accessible,
acceptable, and easily digestible
explanations are hard to find
because sometimes you have to
firstly unlearn what you have learned.

Everybody always has paths
that they travel down that they
know better than others
as well as mental maps that they know
the landmarks of in such detail
that they almost seem ingrained
upon their brain like a tattoo,
because when the time comes to act
they instinctively know what to do,
how to do what they need to do, and who,
what, and where they need to be
to make the right turn.

My Poem “The Question that drives us”

Everybody has a question
that drives them which influences
every choice that they make
and every action that they take…
everybody has a question
that they need answered
in order to give their life meaning…
everybody has a question
that reflects what they hope
will be their ultimate fate…
everybody has a question
that is answered multiple times
throughout their life
which, for so many reasons,
some people sometimes find it hard
to accept and to believe
because they often find it hard
to imagine what they cannot see.

Answers are not always what people
find at the end of a journey…
possibilities are what most people
dwell upon when they reach
the end of a particular story…
most things in life that we commit
ourselves to are a matter of trust…
revelations are always powerful –
but almost always, in reflection,
no matter what we are doing
and where we are going,
it is the questions that we have,
the questions that we ponder upon,
and the questions that we are
consistently awoken by
over and over again
which are the source within our life
of what truly drives us.

My Poem “Alexa”

In this day and age,
we all have access
to knowledge and information
like never before…
at this point in time,
and at any time of the day or the night,
everybody can reach out,
touch, tap, and use their voices
to acquire the gift of a response,
the answer to a question,
the thrill of discovery and understanding…
doors that were once closed are opening,
access is finally being granted by the insightful
to those who always found it hard
being that kid at the back of the class
in school who was afraid
to raise their hand for fear of being
ridiculed for asking a “dumb question”.

Questions are important –
most of the time, in my opinion,
questions are more important than answers…
Questions, inquiries, wanderings,
looking, listening, and asking
why such a thing is the way that it is
and where something or someone came from
are the steps that need to be taken
by everyone with a curious mind
in order to stimulate and rejuvenate
wonder into their lives.

Our access to knowledge, images,
and multiple ways of communication
has never been so accessible:
we carry both the keys, the doorways,
the portals, and the windows
to the worlds within worlds
that interconnect the majority
of human life on this planet
in the form of mobile
receivers and transmitters
which we carry around with us
and we can interact with,
share a conversation with,
and inquire to,
which have become our guides
to a wealth of information,
inspiration, art, music, places,
and which have become
the artificial intelligences
that we use on a daily basis
to assist us in bringing order to our lives,
which we can even call to attention
by uttering a single word to awaken them –
such as “Siri”, “Google”,
“Cortana”, or “Alexa”.

My Poem “Artistic Heroes”

I am definitely no John Lennon,
Johnny Cash, David Bowie, Bob Dylan,
Michelangelo, or Vincent van Gogh –
however, they are some of the poets
of music, words, colours,
prolific and deep expression
who are among the members
of some of my artistic heroes.

I am no Shakespeare,
Stephen King, or Neil Gaiman –
however, I am also an author
and a writer who wants to
inspire, to enlighten, to entertain,
and to take the readers of my poetry,
my stories, and the characters
who I have written about
and described, on a journey
that they will never forget
which is unquestionably
a pure creation of my own
varied and constantly
curious wandering imagination.

I am no Albert Einstein,
Stephen Hawking, or Elon Musk –
however, I too think about things
and I wonder why things are the way
that they are and if there are
answers to the questions
that many people daily ask,
like: What is the true nature of life?
Is time-travel possible?
Who or what created
the universe, and why?
Will people one day be living,
breathing, existing, and communicating
every day of their life solely
within the illusion of a simulation?

At my heart, I am a dreamer…
at my best, I am an optimist…
at my most inspired,
I am a man without regret,
without reservation,
without any kind of fear of the unknown,
nor without any worry that
I will one day lose my life-long
obsession with discovering
as much knowledge and inspiration
from the depths and the frontiers
of this limitless universe as I possibly can –
and one day I hope that I will get to meet
all of my artistic heroes in one place
and swop stories with them
about the road that they all took
to get them from where their story began
to the place where they were inspiring
the dreams of many and colouring
the consciousness of the world’s
imagination.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
– Albert Einstein

My Poem “Answers for Everything”

Getting back into
the swing of anything
is always hard, it’s always slow,
it’s always a work in progress,
especially in the beginning…
move to a new place,
filled with new people
who you do not yet know,
is always daunting…
getting used to a new way of doing things –
even when it involves a job
or an activity that you already know –
it can take you a while to get up to speed…
any time spent away from something
is time that you can’t make up for –
however, what you can choose to do
is to put your attention, your drive,
and your determination into learning
and perhaps re-learning something
that over time becomes second-nature,
releasing that intuitive gift
that has always been inside of you,
that has always been a part of you,
and letting your internal nature
and your internal voice speak…
I truly believe that some people
are meant to be who they are…
I truly believe that some people
are born with a particular destiny
and a path in life to follow
with particular things
that they are fated to achieve…
I truly believe that some people
are meant to be doctors, nurses, carers,
parents, artists, writers, fighters,
scientists, cafe owners, builders,
sculptures, truck drivers, cashiers,
messengers, movie theatre attendants –
because by doing what they do,
and while doing what they do,
they make a profound and fundamental
difference to the world that only they can…
I have always believed, ever since I was a child,
that I had a purpose, a meaning, a reason to be alive,
and to be someone and something
more than somebody with the depth to them
than that of a character from a dream…
I have always known, and I have always kept in my mind,
the fact of life that nobody in this world
is ever truly alone and that everybody
has a calling that fits perfectly into and with
whatever makes the universe what it is
and whatever the fundamental forces are
that govern the framework and the plan of existence
that was set into motion at the instant
of the universal big bang
and the answers to everything.

My Poem ‘The Shroud of Destiny’

The shroud of destiny…
the mysterious cloak of fate…
the lasting spirit that will walk
the Earth one day with the last of humanity…
the drape of infinity as dark
as the matter that veils
the wonders of outer-space…
the personification of all life
that can be seen waiting and contemplating
before a single wick of candlelight…
the one who knows the ultimate fate of the living
and where people go when they die…
they who have no face,
but who still have a form…
they who beckon from the end of days,
and who silently warn…
I have seen them…
I have stood and looked at them,
and I have been mesmerized by them…
I have wondered what they were thinking,
and what they would say to me if they could…
they who do not move when they are in contemplation –
and yet being in their presence
and seeing the darkness that covers them is enough
to bring out so many emotions and questions…
Destiny knows me… Destiny knows us all…
Destiny knows the days gone by, and the days yet to be…
Destiny knows so much, and Destiny says so much –
without even having to say a word…
you would think that staring into Destiny
would be a frightening thing for anyone to do,
but I personally believe that Destiny
is a silent teacher with so much to teach…
Destiny too has a destiny,
and until the day comes when they see themselves
in the mirror of time
I do not think they will ever speak…
as soon as I saw Destiny for the first time
I was inspired to write about them
in the voice of my gift: poetry –
and there they will stay
and walk the spaces between my words,
and so they will shadow my footsteps,
until the day when I turn around
and I accept and I wear
the shroud of my destiny.

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“Destiny is always in the dark.”

My Poem ‘God’s work’

God works in mysterious ways…
with light came life
at the beginning of the universe…
to god seven billion years
could be the same as seven of our solar days…
life is precious…
god’s creations are now more distant
than they were at the beginning of everything…
everybody on Earth has a role to play
in the grand design that god set forth
before the universe exploded into existence
with the biggest of bangs…
like everything in life
no thing is any-thing without trust…
we may not realize it,
but everything happens for a reason:
accidents happen, mistakes are made –
however, every-thing and everyone
is bound to a master-plan
too unfathomable to anyone but it’s architect;
the universe is complex –
but what else would you expect
from an idea such as the universe,
literally the most divine garden
of limitless, beautiful, and varied
example of life ever imagined:
what gift, what blessing,
what answer hidden in plain-sight
within a question being asked
could be more perfect?

Two worlds are never the same;
two lives, though seemingly-close,
always live on either-side of a divide;
the two eyes of someone’s face
is like the light of the stars
that we see sparkling from afar
in the vast darkness of space;
the two ears, the two lungs,
the two arms, the two hands,
the two legs, the two feet that many,
however not all, are born with –
the signature physical characteristics
of the human body remind us all
that we are still all of one world,
one Earth, and one of a kind.

We all come to a belief in something
from different directions;
for some, the path to the truth of what life is
can be short, it can be long, it can be easy,
and sometimes it can be incredibly hard;
there are people who believe
in many things in this life –
and when they say that they believe in something,
or someone, I know and I believe
that they are telling the truth with every word;
we all come face-to-face with things in our lives
that we can’t understand –
sometimes the journey to find the answers you seek
cannot simply be reached by driving somewhere in a car;
the human heart, the human soul, the human consciousness,
the human dreams, are all keys to the door
that lead to the gates of heaven –
and I believe that each and every one of us,
no matter how big or how small we believe we are
in the cosmic jig-saw of life
can make no mistake in believing
that we are all doing god’s work.