Rest In Peace, David Bowie (a tribute)

On January 10, 2016, I wrote a poem called “Always the Starman” dedicated to the late great David Bowie who died on that very day in 2016 – and I can still remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard of his untimely passing, and I can still remember being immediately inspired to mark the memory of one of the most famous and celebrated music artists of the 20th Century – and two days later I published the poem that I wrote on my blog for all the world to read so that they may get a sense of just how inspirational David Bowie was and still is.

Not long after David Bowie’s death, I remember that I was writing a new short story called “The Man In Black” about this mysterious character – who I didn’t truly know the identity of, nor why they were so mysterious… all I knew at that point was that whoever they were they dressed all in black, they had mysterious and powerful gifts that enabled them to appear one minute and disappear the next, they could bring animals and perhaps people back to life, and they may or may not be some kind of angel or some other supernatural being. And something else that I knew immediately was that whoever this mysterious “man in black” was he also bore an uncanny resemblance to the late great David Bowie, as some sort of tribute to him. But that was it. I originally intended to include my short story “The Man in Black” in my 2016 short story collection “Too Close To The Sun”, however for some reason I held it back… and to this day I still do not know why, what, or who stopped me from doing so – but I am so glad that they did, because from that first story there followed others that featured the same “Man in Black” who at times was known to white also depending upon when you met him. And slowly but surely I wrote more and more, until I finally found myself with seven short stories that explored who the “Man in Black/Man in White” was and why he did what he did. And to this day the stories of my short story collection “Playing God” still remain close to my heart, because within them are characters who I know and who I recognise: characters in need of being saved by a hero, a friend, a rebel, an angel, a god dressed all in black, and sometimes dressed all in white – someone who we would all wish would pay us a visit and heal the world of the present from what we are currently being plagued by.

I wrote my original poem “Always the Starman” and “The Man in Black”, the first story of my book “Playing God”, as a personal tribute to David Bowie – but the more stories that I wrote about this mysterious man who looked and sounded just like David Bowie, I also found myself uncovering many different sources of inspiration – from ancient Greek mythology to the daily torments that some people have to deal with – and I also found myself learning more about why I love writing so much: that thrill of exploration and discovery that I find every time I embark upon a writing challenge that I know will take me to places that I never imagined I would ever venture to. And that is what it is so enthralling and exciting about being a writer and an author of fiction: you never know where it is going to take you.

I will always be eternally grateful to the late great David Bowie for his music, for his creativity, and for the gift of inspiration that he gave to me – which coalesced over time into becoming a book of stories written in tribute to him, but also a tribute to hope, optimism and the gift of life that we are all blessed with which we all sometimes take for granted.

Rest in peace, David Bowie

“David Bowie” by Derren Brown

8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016

My Poem “The Helix Nebula”

Whenever I look at an image
of the beautiful Helix nebula –
an image captured of an region of space
within the constellation of Aquarius,
almost 695 light years from Earth –
I, like many others, not only see
a beautiful planetary nebula
that looks almost similar in appearance
to both the “Cat’s Eye Nebula” or the “Ring Nebula” –
but I also see what looks like some kind
of celestial eye looking back at me,
because the more that you look
at the Helix nebula the more that
you see an image like that of
the iris of an eye,
and which is most likely why
the Helix nebula’s colourful and vibrant
blue, green, gold, and red appearance
when seen through the filters
of the visual spectrum
is often referred to as the “Eye of God”:
because once you see it you never forget it.

My Poem “The God Frequency”

When we want to make something
a reality we often think about
something more, we often talk
about something more,
and we often look for and see
signs that indicate that the time is right
for what we want to manifest before us,
like a stream of sunlight from above,
and there are times when we all
receive messages on a specific frequency –
the same one that the universe vibrates on –
that our brain interprets in many ways,
which is this celestial music
that has influenced and inspired
many artists and many musicians
to allow their gifts to shine
upon the medium before them
in order for them to capture the energy
within them that often harmonizes
and resonates with the source of
all life that brought about
all the forces in existence.

Our minds are multi-dimensional…
when we dream we are able to
dive deep and explore the world within us
that lies below the surface of
the ocean of reality and consciousness…
the sound of someone’s voice
can be sometimes be enough to
open up a door, a window,
a pathway within our minds –
especially the mind of a child –
just enough for people to feel
compelled to feel comfortable
allowing themselves to drift away…
the sounds of nature – whether the sound
of waves crashing again a shore,
the sound of the wind blowing
through the branches of trees,
or perhaps to sound of raindrops
falling upon a window pane –
can effect people so fundamentally
and can generate great fountains of
strength and inner calmness.

There are some instruments
whose voice speaks lounder
and penetrates deeper into a person’s soul
than others which also has the ability
to bless insight upon whomever is their
player and whomever is their audience…
nothing is ever truly lost because
everything comes back around
again eventually…
planets, stars, people, subatomic particles,
thoughts, hopes, fears, dreams
have their own sounds that
reverberate around them,
and everything and everybody
interacts with each other
like the rippling waves upon a sea –
and this connection that connects
every living thing to one another
is a divine network and broadcast
that is often referred to as
“The God Frequency”.

My Poem “My God Father”

Forget Zeus, forget Odin –
because no other father in history,
nor within the pages of mythology,
could ever compare to my father
because my Dad will always be
one of the most inspiring, influential,
and important forces over me,
because all his life my Dad has given
the gift of his presence and he has
been there in so many ways for me
and for our entire family.

My Dad has worked all his life,
he has given back,
and he has helped others
through so many selfless acts
that embody who my Dad is,
what my Dad stands for,
where my Dad comes from,
and what has always been
important to my Dad:
his family, his friends, his humility,
his enduring spirit, and his strength
of character that is incomparable
and which is the reason why no one
ever forgets my Dad nor
all the amazing things that he
has done throughout his life.

My Dad is a hero – just ask anybody
who knows him and his name…
my Dad has been through so much –
but never do you ever hear him complain…
my Dad is the personification
and the example of the person
who you would hope and pray
to arrive – with his distinctive
blue eyes and his magnetic smile –
to save the day while using
all the power at their disposal
to bring about a miracle –
and that is why when I look at my Dad
I never see just a man,
because when I look at my Dad
I always see my father: the God.

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 “Divine Intervention”

Sometimes things happen
that are true mysteries…
if the devil is in the details,
and if God works in mysterious ways,
then each of us are constantly
walking a path of choices and destiny…
sometimes things just pop up in front of you,
like a lucky penny, and you have to
make a course-correction,
and you have to do what you have to do
and you have got to see what you have got to see…
sometimes you return to places
that you never thought that you
would ever go back to
for reasons that you can’t control
and you cannot explain.

Sometimes in life you just need to have faith
and believe that something, or someone,
is watching over you –
protecting you, directing you, conducting you,
and pointing you in the direction
to where you need to be,
as if adhering to some kind of
inter-dimensional time-table…
things change, places change, people change –
there is always a time in your life
to find peace and reconciliation
with something that regularly
used to keep you up at night.

Thank God that things, places,
and people change – that is what I say;
because if life, the world, the universe,
did not revolve around the singularity of change
then where would any of us be?
There are so many moments of inspiration
that are really instances
of divine intervention in disguise.

My Poem “Bowie and Me”

Every day of the week
I head down to Dudley Street
to meet, to greet, and to speak
with the one and the only
David Bowie,
and every time I see him
he talks to me and
he communicates so much to me
without even having to say a word
how lucky we all are to be alive
and walking the streets and the paths
of this world –
and every time I see him
I get this instant flash
of inspiration,
like a bolt of lightning,
that I try to imbue
into the art that I create
which always follows
my divine-like encounter with “Bowie”
who waits tirelessly for me
against a wall of blue
on Dudley Street like a gate-keeper
and a guide to a world of
wonder, imagination, and self-discovery.


“Bowie” by Annatomix – Dudley Street, Birmingham, United Kingdom

My Poem “Deus ex Poetica”

Wishes and prayers come from hope…
inspiration rises when a feeling is set free…
memories and emotions are like ghosts…
poetry comes from God, and God comes from poetry.

Nobody has ever asked God why they created the universe –
but nobody should ever ask an artist
why they create the art that they make,
because, most of the time, an artist
is only following their instincts
and trying to capture a feeling, an experience,
or an emotion that they want to share.

An artist can spend years living in darkness –
and then, light, life, an idea,
an entire universe can instantly come into being
and start a chain-reaction that expands without end
before their eyes, and build a reality
of its own, layer by layer.

There is always someone listening…
there is always someone watching…
there is always someone thinking,
dreaming, and imagining something new…
there is always someone waiting…
there is always someone anticipating…
there is always someone creating
magic from out of the blue.

Everything is what it is for a reason…
everybody is who they are because who they are
is who they are meant to be…
everyone who is anyone has at least once in their life
opened their heart, closed their eyes,
dug down deep within themselves, touched their own soul,
and returned to the world with something about themselves
that they never knew they possessed.

When an artist first becomes an artist,
what they feel, what they see,
and what they know drives their emotions
and their imagination, can sometimes be scary –
however, the more that an artist creates,
the more that they want to create…
artists are constantly driving to inspire
a feeling in someone else because of the echo
of a feeling of that which inspired them –
comedians receive such a feverish reaction
to their art when they inspire
an audience of people into laughter.

God has always been
the greatest artist anyone has ever known…
since the beginning – when they created
the heavens and the Earth –
every day God’s greatest creation – Life –
continues to evolve and be reinterpreted
over and over again, and it will continue to be –
because Life will always be the greatest masterpiece
ever envisioned or created, just as it has been
since the beginning of time
when God created poetry.

‘Playing God’ out now on Amazon

Seven stories… Seven perspectives… Seven experiences… One Man in Black, one Man in White… Seven morality tales of one immortal… Rebel, Hero, Friend, Fan, Father, Son. Playing God takes you on a journey that connects a hero of myth with a modern day hero of music.

You can get a copy of my new book, Playing God, below: