Mark Hastings: “My Writing Journey”

My Poem “The Eyes of a Poet”

As the rain lashed down
on a cloudy day
I looked out the window
of the Diplomat cafΓ©,
as a bright blue tram car
glided passed upon the rails
of the tram railway –
and as I did I immediately
found myself experiencing
a wave of inspiration grow within me,
which I knew almost instantly
that I wanted to savour,
to save, and to capture
so that it may endure
in some profound way.

Writers and artists are always looking
for a place where they can create
unimpeded by the distractions
of the outside world –
especially when they are first
starting out upon their artistic journey;
personally, I try not to box myself
into the corner of a particular room
and declare that there is only
one place and one way,
where, when, and how,
I can express what I want to say.

Writers and artists are constantly
finding themselves creating art
at every time of the day
and wherever they find themselves
caught in the shower of
shooting stars of inspiration,
because what artists become inspired by
is ultimately in the hands of fate,
and over the years I have
randomly found myself –
while staring at a sunset,
while sitting in a movie theatre,
while staring at a masterpiece of art
by Vincent van Gogh or Leonardo da Vinci –
absolutely and unfathomably
in a state of complete mesmerism
in which I felt like I could access
deeper layers of connection, life,
and an understanding about the art
that I saw and the artist
responsible for creating
what ultimately turned out to be
that something that would inspire me.

Artists and writers
are always chasing that once
in a lifetime spark
of artistic creativity
that will excite and unify
every one of their senses
and their instincts
and that will perfectly combine
to make something special
that people will never forget –
and being an artist is sometimes
like walking a line,
like crossing borders,
and like discovering
and delivering a message…
being an artist and a writer
is sometimes like being some kind
of an envoy, a peacemaker, a diplomat,
and someone who can occasionally see –
when they can look at all
the multiple possibilities
of something simultaneously –
that things become increasingly
more clearer when you
take a step back from something,
while still looking at it
and while still internalizing it,
however while secretly interpreting it
by using the eyes of a poet.

My Poem “Substantial sustenance”

It’s always great to experience new things…
it’s always great to see things
you have never seen before…
it’s always refreshing to go somewhere
you have always wanted to go
but have never been before…
it’s always enlightening to be exposed
to the sights, the sounds, the people,
and the unique identity of a community
all living and breathing
every aspect of their particular
village, town, region, or city.

It has always been a passion of mine
to seek out, to explore, to experience,
and to learn more about the many
different and diverse voices, accents,
faces, beliefs, and opinions
that make humanity the distinct species
of dreamers, storytellers,
and builders that we are…
when people go somewhere that
is renowned for representing
and practicing certain customs
and for communicating
in certain ways of speech
that cannot be witnessed nor heard
anywhere else in the world,
you can find yourself initially
overwhelmed and uninformed –
however, like with most things,
the more that you are exposed to
certain things, and to certain practices,
the more likely it is that you will
naturally accept what you are surrounded by
and over time you will naturally
assimilate certain things into
your unconscious daily routines.

Being a wanderer can be exciting…
being someone who is constantly
looking for inspiration and stimulation
can be encompassing and thrilling…
being someone who wonders
why things are the way that they are
can be revealing…
being someone who ventures
beyond their understanding of what
life is all about is to be someone
who accepts the mission of exploration
and discovery that might take them
to places that are both illuminating
in terms of knowledge and fulfilling
in terms of inspiration
that cannot be underestimated
and are an essential and a substantial
source of sustenance
for the mind, for the body,
and for the soul of who you are.

My Poem “Want to take a ride?”

Some people love riding…
some people live to jump
on the saddle of a horse,
or on the saddle a bicycle,
on the seat of a scooter,
or on to the seat of a motorcycle –
especially on the weekend
when people feel like
time is on their side
and they can glide through
the quiet lanes of the countryside,
or down the open highways with
the wind blowing against their face,
while enjoying every moment
and every ounce of the feeling
of being unburduned by anything,
and some people also enjoy
the opportunity of the pure release
of their inner nature
that they get to make.

Some people have a great affection
for past times that make them feel rebellious –
as if they are doing something
that they shouldn’t be doing:
like disregarding a sign that says
“DO NOT ENTER” or “SLIPPERY WHEN WET”,
and they still decide to proceed
regardless to what awaits them within
the forbidden place before them…
some people are simply unable to fight
the feeling that rises within them
that makes them want to
face their fears, take a leap,
and expand the boundaries
of their imagination.

Some people sometimes do things
that they know other people
have died while doing…
some people sometimes do things
that are dangerous
because the experience of doing
certain activities is profoundly thrilling
and sometimes life-fulfilling…
some people who live near a beach
love to start their day by taking
their surfboard and riding the crests
of the early morning waves…
some people love being active,
being brave, and seeking out
their calling in life in many different ways.

Some people live to explore…
some people love to dive…
some people like the ritual
of waking up at dawn
and taking their dog for a long walk…
some people want nothing more
than to do what they want,
when they want, how they want –
especially those who wake up
every day when they do not have
anything in particular to do
and who can take the steps
to fully answer the question of:
“Where do you want to go?”…
some people experience
the feeling of being “more alive”
when they instively act upon
the question posed by
their adventurous side,
which is usually a variation
along the lines of:
“Want to take a ride?”

“Life should not be a journey to the grave
with the intention of arriving safely
in a pretty and well preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside
in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up,
totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming
“Wow! What a Ride!”

– Hunter S. Thompson

My Poem “Hello Friend!”

It’s always great
making new friends…
when we watch certain characters
on television or in films
we often quickly become drawn
to a particular protagonist
that we, for one reason
or another, can identify with.

It’s always good to explore
new things – films, music,
books, places, stories –
and it is always fascinating
to witness how a particular
journey can change a person
in so many different ways.

Whenever we all watch
certain characters in movies,
or on television,
and we see them having to overcome
all obstacles that they have to contend with,
and face all the adversaries
that they have to face,
while walking the path that is their fate,
it can be such a thrilling
and an exhilarating experience
that certain people often choose
to return to those same stories,
and to those same characters,
time and time again.

When we become engrossed
in a particular story,
and when we become invested
in a particular cast of characters,
we never want what we and they
have been through to come to an end;
however, most audience members know
that endings are just as fundamental
to a story as beginnings,
and as long as when a story
comes to a close it is satisfying –
and it is revealed that everything
that happened was all for something –
then, in some way, people can cope
with the ultimate moment
of finality without regret.

When we have to say goodbye to someone –
even if it is only a well-loved character
who we see performing on a flat-screen –
even the most detached of watchers
can become so connected
to whom they have been watching,
especially if the storyline
that is coming to a conclusion
has been a compelling
and riveting one to behold;
and that is why, when
some people reach the end of a story,
they automatically go back
to the very beginning of
the same story that they have been
watching, reading, or perhaps
listening to, for so long,
and they start the journey all over again
in an attempt to recapture the magic somehow,
by greeting the same characters
that they are already greatly familiar with,
with a smile, and with a warm:
“Hello friend!”

My Poem “The Hero’s Journey”

It occurs to me that since I
first began writing poetry
that I have been on my own version
of “The Hero’s Journey”…
perhaps I have been on
my “Hero’s Journey” since I was a child –
or, more likely, like most people
who find themselves called
to seek out adventure,
my childhood was just the preparation
that I needed to learn and to grow
before I knew what I had to do,
why I had to do it,
and where I needed to go.

My call to adventure was one of love –
and when I discovered the book
that I would come to consider
as the poetic version of a “holy text”
that was when I felt like I crossed
a threshold into a new world
where I could see patterns
and poetry all around me
and I felt truly transformed
and able to walk through doors
that I was unable to do so before.

When I first started upon
the path of the poet,
and wearing the guise
of the Poet of the Sphere,
along the way I found myself
drawn to people and inspired
by mentors and muses
who opened my eyes to things
that challenged the way
that I perceived the world around me
and I was tempted down dead ends
that would ultimately lead me to a downfall.

After my fall I found myself
within a dark and deep abyss
of my own making –
however, eventually, I was able
to pick myself up off the ground
and like the embodiment of
a mythological phoenix
rising from a fire
I felt as if I had been reborn,
and yet again I found myself
walking down a path of transformation
in order to find myself,
which was followed by
moments of revelation
that lead me to atone
for the actions that I had taken
that had lead me to emotional ruin.

Over time I was given the gift
of love from a goddess
and I was forgiven, and then I returned
from the underworld of the unknown
to the land of light where I would
rekindle the love that gives
meaning to everything that I do –
and so the cycle began again,
and again – however each time always
distinctly different in some way –
and after every new revolution
was completed I always found myself
sitting down, alone, writing,
contemplating and attempting
to interpret in verse the revelations
and the phases that combine
to make the tapestry of
my own version of
“The Hero’s Journey”.

My Poem “The Forbidden”

The draw of the forbidden…
the urge to explore
the places where very few
people have been before…
the instinct to reveal the truth
of that which is hidden,
the call of the wild
that has compelled many people
to seek out, to feel,
and to capture the energy
and the spirit that some things
naturally emanate –
symbolized in many stories
as being an apple, a chalice, a ring,
a fountain, a plant, a monolith,
a message left for others to find
so that they may experience
profound revelations that will
fundamentally change the way
that they see the world,
as well as change how they see themselves,
are as prevalent in the tales
that humanity has been telling itself
since the beginning of language
and the start of our path of discovering
who we are and what we are
in the grand scheme of universal understanding.

It is the quest of the forbidden that gives
a journey into the unknown its potency…
it is the question of what lies beyond
all the maps that have been drawn
that has attracted all the explorers
that have ever been born…
it is the danger of a forbidden vortex
that storm-chasers lust to race towards
that awakens within them
the same deep longing to push the envelope
of what is possible that precludes
so many people from being able
to silence the voice inside them
that tells them loud and clear
to never decline an opportunity
to take a bite out of
the fruit of the forbidden,
to experience what it takes like,
and to see where it takes you.