‘Me and My Ukulele’ by Mark Hastings

There are times when I am in my room, thinking about what I am going to write about next, when I just reach for the hand-built DIY ukulele that I bought and I put together piece by piece, and just start strumming and creating whatever music I am inspired to play. It’s so invigorating! It’s so captivating! I never thought that I would get so attached to a musical instrument, but from the moment I built my ukulele, and I started plucking away at the strings, I began to feel this connection with it and with the music that I could produce… and I absolutely love playing my ukulele whenever I can, just for fun, just so that I can make some kind of music – music that I can feel on a subconscious level, and music that means something profound to me! 😊🤟🪕🎶🎵

My Poem “Vox”

Who knew that there were
so many people with a story
to tell and with a voice
able to express itself
so easily and so effectively?
Who knew that there were
so many people who had this drive
to want to let people into their life
when they do not need to?
Who knew that there were
so many people with a dream
to be able to reach as many
people as possible?
Who knew that there were
so many people who would want to
listen to other people talk about
what interests them and what inspires them?

I have always known that I liked
expressing the joy and the energy
that I felt within me
ever since I was a child,
and I have always known that
I enjoy past times like sitting and listening
to the music that is being played
and being broadcast on the normal
F.M. radio stations that people listen to,
that have “Disc Jockeys” on them
who people think they know
because they are used to listening to
their particular voice on a regular basis;
however, these days fewer people
listen to the radio than they used to –
unless they are driving down
a long stretch of highway
with nothing else to do.

So many people these days frequently listen
to music and to podcasts via streaming
services and apps that deliver content
to people all around the world,
simultaneously, over the internet…
these days there are even podcasts
and interviews recorded and shared
visually as well as vocally
which add a greater depth of expression
than can be enjoyed if something
is merely a disembodied voice;
however, there is still something amazing,
evoking, wonderful, and personal
about the experience of just listening
to someone’s voice and being told
a story in one of the fastest ways
to capture and process an idea:
by closing your eyes, by pressing play,
and by seemingly being taken away
to another place – like being entranced
into a dream state – by one of the most
powerful gifts that each of us
have at our disposal:
a one of a kind voice with which
we can articulate.

My Poem “Strum”

I am not exactly sure what
it was that overcame me,
but from the moment that
I first saw and I first heard
someone playing a ukulele
I was immediately entranced
and fascinated by this
stringed instrument,
that looks like a miniature guitar,
that naturally seems to have this
calming tone to it when a player
strums its cords that range G C E A…
I am not exact sure why
I was compelled to buy my D.I.Y.
ukulele from the bookstore I found it in –
so that I could leisurely learn
how to play an instrument of my own choosing?
To feel a wave of emotional connection
and a sense of fun when driving
my fingers over the four strings
that I physically tied
from the bridge to the pegs of the headstock?
I’m not sure, but that is exactly what happened:
because as soon as I began to innocently
move my fingers over the four strings
of the ukulele that I had to glue, screw, and attach all the separate
components of, I felt this instant
and emotionally charged feedback
from the sounds that I created,
and I felt a rush of instant creative inspiration.

There is something special about
making things with your own two hands…
there is something about having
a project in front of you
to put your heart and your mind to…
there is something about the visceral
connection that a lot of people feel
when they handle a piece of wood
that has been crafted into the vital
parts of an instrument…
there is something almost spiritual
about holding something
and feeling as if what you have
in your hands has its own identity,
its own story, its own voice, its own soul…
there is something wonderful about
finding something brand new
that you never could have imagined
that you would ever discover
that would give you the gift
of grasping something profound.

I have always been in awe
of those naturally gifted artists
who can pick up an instrument
and instinctually know how to play
something in such a way that they
can illicit an emotional response
from their audience and immediately
generate a continuum of connection
without even knowing that they are doing so…
I have always wanted to learn how
to play a musical instrument
and to be good enough to be able
to capture and to sustain someone’s,
anyone’s, attention, in a good way –
and hopefully not bore them to tears…
I have known some singers, some song-writers,
and some instrumentalists over my life,
and I have had many moments of feeling
this heartfelt bond with several voices,
sounds, songs – and when I write my own poetry
I attempt to write in such a way
that my words can be interpreted lyrically,
as if they were songs in and of themselves;
however, now I believe that I have found
something that I will use in the future
as an accompaniment to what I write,
and perhaps I will get inspiration for
the poetry that I will write to come
just by strumming upon the strings
of my new ukulele.

My Poem “Impressionable”

Since I was a child
I have always been impressionable…
since I was a boy
I have been profoundly impacted
by many sources of entertainment
that subconsciously
left their mark upon me…
since I first started to be drawn
to the images of screens, the words of books,
and the ultrasonic magnificence of music
I have been changed little by little…
since I first began going on journeys
with fictional characters who
inhabited many different worlds
and who lived many different lives
I have been led to believe and to imagine
that what I was shown or gifted
the vision of was a real and true
possibility in some distant
and distinctive alternate reality.

In retrospect, I believe that my childhood
was and still is a treasure trove
and a goldmine of inspiring stories,
visuals, music, and feelings
that over time I saved within my memory
until the day when I would need
a boost of inspirational energy
to help fuel the poetry and the stories
that I would ultimately come to tell…
I truly believe that had I not grown up
how, when, where, and with whom
I grew up with my life would
have turned out very differently
and I would not have been able
to get through some of the things
in my life that led to me to learning from
all the lessons that I now know so well.

There were books that I read,
there were songs that I listened to,
there were TV shows and movies
that I watched over and over again as a child
that I loved and I thought I knew
everything about and every moment of
that when I rewatch and when I replay
them now I realise they were full
of many subtle, but amazing,
details and messages that have
a different, but still just as incredible,
effect upon me that reminds me
why it is sometimes important to return
to something or to somewhere that you
think you know like the back of your hand –
because everyone and everywhere
has more layers and levels of meaning
to reveal about themselves,
especially to those of us who have this
insatiable curiosity about so many things,
who are at their heart someone
who is and who always has been
unashamedly impressionable.

My Poem “Dear John Lennon (2011)”

Back in 2011, I wrote a poem called “Dear John Lennon” about the one and the only John Lennon and since today is the 39th Anniversary of his ultimately passing I just wanted to share it again as my tribute to one of the most amazing and influential artists of our time whose influence over the people of the world continues in so many ways will never be forgotten. If you have read it before I hope you will enjoy it again! 😌

“Dear John Lennon”

One of the most phenomenal,
inspiring, magnetic, influential,
and amazing men, musicians,
and poets, of the 20th Century –
you have had a remarkable impact
on my life, my Dad’s life,
and on the lives of millions of people
all around the world,
because you were the epitome of humanity,
and you always will be.

Your music has filled the homes,
the hearts, and the minds,
of my family, since before I was born –
in fact, the first Christmas present
that my Mum brought my Dad
was a copy of your album ‘Double Fantasy’,
and the album that I know my Dad
thinks about when he thinks of you
and he wishes to mourn.

I would have loved to have known you,
to have met you,
and to have talked to you, John;
even if it were only for a minute –
after listening to every one of your songs,
and the songs of The Beatles,
I have felt many times that you were
talking directly to me, to everyone-
and to this day, and beyond,
I feel as if your voice,
and your message has no limit.

You wrote and created some of
the most incredible, moving,
amazing, and true, songs
that I have ever heard –
every song is like
an amplifier of my own
thoughts, memories, troubles,
and hopes, and I am inspired
and enlightened by every word.

You are, were, will always be,
us, all, me, and everyone;
you believed, and you saw,
that the best of life, and the world,
can be achieved through peace, love,
and through striving to be
the best that we can become.

To me, you are one of
the greatest men to have ever lived,
and everyday I mourn you
like I would a brother;
you changed the world during
your short time on Earth
for the better, and forever;
and who you were, and what you
and your music mean to people,
is a star so bright it will
never be eclipsed by another.

Everyday your music reaches out
to people so profoundly
that they can not imagine a world
in which you were not a part of it;
everyday the love that you had within you,
and the love that people
will always feel for you,
manifests all over the world,
and enlighten’s your spirit.

You will live forever,
your voice will echo for all-time
through the minds and the hearts
of all who hear your voice –
tomorrow, a century from now,
and especially today,
the 8th of December, 2011;
I believe the world will one day
live in peace with one another, as one,
and fulfill your dream:
the dream of dear John Lennon.

RIP John 😢

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 “Insomniac”

During the early hours of the morning
I have been awoken,
my mind has been opened
like the creaking door of an old house,
and I feel something stirring within me…
the sky outside is still dark,
everybody around me is still asleep –
however, I cannot switch of,
nor retreat to the depths beneath
where I return to the realm of my dreams…
I try listening to soothing sounds,
I try listening to the music
of Vivaldi and Mozart
hoping that the beautiful
classical music will help me fall
into a delicate trance
like that of watching a falling leaf –
however, I am still wide awake
and it appears that the delta waves
of my brain were disrupted so severely
that they could no longer maintain
there normal restorative cycle
and pull me down and deep…
I turn off all the lights,
I lay my head down in a room of darkness,
I slow my breathing and I try
to concentrate on the white noise
of the stillness of the early morning,
and I hope that I will soon be able
to resume a mood of restfulness
and renew my state of snooze
by listening to the tune of The Sandman’s muse
and curing me of my insomnia.

My Poem “Multicolored”

Everybody is an individual,
a person, a spectrum of many colours
throughout their life…
no one can help what body they are born into…
everybody constantly hopes to be able
to one day express themselves
in the way that they want to
without feeling abnormal and as if
who they are on the outside
is not meant to fit in with
how the world is, how it is meant to be,
and how it is meant to look…
no one has the right to be able
to tell anyone that they cannot
be who and what they want to be.

Music is life, life is music –
and people in all their many colours
and with all their individualistic
facets are who make the music of life
as rich as it is, and without all
the many pioneers of individualism
and the proponents of staying true
to what you believe
then the world as we know it would not exist.

The best of humanity, the icons of history
who will be revered forever,
the ground-breakers who knew
even before they learned how to talk
that they were special, different,
anomalous, and exceptional
because they saw the world
and the question posed to them
without the jadedness of a dark cloud
of preconceptions hanging over them –
they are the ones who have always been
responsible for giving our world
the gift of pure inspiration,
ingenuity, and innovation
in the many levels of every day life
that different people live upon.

The best stories ever written
are of extraordinary people
overcoming a stereotypical boundary
that ultimately leads everybody
who learns of their story
to be inspired and choose to emulate them
and follow in their footsteps…
I believe that if you are someone
who is “different” from everybody else
then you should feel proud…
monsters, trolls, and bullies are different
and they are treated differently –
which is why people who suffer
from being singled out
often plague others with the same toxicity
as they are daily exposed to.

In my opinion, if you are different
from everybody else then
you truly are “special”
in every sense of the word –
and I have always believed that
when you embrace you own
individual eccentricities
then you may find that you share
more with other people around the world
who already know who and what they are
and who choose to let the light of their
multicolored soul shine like
the constituents of depth
that give light to a star.