My Poem “Vincent”

I have just walked out
of a profound experience…
I have just walked out into the sunshine,
after living and breathing
a breathtaking love letter to
and from my favourite artist:
the one and the only,
Vincent van Gogh.

Once again I have been captivated
and I have been inspired deeply
by the art of one of the most powerful,
evocative, poetic, renowned,
and also one of the most troubled
artists the world has ever known –
who time and again never fails
to touch me on an deeply emotional level
every time I am blessed to look
at a painting of his landscapes,
at a painting of his sunflowers,
at a painting of the cafe that he
regularly frequented in Arles,
and into the eyes of the artist himself
as captured in one of the many
self-portraits that he painted.

After every experience that I have
of either being near a real life
painting by Vincent van Gogh –
as I did in a London art gallery
a few year ago;
watching a film; reading a book;
or immersing myself in a documentary
about Vincent van Gogh’s life;
reading his immortal words;
hearing his indomitable voice;
or seeing his paintings projected
high and wide, like never before,
so that people can enjoy
the incredible gift of his art,
and learn more about
the trials and the tribulations of his life,
in an experience the like of which
I have just enjoyed with so many other people,
and during which I felt as if
Vincent van Gogh was in the room
with us and his spirit had come alive
so that he may connect with everybody
who had attended this celebration
of the life, the gift, and the art
of the incredible Vincent van Gogh.

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 “The Eyes of a Poet”

As the rain lashed down
on a cloudy day
I looked out the window
of the Diplomat café,
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 “At Ease”

At ease.
You cannot beat the feeling
of having nothing to do,
nowhere in particular to go,
and nothing that takes all
of your attention to do.
I never take the gift
of free time for granted –
those precious moments
when you can look at
the world around you
and truly see and pay attention
to so many of the small details
that go into making life so
fundamentally profound and poignant.
Seeking out peace and tranquility
is so essential when trying to recover
from the extremely tiring tasks
that we may be expected to perform
in our daily lives,
and finding a place and a time
where and when you can sit down
and take your ease
is wonderful beyond compare –
especially as we get older.
Time is never wasted –
even if someone appears
to be doing “nothing” –
because we are all constantly
interacting with life,
just as life is constantly
interacting with us,
and it truly does help to be
with your own thoughts sometimes
in order for you to reset, renew,
and refocus yourself.
We often take time for granted,
however I never get tired
of being out somewhere
and being inspired by what I see before me –
things which just call out to me
to see the poetry within them
that is just as free and just as powerful
as the light from the sun upon my face
or the feeling of a slight breeze
gently touching the back of my neck.
Life is poetry, and poetry is life.

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.

My Poem “Quotes”

“I have always loved reading quotes,
I have always loved sharing quotes,
I have always loved the way that
something that someone once said
is captured, written down,
and recorded for posterity,
because what someone in particular
said at a particular time
captured the attention and the imagination
of someone, got inside them,
and changed them profoundly –
sometimes to the degree that the words
that someone once uttered,
perhaps just in passing,
struck something deep inside
and grew to become their life-long motto
and the words that they daily live by.

The right quote, at the right time,
can be a powerful thing…
the right words, said by the right person,
when someone is sorely in need of wisdom
can be like rocket-fuel for the mind…
the right insight from the first-hand
experience of another person can be like
a parachute for someone – allowing them
to gently glide back down to Earth
from a place high above the ground –
when they feel like they are falling through life,
and it can create metaphysical wings
to make a person believe that they are soaring…
the right collection of interconnected letters
and words can reveal so much about
what is going on within a person’s mind
that they sometimes find that they have to hide
from everybody observing them on the outside.

Quotes are amazing to me,
because they are like gold nuggets of wisdom
and inspiration that people sometimes find
when they are sifting through
the fast-moving stream of life…
magical rainbows of colour and depth
that show themselves after a rain-storm
of uncertainty and unpredictability
that are brought to light when the right
conditions present themselves
and beauty arises and when truth
and nature come into alignment.

The best quotes ever captured
are poetic in so many ways –
and usually more so than the speaker
who was the source was ever conscious of
when they said them…
when I read something, when I hear something,
when I feel something in something
that someone else has said,
it is always impossible for me
to not be affected by it –
especially if what I have read, what I have heard,
what I have felt was something that
instantly and immediately had an impact on me…
to me some of the most inspiring words of wisdom
that still haunt the world
are the true ghosts and the real spirits
of people who may have long-since passed on,
but who will live on forever
through their poignant, timeless,
and immortal quotes.”

-Mark Hastings, 2019

My Poem ‘9/11’

The die was cast far and wide,
the pain was felt deeply and irrevocably
on that sunny Tuesday morning,
on the Eleventh of September, 2001;
terrorists to all mankind
came out of the shadows
from where they had been hiding
and made an attack
and left a lasting scar
on all of humanity,
that to this day still pains me
even now, 14 years on.

How could anyone do such a thing?
Why? Oh my god, why?
Who would think to do such a thing?
The innocent do not deserve to die!

I mourn the lost;
I am mindful of the loved ones
and the family members
who were left behind
and who still struggle
to live and to move on,
as if nothing happened;
I still believe that the entire world
is still understandably shell-shocked;
I have been to Ground Zero,
I have stood in the place
where the shadows of
the World Trade Center still remain,
and I can honestly say that being there
where so many people lost their lives
had a profound effect on me:
the new Freedom Tower
and the pools of remembrance
that are now in place of what was once there,
in memory of the indescribable tragedy
and the massacre that took place,
will always be to me
sacred and holy ground.

I have flashed back to that day
every year since 2001;
I have imagined myself where I was,
sitting in front of my TV,
watching the news reports
of the true American horror story unfold;
I have wished many times
that what happened on that day
could somehow have been prevented
by some miracle of heaven;
I have watched the echoes
and the repercussions of what happened
on that day spread and effect
everyone and every country around the world.

I am a man of many words,
but even I struggle to put into words
the sadness that I still feel
about all the people who died
in New York City,
at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.,
in Virginia, in Pennsylvania,
and everybody who has lost their life since;
I am a man who believes
that things happen for a reason,
but I cannot, nor could I ever,
nor could anyone for that matter,
give me an acceptable justification
that would make my confusion
about the murders that were carried out
on that day in any way lessen;
no deplorable and horrific act of terrorism
like that which played out
in front of everybody
on the 11th of September, 2001,
to me could ever make sense;
I will never forget;
I will never allow the fallen to be forgotten;
I will always hold on to the memory
of my unforgettable brothers and sisters,
as I hold up my hand
and feel my heart beating in my chest;
I will always remember
the day that will always be known as 9/11.

9-11-poem

My Poem ‘Journey’s Friend’

Journeys are more memorable when shared;
journeys are more meaningful
when they are unexpected;
journeys are more special
when you care about every moment
that you are somewhere;
journeys are more fantastic
when you do something epic and amazing
with a friend.

A journey does not have to take place
in a fantasy world for it to be thought of
as magical;
a journey to somewhere,
a journey to something,
can take an hour, or even a lifetime,
and can be just as profound
as watching a new star being born,
which irrevocably changes
the features of the face
of the night-sky forever;
a journey that gives you a gift
every minute and every step along the way
is one that is truly inspirational;
a journey that takes you far and wide
but also close and deep in the same breath
is a miracle in every sense of the word
beyond measure.

A companion to lean on;
a mate to understand you
and pull you through the twilight nights;
a partner you can always count on;
a sidekick to have adventures with;
an ally and a buddy beyond any doubt;
a Butch to your Sundance
you would want by your side if, when, where
you had to make the decision
to jump off a cliff.

A reader of your stories;
someone who you would walk into a burning building for;
a comrade who is one of the best things in your life
who sees the world in the same way that you see it;
a familiar face, who you wish
was always standing at your front door;
someone who you have an unbreakable bond with
that will still be there and strong, even after death;
the best person you know
who is always there for you,
because they are, as you are,
your journey’s friend.

My Poem ‘The Phoenix’

It was inevitable that it would happen,
it always happens;
it was always going to end and begin again this way;
it was inevitable that I would be burned alive
and come back to life,
because that is the pattern;
it will always be me dying to save myself,
and then rising again from the flames
with the same face, the same name,
the same heart, the same soul,
until it really is my Earth-bound last and final day.

Every time I come back from the dead
I lose nearly everything that I had,
but I do retain every detail of my past lives’ memories;
every time my world crumbles and turns to ash,
I return to the place I know,
the people I love, and the thing that is as a part of me
as I am of it- and that is my notebook and my poetry.

You always think that things will go on forever, until they end;
you always think that people will stay with you, until they leave;
you always think that you will always be someone’s hope,
inspiration, life, love, and best friend;
you always think that you know and have seen everything,
until you learn and you see something that you cannot believe.

My world imploded, and then exploded;
my identity was stripped from me and thrown away;
my life had to crash and then be rebooted;
my past, my present, my future, my horizons,
were all sent into flux, and blown away on the wind,
to be replaced by a blank page, an unknown,
and a feeling of loss and uncertainty.

Where once there was something rich, deep, bright, and hopeful,
there is now nothing to be found;
where once there was fate, destiny, reason,
the answer to everything in the entire universe,
there is now a hole in the shape of something wonderful,
special, and profound.

Night has become day,
day has become night;
everything felt simple,
even when it was vastly complicated in every way-
as long as I kept myself, in part, hidden in the dark
I would always end up turning my face away from the light.

Things ended because I was stupid;
I was ripped apart and burned,
because what happened was too far gone for anyone to fix;
I was everything that I have always hated,
but now I have died, I have been reincarnated,
I have been reconstituted, I have been tested,
I have been regenerated, I have risen again from my own flames,
and I am starting again and fighting my instincts
of continually being the human embodiment
of the mythological bird known as “The Phoenix”.