Mark The Poet – The Podcast: “Repetition is the key”

In this episode Mark gives an insight into his life as a writer, as a lover of inspiration and people, and as a someone who takes great delight in returning to the same places and doing the same things time after time – and how much he likes it when someone remembers his name, especially in Starbucks.

A Poem A Day #204: Starbucks

“Starbucks” by Mark Hastings was taken from Mark’s poetry collection ‘The Sound of Mark’ which was published in 2014 by Zeloo Media. Check out more of Mark’s poetry online @ http://MarkThePoet.Me – all poems © Mark Hastings

My Poem “The Burning Bulb”

This is what I remember...
this is how it used to be...
this is what I and many others
like me have been unable
to do for almost a year...
this is how I have spent
so many mornings as a writer, as a poet,
and as an observer of human nature:
sitting in my favourite café,
as the bells of a nearby clock ring out,
and feel like I am where and when
I need to be to take out my notebook
and write some new poetry.

It hasn't been the same experience,
it hasn't been the same magic -
even though I have not stopped
writing, nor creating new things,
over the last twelve months
I, like everybody, has had to adapt to living
in a world divided in so many ways...
even though I have not been
lacking in ideas, inspiration, drive,
nor passion to let my poetic side express itself -
now that I am back, sitting inside
and enjoying the ambience and the atmosphere
around me that I know so well,
which for years has fuelled my creativity,
I honestly feel as if I am able to spread
the wings of my intrinsically
poetic and artistic spirit.

I have learned over the years
to embrace every moment,
because things can very easily
be put on pause, beyond our control,
or can even be brought to an abrupt end -
which is why I often dwell upon memories
of where I have been, of what I have seen
and of what I have felt throughout my life...
I am someone who has always looked
to the distant horizon and to the future -
but when anybody goes through
a period of being within something,
or away from someone who matters to them,
everybody undoubtedly feels
this need to somehow go back,
to recapture and to relive all that to them
for so long has always felt like
a constant burning bulb of energizing
inspiration, light, and hope.

My Poem ‘The Writer Type’

I can always tell
another writer when I see them;
I can always tell poetry
whenever I read something
that someone has written;
I can always tell another poet
when I hear them speak
with so much passion,
energy, and depth of intuition
in their voice;
I can always tell
and I always know
when a writer has an idea
for something to write in some form,
because I have that feeling
multiple times a day –
and when you feel that need to write rise,
as a writer, you just know in yourself
that what is on your mind
needs to flow unabated
as a matter of necessity and destiny,
and not always as a matter of choice.

I have a sixth sense for creative people;
I have an instinct for the inspired;
I have been a member of the church of poetry
for years now, and I am its life-long disciple;
I have the greatest adoration for people
who can change the world with the power of words,
and to whom their love of language
is one of the greatest of all their desires.

I could sit with my notebook
at a table in Starbucks,
I could lay on my bed looking out the window,
I could sit on a bench in the park,
I could sit under the moonlight in the dark,
and be absolutely captivated and lost
in thought by the most incredible
and the most inspiring creation of my imagination –
as I try to interpret, convey, and convert
my thoughts into words
that perfectly capture
the constellations of my universe
into understandable verse.

When I write, it is a stream of consciousness;
when I daydream, there is never
any limit to what I can imagine;
when the rhythm of my soul takes me
and I give birth to a newborn of my own poetry,
I love the experience so much;
when the artistic animal
catches me its sights and its embrace,
there is nowhere to run…
which to me is my kind of fun!

I can always tell someone
who has seen the artistic light;
I can always understand
when someone says out-loud
that they do not know
why they are doing what they are doing –
however, in more ways than they can describe,
they just know that what they are doing
just feels right;
I can always follow the thoughts
and the emotions of someone,
and I love sharing my own
as I too spread my poetic wings and take flight;
I can always tell ‘the writer type’.

My Poem ‘Venti’

My heart is big;
my imagination is vast;
my inner voice regularly
becomes audible when I write or sing;
my vision is a constant bridge
to the future and the past;
my cup is always full;
my love is for the most beautiful;
my reason for being
does not have one meaning;
my life has been blessed
by the truly amazing;
I feel deeper than the deepest well;
every poem that I write
I like to think of as both
a seed and a fully-fledged tree;
when I see things that inspire me
I just cannot wait to capture,
show, and share all through my poetry –
because every thought that I have
is always the same size
as my favourite cup of coffee…

My Poem ‘The Rain Over Queen Victoria’

It’s raining today.
It’s not raining too hard, or too fast,
as I walk across Victoria Square in Birmingham,
and I step up the seven rain-soaked steps
at the foot of the pedestal atop of which
a teal coloured statue of Queen Victoria
stands looking out regally.
I am on my way to my favourite cafe,
when for a few seconds I stop myself:
I take a step back, and I look at the world.
It always amazes me how some people think
and remember to bring an umbrella with them
when they leave their homes;
I, myself, never carry an umbrella,
and probably never will –
I do, however, buy umbrellas as gifts for people,
but I never think to buy one for myself…
perhaps I enjoy getting wet so much
I do not want to, nor would I ever, use an umbrella,
even if I were bought one.

I eventually reach my favourite cafe.
I order my favourite drink.
I choose my intended dining table as I wait in line,
and I buy for my lunch something to eat
that I have never had or tried before:
I pick out a “Jambalaya Chicken” wrap,
that from the description consists of
“A flavour of the American South East
tender roast chicken, in a spicy Jambalaya sauce
with red peppers, white rice, coriander, and spinach
in a tomato tortilla”, and even in the few seconds that I had
to read what it was and what the mix of ingredients
of my potential lunch were made up of,
my taste-buds were already rocketing into overdrive,
and my stomach was already rumbling,
like an oncoming express train over the American mid-west.

When I sat down at my already chosen table and chair,
I unpacked my spicy lunch from its packaging,
I took a sip of my hot drink,
I placed my mobile phone on the table in front of me to my left,
and then I took out my notebook and my pen
and I placed them right in front of me.
After a few minutes of settling myself,
and taking in the atmosphere of where I was,
and then looking out of the door
at a Victoria Square that was now being
pummeled by heavy rain,
I took a bite out of my tortilla lunch,
and almost immediately I felt heat,
I tasted spices, my mouth was already salivating with pleasure,
and I was for a few minutes, and long after,
satisfied, happy, and filled with thoughts,
sensations, and inspiration,
and all the more intensified than usual –
I am not sure if it was the Jambalaya in my tortilla,
my latte coffee, the sound all around me,
or the sight of the wet weather getting worse
outside the cafe’s window, as I sat dry and content.

Within no time, I was writing a new poem about everything
that I was thinking and feeling – this poem, if fact;
and then within minutes of finishing my written down
feelings and musings, it was time for me to leave
the warm and comfortable place where I was,
pack away my belongings, put on my coat,
and return to the outside world in which the pour from above
was far from over, and the rain was still falling
over Queen Victoria.


My Poem ‘Poet’s Corner’

I am sitting here writing;
I am sitting here musing about the world;
I am sitting here enjoying a coffee-
the voices of people,
and the sounds of everyday life;
I am sitting here alone at my table;
and on the table next to me
a fellow poet is meeting up
and having a conversation
about how they just wrote a new poem,
about how beautiful the new day’s morning is,
and about things that they have seen
which they find exciting, inspiring, amazing,
and they sound just like I do in my head,
and I cannot stop smiling.

The poet sounds like they are from South Africa,
by their accent;
the poet is talking to their friend,
and they sound and they talk with so much
clarity and passion.

The poet is wearing a poppy;
the poet is not eating or drinking anything;
the poet is definitely someone after my own heart,
and obviously, to them, living, breathing,
writing, communicating, is not just a hobby;
the poet and his friend, it turns out,
have never met before,
and have only communicated over the internet,
until this moment;
the poet is describing a “great adventure”
that he has undertaken, and is still on,
and they are obviously, genuinely,
happy about the joys in their life,
and what they have gives them,
and what having a connection with people brings.

It is truly unbelievable what happens in life.
It is no accident who you may sit down next to.
It has been my experience that artists, writers,
poets, and people of deep thought passion,
and imagination, are drawn to each other
by a mutual drive;
it is the way of the universe
that people are who they are,
and the way that they are,
and there is an important reason
that people do what they do.

I watched in silence as the poet and his friend
exchanged gifts and spoke about what their presents
and their presence means to them;
I was hypnotized by their conversation,
by their story, and by everything they said;
I was enthralled, but I was sad –
because I knew that I would probably
never see or hear these amazing friend again,
but I too was thankful to them both
for coming into my life,
even if it were only for a sparing,
precious, and short time,
and the whole time that I was in their presence
I was unbelievably energized and phenomenally inspired.

There are too many coincidences and commonalities
for life to be just a string or a chain of accidental encounters,
there are too many things that matter to too many at once
for them to be unconnected,
even if they are the separate lives and stories of strangers.
There are so many places on this Earth
which attract people who share a brilliant,
beautiful, open, heart of a storyteller;
there are places like this place
that I am sitting in right now
that have a meaning and a power to them –
which I like to describe, and which I believe,
are amazing poet’s corners.