Mark The Poet – The Podcast: Episode #40

Happy National Read A Book Day 2020!

Happy National Read A Book Day! 📚📖 I know that not that many people seem to read books these days, like they used to; however, in times like now – when reality seems like a fantasy that we wish would come to an end and revert back to how things used to be – everybody needs some kind of escapism in order to remove themselves for a small amount of time each day so that they may feel hope, joy, and wonder once again. Books and stories are one of the greatest forms of entertainment and escapism, because to fully immerse yourself within a story, you, the reader, have to become a part of the story as the imagineer, the architect, and the artist who paints the picture of what somethimg or someone looks like with the power of your imagination by using the words on a page as a blueprint. As someone who is the author of ten books of both poetry and fiction I am most likely biased when I say that books hold a power within, especially when we hold a book in our hands, that is unparalleled to anything else. Being a writer is an incredibly empowering experience; and as a writer, knowing that people actually read what you write and like what you have written is phenomenonal and humbling and that feeling of creating a connection with someone is absolutely inspiring. 🙂

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.

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 “The World Book”

The layers of our world
are like the infinite pages
of a book of stories, secrets,
truths, colours, and characters
that is so vast and epic in scale
and in depth that if it were
not already a planet
it would need to be as big
as the Earth is in order
to capture and to understand
the mysterious, the thrilling,
the poetic, the dramatic,
the suspenseful,
the often unbelievable
and the unpredictable
world that we live in
and which we all have our own
opinion of concerning where it all began,
where we are, and where are collective
story will ultimately one day take us.

Most things in this world
have a system to them
that are as predictable
and occur as regular as clockwork;
however, because of several
outside influences,
some twists and turns in every journey
require everything and everyone
to adapt to what they find themselves facing
and become a chameleon of the times
that they find themselves living in.

Some things will always change,
some things will stay the same –
but no matter what anybody does
or doesn’t do
this world will keep turning
and creating new life,
because this world was once blessed
by the light of creation of our mutual sun
and the most important star
in our sky that has never
stopped shining down upon us.

This universe of galaxies, of stars,
of planets, of rock, of gases,
of matter, and of energy
that we do not yet fully understand
the behaviour of but we have,
of course, already given a name to,
is the beginning, it is life,
it is everything,
it is where things makes sense,
it is where we are still learning
every nuance and characteristic of
and the reason for its ultimate existence.

Everybody in this universe –
especially those of us here on Earth –
are a blessed and gifted storytellers,
even if they don’t already know they are,
and each with their own story and version
of reality to interpret and to convey;
because it is in the nature of everything,
in everybody, in every atom,
in every consciousness,
in every thought, in every instinct,
in every idea to be it’s best self,
but since we all mostly have a choice
in what direction we will choose to take
the path, the actions, and the outcome
of everyone’s life can only be uniquely theirs
and no one else’s –
which can be a source of confusion for some people;
however, when you really think about it,
life on any kind of scale is not meant
to be fully understood
but each of us naturally have our own
beliefs and thoughts about why things
are the way that they are,
why some things will always turn out
the way that they always have done,
and what is it about all the stories
ever told, retold, and reinterpreted
that just fits perfectly into the vast library,
that when seen from space
is spherical in appearance,
that has a name, “Earth”,
and which will eternally be
the title of the book that is our world.

My Poem “Story of a writer’s life”

Whenever you ask a writer
what the hardest thing to do
when writing anything is
they will most likely tell you
that the same thing that is
the hardest thing to do is also
one of the most essential,
one of the most fundamental,
one of the most amazing
and one of the most fulfilling
things that a writer can do:
to finish things, to end things,
to conclude things, to write a definitive
and effective last verse that defines,
underlines, and gives a new insight into
what the meaning of a work
of literature might be,
why its underlying message
might be enlightening,
and also the reason why an author
chose to explore a particular story
or subject matter in the first place.

It is always good to restart a story
the minute after you have just read
a particular book. Why?
Because no matter how much you think
you know about the story
that you have just read
there is always more to be found
within the lines of text,
especially with a god-like insight into
what is going to happen before
the characters do,
because by restarting the story again
you are turning back the clock
and resetting an entire world
of characters whom you know more about
than they know about themselves –
which gives everything
a fresh new perspective.

Stories and storytellers
are to what, and they are to whom,
everybody turns to when they want to be
entertained, enchanted, educated,
and illuminated about something
or someone that has a tale to be told
about the what, the when, the why,
and how so much of life
revolves around and is built upon
stories told by storytellers
who might have spent countless hours
retelling, building, understanding,
and trying to capture
a sometimes indefinable magic
that they once found themselves
inspired by and compelled to grasp
the ball of entangled threads
that combine to create every single
word, of every single line,
of every story, of every writer,
of every creator since
the beginning to time.

Happy Birthday, Bowie!

It’s been 4 years since we lost David Bowie – on January 10th, 2016 – and today – January 8th, 2020 – would have been David Bowie’s 73rd birthday, and I wanted to write a post to wish one of the most interesting, inspirational, and influential artists the world has ever known a very Happy Birthday – who is hopefully looking down upon us all right now.

To celebrate David Bowie’s birthday today I wanted repost the poem that I wrote for him following his untimely death in 2016, called:

“Always the Starman”

Now it is you
who is the Starman in the sky;
now you know the answer
to the question “is there life of Mars?”;
now you can see just how much
you made us all smile
and how much you made us all dance;
now it will be the stardust of you
that will fall to Earth
and makes our minds sparkle
like the stars at night;
now and forever you will be a hero
for many and not just for one day;
now you can embark
on your own space-oddity;
now and forever through sound and vision
you will speak to us
and you will sing to us all from afar;
now that you have reached
the centre of life’s labyrinth,
and as you now look back
and touch Earth from heaven
with an outstretched hand –
from one poet to another,
this is my tribute to you,
the Starman of Magic in the sky,
who will always be the eternal
and the immortal artist of life David Bowie.

And I also wanted to repost my poem that I wrote last year which was inspired by a brand new piece of street art inspired by David Bowie, called:

“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

And I also wanted to honour David Bowie once again by taking inspiration from his album Aladdin Sane and paying tribute to its iconic artwork by adorning the “Man in Black” who is the central character and who is on the cover of my book Playing God – which includes stories featuring a powerful hero who was also inspired by David Bowie and his timeless legacy of inspiring and motivating people to do unbelievably things… just as I was! Take a look at the Aladdin Sane-inspired cover of my book Playing God below:

And today is also the day when I have decided to start using my Collectors Edition David Bowie themed Moleskine notebook to begin writing who knows what? We shall see:

So, once again, I would like to wish the late great David Bowie a very happy birthday and I would like to thank him for all the inspiration that he has given me over the years!

Rest in peace, David!


1947-2016

-Mark