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The day had been planned for for months;
the moment had been imagined and re-imagined
over and over over in my head;
the thought about what I would say gave me goose-bumps;
the alignment of all the stars that had to happen
to bring about a meeting of minds, lives, books, authors,
still makes me feel like a kid at Christmas again;
the anticipation, the journey,
the waiting in-line outside the grand Waterstones bookstore
in Birmingham with my friend,
is something that I will always remember,
and it will always be special to me-
I remember bringing more than one book to get signed
by one of my favourite authors,
but just the thought of what I was doing
and who I was doing it with,
and the memory and experience that I was sharing
was what truly made me happy.

Being a writer can sometimes be a solitary endeavour,
and by its nature writing must be a personal act
that only you can do alone;
being a writer can sometimes feel like you are a traveler
off on an adventure,
and the only person who can truly understand what its like,
what it means, and what you can do,
is another writer who is on their own journey-
while sitting in a coffee shop surrounded by sound,
or a writer in their own space,
writing feverishly on their computer or in their notebook,
in the comfort and solitude of their home.

What I loved about waiting in-line for so long
was that I got to listen and notice people around me,
who were just like me,
and who were just as excited about coming face to face
with someone who made them imagine, think, feel,
something, and share something with someone else-
that is exactly what happened with me:
I read something, I was touched by something,
I was gifted an amazing story,
because of a phenomenal and magical writer,
and I instantly felt the need to share it-
as if I were under a spell.

When my friend and I reached the top of the windy stairs,
and finally came eye to eye with the author
that we had both been looking forward to meeting,
I honestly felt like the author, myself, and my friend,
were the only people in the bookstore,
at the book signing event,
and that everyone had suddenly, magically, left;
it was amazing looking down at my favourite writer,
talking to him about how I loved his writing
and the inspirational commencement speech
that he gave a few years ago
which made me too go off on my own creative quest-
however, the truly amazing and the most epic thing ever
was when I took out my own book that I had signed for him
and I handed it to him as I told him that I too was an author,
and to this day I still remember what a thrill,
and what an honour, it was when my favourite author
accepted my own gift and then extended his hand to me,
and in that infinite and fantastic moment
I felt a connection and a transference of knowledge and wonder,
and storytelling magic, from one author to another.

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As I dream at night,
when I wake up in the morning,
as I walk in the sun, and in the rain,
through forests of trees,
and along streets of light,
I hear a sound,
I feel a calling,
I decipher the chaos,
I feel on fire,
I see, read, and imagine poetry,
in every leaf, in every smile,
in every look, in every raindrop-
the energy of the world gets into my veins,
the inspiration of the universe
makes me feel like the king of the cosmos,
everybody I know and everything about them,
and all that I know, has my imagination and thoughts
jetting off faster and higher than an airplane,
and just as I am right now-
everything twists around me
and I feel like I am in the eye of a storm,
seeing and watching things that appear fractured
from the outside looking in
come together and fuse forever
like a blanket of frost.

I will never forget the moment I heard the sound;
I will never forget who inspired my voice;
I will never forget the shock-wave that I felt,
like a lightning-bolt hitting the ground;
I will never forget who I was and who I knew
I would always be- as a matter of destiny, not choice;
I will never forget what began, what came first,
and what it was like to instantly feel
like all this time I had been traveling through the heavens,
but I just hadn’t realized it;
I will never forget the moment I became the poet.

The journey has been bumpy;
the road hasn’t always been smooth;
the sky above and my vision has on occasion been cloudy;
however, I have not stood still, I have kept on the move;
I have written about love,
I have written about loss,
I even wrote a poem once about a lost glove;
and every day I write with a pen and paper,
or I create something with my soul
on the canvas of my mind, with all my heart,
and I am consumed, happy, free of fear,
alive with life and inspiration-
like I have emerged from the waves of a sea
and I am now walking in the soft sand of the wash.

When you realize that you have a gift;
when people tell you that you should pursue your talent
and see where it takes you;
when you know that you have something to offer someone
who needs what you have inside you
you can feel your own heart racing in your chest
and your pulse beating in your wrist;
when you see truth, hope, purpose, potential, and goodness,
emanating like an aura from certain people
that you are fortunate to meet,
the things and the people who give us so much
are who we too want to do all for and give back to.

The ‘Poet of the Sphere’ is who I will always be,
and the first book of my poetry
is only the first chapter, the first volume,
the first teaser, of the whole story that is me;
now, I am stepping into the future
with memories and experiences from my life,
hoping to share who I will always be in the light of the day
as well as in the twilight of the dark,
and you can be sure that when you read
or hear the voice of the Poet of the Sphere,
you will forever know, and you will forever recognize,
the unmistakable sound of Mark.

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The sound of a spanish guitar being played
wonderfully and exquisitely by its player
echoes around the circular chamber
at the centre of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery,
and everybody standing, sitting, looking, is enraptured,
surrounded by magnificent and beautiful paintings and artwork,
and all before a statue by Jacob Epstein sculpted
to represent the archangel Lucifer “the bringer of Light”
from John Miltons epic poem ‘Paradise Lost’,
and the resonance and the music that fills the crowded space
noticeably lifts everyone off their seat and off their feet,
and I can tell that I am not the only one who feels like
they are in another world, and we all are feeling this sensation
of being cleansed in some way-
just like that feeling we all have
after we have splashed our faces with water
just after we wake up in the morning
and the first thing we all do when we wash.
I feel like a deep-sea diver, at the bottom of an ocean,
in a magical underwater realm,
and I feel like I can actually see the beautiful
and wonderful sound waves being created
and travelling through the air and touching everyone squarely in the chest;
as as if in slow-motion, I see the moment in everyone’s eyes
when the power of the music hits them and they feel it
at the same time that they hear it,
and I watch them be drawn in and be enraptured
and be lifted in so many ways.

There were points during the performance
in which I clearly remember what I was thinking
and who I was thinking about-
during the faster guitar playing, for example,
‘The Spanish Dance’, I could actually feel my heart racing and beating fast,
while during the slower songs I remember having flashbacks
and recollections of fallen and lost friends
who I will never see again.
Unfortuntely, I cannot remember all of the names
of the beautiful guitar pieces-
they all had an interesting italian- or spanish-sounding name-
but they were all amazing, and I honestly felt so
privileged to be there to hear them being played
to me and a captive audience,
and I can honestly say that being lucky enough to be there
was a true right-place, right-time, moment,
and it was a magical experience in which all that there
felt like there was in the time that the music was being played,
and we who were hearing it were all that existed,
as well ad our own individual memories and shared emotions,
and everything that we all brought with us to that echo chamber
of a room, which was filled all the way up to the glass dome above
with divine sound and necessary silence.

When the players were not playing
you could hear everything- a foot-step, a pin-drop, a heart-beat,
the vibration of a still vibrating guitar string.
Sound is special. Music is unparalleled.
The voices of people and man-made instruments
of all types, shapes, and sounds, fascinate me.
Sound is something we feel deeply.
Music is like a constantly ringing bell.
The voice of an instrument would not be the same
without the unique voice, gift, and life of it’s player,
and there is nothing else like living, hearing,
and feeling, the most beautiful string poetry.

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Everyone has their likes and dislikes;
everyone has an opinion about what is the best,
even when we are a child we have our favourites-
a favourite toy we like to play with,
a favourite teddy-bear we like to carry around everywhere,
a favourite blanket that we hold onto tightly for comfort and security,
a favourite bike, a favourite colour that can equally make us feel
calm and quiet one minute, and then the next have our heart
beating fast in our chest.

Throughout our lives we grow to love things more and more,
and we can even gain a new appreciation of some things
that we always claimed wholeheartedly to always hate,
because nothing ever last forever,
and because invariably our tastes do change over time-
there are some things of brilliance and greatness
that we can discover and happen-upon late.

Our favourites are individualistic and say much about who we are
and about the life we have had and the life we live;
our favourites are what make our entire day
and can be what we think about and breath every minute;
our favourite person, our favourite song,
our favourite lesson, our favourite road
which we travel on which is never a mile too long,
our favourite book, our favourite car,
our favourite cook, our favourite drink at our favourite bar.

Our favourites are our favourites,
because they make us feel something;
our favourites are our favourites,
because they make the world feel like there is nothing missing;
our favourites are our favourites,
because they make us feel at home
even when we are far-away from what we know
as well as the back of our hand;
our favourites are our favourites,
because they are special to us
and not just another grain of sand.

My favourite book is ‘The Little Prince’;
my favourite film is ‘The Shawshank Redemption’,
or, depending on the day, ‘500 Days of Summer’;
my favourite colour is Blue;
my favourite writer is William Shakespeare,
and he has been from the moment I first read his beautiful words,
and every time I have re-read anything penned by him every day since;
my favourite song is ‘To the moon and back’ by Savage Garden,
but I also love John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’-
and to me these songs are songs that no one else
could ever truly cover;
my favourite thing to do is write,
but, if you know me already,
that would be something that you already knew.

What is my favourite now hasn’t always been,
nor should it ever be-
things are meant to change, as we are meant to change;
as we live, learn, and experience new things and see new things
we grow and change, bear fruit, and take in,
and are a person and a product of our environment, circumstance,
mood, and our emotional metamorphosis that we sometimes go through,
because of something that we feel and see.

Your favourites are your favourites, but they could also be
the favourites of someone you know,
or of someone you have yet to meet-
but who you might meet because you share the same love
and appreciation for something,
and because you bask in the light that something,
or perhaps someone, daily emits;
your favourite table, your favourite chair,
your favourite place, your favourite passion-
there is always an amazing story and an amazing reason
why something touches you, and why something, or why someone,
becomes your favourite.

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The events of life are uncertain;
what will happen to us cannot be planned;
most of what makes the world work
is hidden behind an invisible curtain;
what is supposed to happen to us
is something that we have to come to and get to
on our own sometimes,
because there wont always be someone
to show us the right path and guide us by the hand.

Life is not always good.
Life is not always spectacular.
Life can sometimes feel like a lie.
Life can sometimes feel like you are standing in an ocean
with the water-level just below your head,
or like you are trying to withstand
a raging torrent in the middle of a flood.
Life can sometimes feel like you are walking around
with the pain of a fracture.
Life is what you succeed at every day,
just as long as you are willing to make an effort
in something that you believe in and feel passionately about-
and something that might not always be a work of art
that everyone will love,
but it doesn’t matter as long as you can always say that you tried.

One day can feel and can be a perfect, beautiful, sunny day,
while the next can be a rainstorm that doesn’t want to stop;
one day you can feel on top of the world,
while the next can be like you are living and existing
in an infinite reality of bubbles that are continuously forming,
floating, dancing through the air,
and then when you least expect, they go pop!

Some days can appear beautiful and bright,
some days can seem claustrophobic and dark;
some days can feel endless and hopeful,
and even at the end of the day when you think
you have seen and experienced it all,
you can suddenly look up at the sky
and see a vibrant display of colour,
even as the stars shine at night.
Some days, some days can seem like you are
constantly trying to escape from a prison,
and like a prisoner people just look at you
and see a number instead of a name-
as if at some point in your life
you were branded with a barcode
that can be read, or some other indelible mark.

You can’t always be who you want to be all the time,
because not everyone is able to understand you,
and most of the time you hide behind something
to disguise your true feelings and emotions-
so as to not start a hopeless fight, or get into a drama;
you can’t always say what you want to say,
because even though we can understand
a little of what someone says
sometimes you realize that you are in fact
talking a completely different language entirely-
because every conversation feels like a struggle,
and getting across what you want to say
just feels like it is getting harder and harder.

Every day can’t be aurora’s, shooting-stars, rainbows,
happy-filled, new adventures, that are blessed above
with blue sky and golden sunshine-
some days you may not even have a minute to yourself
to do what you want to do,
because it feels like everything is just work, work, work.
Every day is a lesson.
Every day is a mixture.
Every day is a creation of something that is of you-
some days it feels like you are a cook
cooking with an infinite number of ingredients,
that you just hope will come together at the end,
to make something worthwhile,
and so that when you look back on your life
you know that you did everything you did for a reason,
like a true Heisenberg.

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A little boy jumping in puddles,
a little girl kicking and tossing
a collection of leaves on the ground-
the joy in their faces,
the pure excitement in their bodies,
is exhilarating to see and to witness;
just as it is brilliant to see a child
be encouraged and compelled to be excited
by their parents, and not told off
for doing what they are doing-
being a kid.

A child has a right to be free more than anybody
in discovering the answer to ‘If I do this, what happens next?’-
they might learn a valuable lesson
that will stay with them their entire life,
and depending on how their parents respond to them
at particular and important moments
will be the difference between them aspiring to be more,
see more, and experience more,
and walking the line of hope and trouble,
and knowing the value of something and someone;
whether it be an acquaintance, a friend, a gift,
a house, a sunrise, a rest, a cup of coffee,
a hand-hold, a look, a relationship-
just as they will always hopefully know
the true value of a hard-earned dollar, or a pound.

One of the best moments to witness
is when a child hears music for the first time,
and it instantly makes them dance, move,
and sing along to the lyrics
and replicate with complete accuracy all the right
choreography and dance-moves, words,
and the inflections of the artist
who is the author of the song they are hearing,
and it truly moves them like no other form
of communication of any kind.

Children love to express their profound joy
and overwhelming passion for life in every way-
whenever they can, wherever they can, with whoever they are with,
and they never hold back, unless they are stopped in their tracks
by something they have never seen before,
and then the expression that you see on their face
is absolutely priceless:
it’s like a mix of wonder and confusion,
bliss and captivation;
something new to a child, like a new song,
is like magic to them, and they don’t mind listening to a song,
or seeing something, over and over again.

They say that we lose much as we grow up, get older,
and sometimes we forget the pure unadulterated enjoyment
and the thrill of exposure of our inner-self
and our untempered emotions for all the world to see-
because we are so worried about what other people
will think and who society, for all its good,
tells us we aught to be-
a child doesn’t have that,
a child doesn’t need that,
a child should have boundaries,
but not those that will stop them
from doing from doing the impossible,
from overcoming and clearing the fences
that can threaten to restrict their metamorphosis too much.
A child doesn’t need to be told what they can’t do,
they need to be shown and encouraged in the things they can do
and will do;
a child can grow up anywhere
and as long as they have what they need when they need it,
a child can and will change the world-
it happens everyday, it has happened everyday of human history-
whether that child is born into poverty,
doesn’t have all that every other child they go to school with has;
whether that child is deaf, physically or mentally challenged, or blind-
any and every child can be something amazing and someone spectacular,
as long as they are surrounded by love and support,
and while they are a child they are allowed to be free,
discover, and be who they want to be,
and can make every moment of their lives
an important part of their play time.

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There is no more powerful light in the dark;
there is no more powerful and beautiful beacon of hope and happiness;
there is no more powerful feeling that you feel beating every second in your heart;
there is no more powerful reaction than sitting back
and marveling at the gift that you wait all year for-
the gift of family, the gift of belonging, the gift of dreams-
covered in flashing lights and tinsel, and festive ornaments,
around your tree of Christmas.

The Christmas tree is an amazing legacy;
the Christmas tree is a symbol of love and family;
the Christmas tree is the most wonderful story of an entire year;
the Christmas tree is the most inspiring and colorful,
phenomenal and emotional experience for some,
because it is something that so many people
have a hand in making it what it is,
and it can be enough to bring you to tears.

Whether it is getting the Christmas tree from the attic
that your family have had and have used
and will continue to use for years to come,
or the fantastic and amazing ritual of actually going
to a Christmas tree farm and picking a real, green,
and still growing pine tree-
everything that comes with the finding and the choosing of the one tree,
the favourite tree, the right tree, is the best and the most exciting ceremony
and custom, and it will continue to be as it has been
since the tradition of the Christmas tree began.

The feeling of a real, freshly-cut, Christmas tree is amazing.
The smell of a real, pine, Christmas tree is so intoxicating.
The sight of a real Christmas tree forest is something you never forget,
and the thought of it takes you back to when you were a child.
The idea and the understanding of what Christmas, family,
life, is all about and why it is important to remember as much as you can
about every moment can be found and felt in the seed that still remains
at the heart of every real Christmas tree.

The decorating of the tree is something that can be enjoyed and made real,
and can be the actual time and moment when Christmas begins-
when a family gathers together and unpacks all the decorations
that they have been saving to use for a whole twelve months-
it can be the cue and the first note that makes your
festive and hopeful heart sing.

For children, it is something that they will always remember
and look forward to all their lives, and it will forever
bring back happy memories for them, and remind them of the real meaning
and importance of why we do what we do;
for adults, the Christmas tree- everything about it-
can be just what they need to give them back something
they may have forgotten, and which they have been missing;
for everyone, Christmas, and a Christmas tree especially,
can be more and can mean more,
and can only feel the way that it does at this time of the year,
and it can be a way of looking forward and looking back in synchronicity,
feeling a part of something already existing,
and also of something brand new.
For the lucky ones who have the real Christmas present every day,
all year round, of having a family around them who they love
and who loves them in return, Christmas can be exhilarating,
invigorating, thrilling, and the most wonderful blessing.

This time of the year means a lot to me.
To me, Christmas is more than a season of gifts and presents
and buying the most, it is about giving and receiving a part of yourself,
a part of someone who means a lot to you, who you love,
and care about unconditionally.
This time of the year means keeping everyone as close to you
as they can possibly be.
To me, Christmas is about coming together
and gathering around what we all share,
and there is no greater thing to assemble around
than a beautiful, and breathtaking, Christmas tree.

I have been thinking a lot about New York recently,
actually I haven’t stopped thinking about
the city of my dreams since I left.
I still remember the taxi ride that I took to the airport
when I knew I was leaving, and actually becoming teary-eyed,
and incredibly sad to leave-
I felt like I was leaving a part of me behind,
I felt lost, I felt bereft.

As I watched the skyscrapers disappear in the distance over my shoulder,
I remembered every extraordinary moment that I had
in the best city and my favourite city in the world;
I remembered the friends that I had met for the first time,
who I cannot wait to meet again;
I remembered the places that I visited,
and even now can still remember every detail of every moment-
from the faces that I saw, to the sounds and the noises
and the voices that I heard-
I still feel I am reliving every overwhelming and inspiring moment,
as if I can easily jump backwards and forwards in time
from the now to the then, and back again.

Being in New York City was one of the best times of my life.
While I was there my entire destiny came into focus,
and I realized where I was and where I wanted to be.
Being in New York City, feeling the energy of everything
and everybody inside of me made it possible for the first time
to connect me to a higher knowledge of purpose,
and I felt unbelievable wherever I was-
whether I was standing in Times Square being bathed in colour
by the giant screens or the flashing lights,
or standing at the top of one of the tallest buildings in the world-
and I even remember closing my eyes and reaching above me,
as if I could literally touch the sky.

I can still remember the smiling face of my friend,
the fantastic street-performer Natalia Paruz
playing her musical saw in the subway,
I can still feel the elation that I felt every second
I was standing in front of her hearing her completely hypnotized
and in-awe of her, watching her, talking to her,
telling her how I couldn’t wait to come back to New York
even though I hadn’t yet left, seeing her again,
maybe even collaborating with her someday,
and being a part of her music that truly moves me like no other,
and of course hear her and watch her play.

I can still remember standing in Grand Central Station,
being surrounded by what seemed like thousands of people
all in transition to somewhere else;
I can still remember waiting for my amazing and awesome friend Kyle
to arrive and for us to share a meal and a meet-up together
that was epic on every level,
and added on an extra level of magic to my time there-
and the Umami burger that we had was to die for, I can tell you,
and it tasted like nothing else.

I feel like I am still sitting in Central Park sometimes,
on my favourite bench in the shadow of a statue of William Shakespeare,
in the incredible and beautiful golden light of the early morning sun-
every morning at seven I would wake up, get dressed,
walk out of my hotel, go to my favourite coffee shop, Starbucks,
and then walk through Central Park,
and then just sit there and take in everything that I saw, heard, and felt,
and feel like I left my own impression there, my own shadow there
for me to one day return to and find and relive again the incredible experience
that it is to be a part of the place that makes your heart beat like a drum.

I don’t want to forget anything that happened while I was in New York City.
I don’t want to replace the memories that I made there,
and I don’t want to forget the joy that I felt taking every step
down every avenue and street on every sidewalk.
I want to go back as soon as I can.
I want to go there and share everything that I know
and will always love about this city,
and what it will always mean to me.
I want to go to the crown of the Statue of Liberty,
look back at the city, and stare, and say out-loud
the thing that I have been repeating in my mind and in my heart
from the second I left and longed to return:
and that is that I love this city so much,
I love my New York.

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The most natural need of everyone on this planet
is to better themselves;
the most amazing feeling you can have
is that of achieving something;
the most phenomenal day of your life
is when you look around, look forward,
and look back on what you have done,
and you can feel light-headed and heavy-hearted,
and you can genuinely and unashamedly feel so proud of yourself;
when the most life-changing moment of your life-
a moment that feels perfect in every way,
and in every detail and sensation-
comes, and you realize its arrival,
it is like the moment when you know that you have met
the one person you want to be with for the rest of your life,
and share every day of their life with them,
and one day wear their ring.

In life, we never stop learning.
In our mind, we never stop thinking.
With our emotions, we never stop feeling.
With our best intentions, we never stop dreaming, believing-
its all a part of the great gift that is called ‘living’

Everyone is a student of life.
Every baby born right this minute,
every child taking their first step
on their two feet for the first time,
every boy and girl falling in love with each other
and sharing their first kiss;
every man and woman whose love has come together
in the most amazing, incredible, and wonderful way their is,
and they discover they are going to become the parents
of a beautiful child-
everybody, everyday, experiences something that,
if they are very lucky, will inform every hour that follows,
and if they have a dream that they are working towards
and making a reality in every thing that they do,
their lives will be rich like no other,
and every instant will be one that they don’t want to miss.

Today is graduation day for so many people-
even for those who never went to college or university.
Today is graduation day for anyone who reached a goal,
or made something that is uniquely theirs,
that is something you can stare at and remember
how you got to where you are-
like a diploma, or a certificate, or a driving license,
or an application approval letter, or a baby-
something that wouldn’t exist without you
that was worth everything that you had to put into it,
that you marvel at every second, and is so beautiful.
Today is graduation day for everyone who started somewhere
with something, but who wants more,
who is driven in some way to do and to find their way,
and their ultimate reason for living,
on the endless and infinite path of their destiny.

Every day, every one of us can achieve something
that will blaze a trail that will light our future,
and be a beacon for others to follow, and achieve something
epic, amazing, magical, of their own when the time is right
for them to shine and use the gifts that they were born with,
but which just needs to be harnessed, mentored, and molded,
and given every support and encouragement;
because that will be everything that they need to do
all that they need to go above and beyond
their original motivation,
and become and realize that they and anyone can achieve anything.
Everyone, no matter who they are, where they are,
what they are doing, where they have come from,
where they are going, can have their own day of graduation.

I’m sitting in my favourite coffee shop,
enjoying a large, dark, incredible, exquisite,
cup of coffee that tastes as if the coffee beans
had been grown in the garden of Elysium,
and brewed, made, and poured on Mount Olympus by Zeus himself.
The taste in my mouth, the sensation, the experience,
the feeling of swallowing the hot coffee is like nothing else!

I am in another place, I am at another time;
I see new people that I have never seen before around me;
I recognise others that I regularly see
frequent this same coffee shop,
and at the same time of day with me-
they recognise me too,
they are in their own world…
but there is something in the air:
in the taste, in the smell,
in the temperature of where we are, that accentuates, combines,
and makes everything about these brief, enjoyable,
shared moments feel sublime!

The drug that intoxicates me,
heightened by the taste of the coffee,
opens my subconscious and makes me broadcast
my happiness and my contentment to everyone who sees me.

The world outside is calling me back,
but I don’t want to go…
The only thing that could make me happier is sharing this,
sharing everything, with someone-
someone who is like me;
someone who appreciates every second, every moment, like I do;
someone who doesn’t need to say anything,
because they feel what it is I am feeling anyway, always;
someone who just knows.

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