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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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There you are.
You are the one I have been looking for.
I have traveled far and wide,
I have seen the world, and I have cried.
The universe has been waiting for us to find each other;
the tree of destiny has been waiting for the seed of us
to grow and connect us and bind us together.

On a clear night, I look to the stars and at the moon,
and I see you;
during the day, I think about you and I follow you,
I look at pictures of you,
and I bathe in the light of you.

On a windy day, I watch the trees sway;
on a sunny afternoon, I sometimes look up at the blue sky
and I see the moon;
on a trip somewhere, I travel miles without even knowing it,
because all I hear is your song play;
on a summer’s day in June, there is no one else
who I want to see or talk to than you.

Even in a dark garden, under the white light of the moon
glowing like a pearl and shining like it is alive
and full of expression, you would be and you are
a twilight flower who blossoms and touches the life of another,
and the source and the inspiration of their obsession;
even in a bright sunlit garden, surrounded by colour
and other flowers of every description,
you would stand out from all of them,
as if you were a flower on fire,
and even the bees would come to you first
to get what they need,
and after they have they would be addicted to your pollen.

I will never forget what I saw,
and I will never forget what I felt,
in that first instant after I first saw you;
I will never see you any other way
than how you have always been
and how you always will be,
because your infinite perfect beauty
is you and only you;
I will never forget everything you said to me
and everything you say to me,
because they are the drug and the effect
from which I live to feel always,
and never want to become immune;
I will never forget the rocket ride
that I take every time I look at you,
because, to me, it is like an epic journey to the moon.

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You saved me as soon as I met you,
you caught me as I fell,
you raised me up from the gloom,
you made me come out of my shell.

A hero doesn’t always need a suit,
a hero doesn’t always need a name,
a hero can give you something to listen to
when you have been spending a lot of you time
having the rest of the world on mute,
a hero can be someone who saves you every day
again and again.

You saw me instantly for who I was,
you accepted me for all my flaws,
you embraced everything I gave
and gave back to me the most incredible love,
you created doors where there were only walls.

A hero is always there when they are needed,
a hero is constantly on a journey,
a hero can be any age, in any walk of life-
a hero can be a teacher, policeman or a policewoman,
a carer, an artist, a writer, a friend-
and the most unique, but humble, unbelievable,
and special person you have ever met,
because they can always lift you up and show you
things you can’t see.

You were like a burst of beautiful light from the sky,
you carried me far and away like a kite on the wind,
you would give you last dollar to anyone in need,
because you are so generous, and because you are kind-
you cared for me when one person to hold me
and never let me go was all that I wanted.

A hero has super-powers,
but sometimes not those that you would expect,
and to see them for how incredible and super they are
you have to see them for what they are.
A hero knows you and would never forget you.
A hero would never take you for granted
and would always see you and describe you as a star.
A hero is a hero no matter where they are-
sometimes they don’t even realize that they are a hero,
because they are who they are, and they just do what they do.

You make me smile every day.
You have saved me countless times since we met,
in more ways than you will ever know.
You fill me with hope, and when I am with you I am unafraid.
You are untouchable, you are bullet-proof.
You are a dream come true, you are my hero.

The lonely word.
The lonely heart.
The lonely world.
The lonely art.
The lonely voice.
The lonely face.
The lonely choice.
The lonely race.

You can sometimes think you are walking alone
even when you are in a crowd;
you can sometimes feel you are hearing nothing
even when the world sounds so loud;
you can sometimes see the world distorted;
you can sometimes hear the distant call
of someone who you may not have seen for a long time,
who is nowhere even near you at that exact time-
like the voice of a ghost,
but even though you can’t see that person
you have no doubt as to its origin,
and you will swear on your life
that you heard the person that you heard say what they said
in the way and in the voice that they said it.

The lonely soul just wants a mate.
The lonely journey is always more bareable
when you have got someone to travel it with.
The lonely note just wants to be played
until it becomes a source and a beacon of hope.
The lonely time can be when you are on a break.
The lonely place can be when and where you feel
like you have nowhere to be and nowhere to live.
The lonely mark can be the brightest and the most wonderful
and wise question and answer that can help you to cope.

Sometimes when you feel the most lonely,
you are the most surrounded by friends, energy,
affection, and love;
sometimes when you feel like you need somebody so badly,
you already and always have them with you-
because they are like the stars that are always there
twinkling in the dark heavens above.
Sometimes when you feel like you are being infected by something,
you are actually being cured;
sometimes the most inspiring and breathtaking thing in the world
can make you feel something incredible,
but can also be the loneliest of words.

It’s never what you set out to do;
it’s never what you ever plan for;
it’s never what you think
will ever need to happen-
but then you realize it is the only thing you can do,
it is the thing you must do,
it is the thing that is necessary to prevent
things getting as bad as they were before;
sometimes you have to even reset a relationship
to remember, to rediscover, to reignite, the passion.

Even the best of things from time to time
needs to be turned on and off again,
rebooted and restarted-
even our senses and our instincts
can sometimes benefit from a readjustment-
especially if you have been tested to your extremes in some way,
if your life feels like it is going astray,
and like everything is just not going your way,
and for some reason you just feel sad or broken-hearted.

If you own a car,
sometimes you discover that you need to replace its battery;
if you manage a team and your aim and goal is to win every game,
sometimes you realise that you need to infuse your team
with new blood to shake things up;
if you are running a marathon,
sometimes you have to pick up the pace;
if you try not to worry about what is going to happen next,
you might just see what you have been trying so hard to see
where you never would have expected it to be;
if you change your normal rhythm and walk a different way
in a new direction, meaning and reason will find you
without you having to look;
if you go away and come back to something important,
to you an entire new universe might appear and open up for you
that is more wondrous and infinite in appearance than outer-space.

Everything and everyone must go back at some point-
even a finely tuned guitar needs to be retuned sometimes;
even an expensive watch sometimes needs to be rewound;
even the most state of the art machine, piece of technology,
or software, needs to be upgraded, or sometimes replaced-
every state of being can only last for a certain amount of time;
even a part of your body may one day need to be substituted
with an artificial equivalent-
like a new heart valve, or a new elbow-, or knee-joint;
even a good crop needs to be cut down, sold,
and then resowen, so that cycle of growth can continue,
from the Earth to the air, and then back to the ground.

Even the day has to turn to night at sunset;
even our minds have to switch off and dream,
and run away with themselves when it is dark;
even an every-day hero starts somewhere
and ends their journey somewhere else
that they may never have ever planned to be,
or could ever have expected-
that is their arc;
even a life needs to come to a full-stop,
needs to be reassessed, and like anything that is complicated
to sometimes understand, which we can sometimes take for granted,
sometimes needs to be reset.

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It all begins at the Birmingham Moor Street train station,
on Platform One, as I stand behind the yellow line,
and the yellow painted words ‘MIND THE GAP’,
as I wait for the 10:01 train to Stratford-upon-Avon.

I love train journeys,
but I dont make them that often-
the last train journey I took was on the New York Subway
last year, and I loved every second;
for me, going somewhere, anywhere, even if it is somewhere
I have been before, but not for a while,
is always an adventure, is always inspiring, is always fun.

It’s a rainy day, but the wet weather doesn’t leave me undettered;
the cloudy sky above looks like a black and white photograph
from another world.
Travelling by rail- through the green countryside of the places I know
so well, and seeing them and passing through them at high-speed-
gives me a new perspective of them, and I love the places I know
even more than before, and their importance to me
has never rung more true than the last time I heard the sound of a bell.

Walking the streets where Shakespeare walked,
seeing and hearing all the people who are visiting England
from all over the world,
seeing tourists of all nationalities excited about being in Stratford-upon-Avon,
William Shakespeare’s home, as much as I am, makes me smile-
and as I look and listen, see and think,
the streets, the history, and the infinite stories of so many people
jump out at me, and their latent voices talk,
and this place of inspiration I can already feel inspiring me,
and the magic of words and language that I can feel everywhere is undeniable.

I love returning to a place I have been to before, but with new eyes,
a new heart, but with already magical accumulated experiences
and memories that I bring with me and walk with me always.
I feel more at peace here now than I did before,
I keep expecting to turn a corner and actually bump into Shakespeare
still walking these roads and paths, like me,
like I am doing today, and he and I actually looking at each other
in the eyes as our mutual spirits exchange a powerful poetic connection-
like two kindred spirits- as we two hear the voice of nature
and life’s beautiful call.

This place is a writer’s paradise;
this place is an artist’s dream;
this place is a people-watcher’s place to be,
because every thing and everyone
is worth looking at more than twice;
this place is a great place to visit, feel, and to be.

Sitting and having my lunch in The Black Swan-
with a roaring hot fire to my left,
the theatre right in front of me outside the window,
and to my right the rippling river Avon-
I sit, I look, and I don’t want to leave.
The rain is stopping now.
The blue sky is returning.
I am reflecting on the day I have had,
and the journey I have taken,
that has inspired, compelled, and availed me.

The last place in Stratford-upon-Avon that I visit
is Holy Trinity Church- the place on this pilgrimage
that I wanted to revisit and pay my respects to the great
master of language, and my eternal inspiration and idol,
the one and only William Shakespeare.
Standing before Shakespeare’s grave again,
I feel introspective-
my mind, for the first time in a while, is quiet,
and as I bow my head before his grave and monument
I feel the connection between he and I so unwaveringly and so clear.
And as I leave his church I feel something amazing come over me,
and my mind feels as turbulent and changeable and full of colour-
like heights and depths of the atmosphere.

When the end of the day came, and I was on my way home on the train,
I left Stratford-upon-Avon reinvigorated with hope, optimism,
and inspiration from so many things that I saw, felt,
and experienced for the first time and again while I was there-
the moments that will not easily be washed away,
and I just wish I could have shared my time there with someone else;
but as I think that, as I am writing about my day
and as I re-read what I have already written,
I realize I have and I am sharing everything with someone else-
with you who is reading this now,
because you are interested in me and my life
and the things that inspire me like nothing else,
and because, first and foremost, you are just like me,
and because you care.

Today has been amazing.
Today has been about me meeting Shakespeare,
and about William Shakespeare meeting me.
Today has been fun, exciting, enlightening,
and in a word: inspiring.
Today has been, and will always be,
the day I found something I have been waiting to fine for a long time-
today was an adventure, a pilgrimage, a trip back in time,
that like a great book that you never want to close or put down
opened my mind wide, and like my life so far-
every second surpassed the last.
It was the most epic, great, and amazing journey.

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I asked a friend who I should write about next,
and they said that I should write about me-
and then I started to think about what people know about me,
what my friends know about me, what those who I have loved,
and who love and have loved me, know about me,
and what I know about myself,
that I haven’t told anyone else before
that still remains a mystery.

My family know the day I was born,
where I was born, and where I grew up;
my friends know where I went to school,
who my teachers were,
and who I was in my developing years;
my close friends know what I like, what I love;
my best friend knows what I am thinking about all the time,
and knows the road I walk every day,
and knows the direction I am going,
and knows what makes me smile, and what brings me to tears;
my muse, my love, the voice I hear all the time in my head,
the one I dream of every night, knows me better than anyone
and knows my heart’s desires, and is with me every second
of every day, and who wants everything to turn out for the best
for both of us, and is my inspiration, strength,
and my future, every step of the way.

I was born on the 21st of April, 1981,
on the maternity ward of a village called ‘Marston Green’.
I grew up and still live in a village called ‘Meriden’
in the Centre of England, and surrounded by the most beautiful
and inspiring scenery, fields, and forrests, I have ever seen.
I went to high school at ‘Heart of England’ school
in ‘Balsall Common’, where I first fell in love with English
and literature, and where I had my first crush
on a girl called ‘Helen’.

When I left school, like most of my friends
and like anyone of the age of 16, braving the undiscovered
and new horizons of an unknown and scary bi wide world,
I didn’t know what I wanted to do, nor who I wanted to be-
I had no definitive direction to go in but forward,
but where that would take me I did not know,
but I knew that only one person would be the only one
to give me what I needed and who would be the key-
and that person was me.

I could never have predicted what would happen in my life.
No one could ever have told me what I would see,
what I would feel, what I would write.
I could never have wished, or ever have guessed,
that I would have been truly blessed every day
by something, or someone, that was both my day
and my night light.

So, is there more to say about me?
Is there a secret that has yet to be uncovered
and admitted to the world?
Why of course there is!
But what that is, both you and I will have to wait and see.

This is the last page of the last chapter
of this edition of my book, before I begin a brand new chapter
of a brand new book, and on the first page I will begin
the first poem of the next chapter of my life
and my journey-
I already know that it will be filled with so much
of what and who is in my life now, and always will be;
but I also know that my new book will be full, infused,
inspired, interlaced, with new muses, and new musings,
new dreams, new experiences, that could only have been possible
because of everything that has always been and is constant,
and will never change-
but I know with complete certainty that what is to come
and what I am going to write about
will be about things beyond my imagining,
and, unlike this poem, wont be all about me.

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There are times when you feel you have to get away;
there are times when you need to have a change of scenery;
there are times when the weight of reality
can feel too heavy;
there are times when there is only one thing
you can do, and one place you can go,
to bring you back down to Earth,
and which has always been and always will be
your sanctuary for reasons you could never
share or ever say.

For some people their escape can be a dream
that they imagine and remember;
for some people their escape can be somewhere
filled with people, music, intensity,
and outward displays of freedom and emotion;
for some people their escape can be a place
they have been coming back to ever since they were a kid,
and would go back to every day of the year-
from the 1st of January to the 31st of December;
for some people their escape can be somewhere quiet
that they go to by themselves when they are alone,
or somewhere they go to with someone else
who feels the same about the place as you do
and is the only other person in the world
who can understand why your heart beats so fast,
because they too have been spiked with the same love potion.

The escape can be you home.
The escape can be a holiday you have been waiting to go on.
The escape can be a song or an album that makes you feel
more hopeful and more amazing the more you replay it
and the more you listen.
The escape can be a person who knows you
and who loves everything about you,
just as much as you love everything about them.

Your escape can have a plan.
Your escape can be a point on a map.
Your escape can and should be something that makes you happy,
and not somewhere you want to escape to forever-
your escape shouldn’t ever feel like a trap.
Your escape can be a life-long journey,
or a mission to fulfill something primal, or instinctive,
and could see you jumping from an airplane,
jumping off a ravine, travelling over many bridges,
and through many tunnels, just so that when you reach the ground,
or you finally feel the light you have been chasing,
you achieved something you wanted,
and you did something you needed to do,
and your reason and your mantra the whole time was
‘I am doing this because I can.’

Choosing to escape is not a mistake.
Choosing to escape is a choice everyone has to make.
Choosing to escape can be slow at first
and then accelerate into the speed of a chase.
Choosing to escape can be the first thing
you think about when you look in the mirror
and you see you own face-
everyone has a place to go to for what they need
and for what always makes them feel better,
and for me right now this is my escape.

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I put everything into every thing;
I give all my attention to something or someone as much as I can;
I make the most out of every instance,
and I hear and I feel the significance and the difference
in any and every thing;
I believe every word, every song, every action,
every gift, every talent, every touch, every look,
has meaning to it, and that there are life-changing moments of light
and clarity that are a beacon to a new direction you are destined to take,
and not just a flash in the pan.

I am so sentimental.
I never forget a thing.
I love holding on to pieces of the past,
and remembering the actions of people
whose life was torn away from them before their time,
like a constant memorial.
I have a hard time letting go of people who meant something to me
and to this world, who gave so much every day
without a second thought to the recompense their choices would bring,
who would have given all that they could to anyone, to their last.

Everyone is searching for peace.
Everyone wants a little satisfaction once in a while.
Everyone is eager and grateful for some much needed release.
Everyone wants something in their life to make them smile.
That is why people keep so much and never throw anything away,
that is why some people cherish memories, photographs,
messages, and letters, from those who we will never see in the flesh again,
but who still live, and who you can still hear and talk to,
because of the connection that will forever be in what they shared with you-
for some it is what gets them through the hours of every day.

Don’t ever forget a thing.
Don’t ever regret a thing.
Don’t ever forget anyone who touched your heart,
made you smile, made you think, made you dream.
Don’t ever regret any thing that has happened,
because if they never happened you wouldn’t be able to ask
the question of what could have been-
and then not be able to see the amazing journey
that you took to get to where you are from where you started,
and remember all the great things than happened in between.

I never get enough of the intensity and the passion of somebody.
I never get enough of seeing the intensity of someone’s light.
I never get enough of the intensity, the love, that you feel
when you know that the well-being of others is a welcome, full-time, job
for someone, and not just something they can simply pick up
and put down like a hobby.
I never get enough of feeling the intensity of life.

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