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If I could go anywhere, where would I go?
If I could be anywhere, where would I be?
I would love to be walking the streets of New York City,
or looking out the window of Starbucks on 6th Avenue,
where I vividly remember sitting, reading a book,
writing a poem, and enjoying a cappuccino.
I would love to go for a walk in Central Park,
hand-in-hand with my best friend,
and then sitting by the pond at the centre of the park
on a bench with not even the sounds of the city
to be heard, as we sit there in bliss,
as we hear the call of birds singing in the trees.

If I were to wake up in the morning and find myself in Georgia,
I would be over the moon.
Right at this moment, and almost constantly throughout the day,
I fantasize about climbing the Blue Ridge Mountains
and being inspired by my muse as she guides me
and shows me all the beautiful sights of the “Peach State”
and being in two states of America simultaneously at times,
because I will literally be able to walk and cross a state line
with the ease and simplicity of whistling a tune.

Listening to my favourite music with my friends, at the same time,
in the same place- all of us together for the first time ever-
would be so awesome and so epic hearing the same songs,
moving to the same beat would be one of the best,
the most perfect, the most amazing experiences of my life,
and the most fantastic and idyllic.

Eating an orange on a beach in the hot Florida sun,
would bot only be incredible right now,
it would be so much fun-
hearing the waves crashing, as I take a bite of every segment
of the most juicy and delicious piece of fruit I have ever had
in my entire life, would feel like being in heaven,
and I would give anything after finishing my orange
to be able to get up, take off my flip flops,
and go for a long barefoot run.

If money was no object, if any wish that I made could come true,
I would go to my nearest airport and I would book a one-way ticket,
I would go somewhere special, I would go somewhere new.
If the destination could be anywhere,
and if the means to get there could be any form of transport.
I would go to the place that my heart beats for,
and where I dream of being, fly off into the sunrise-
whilst all the while seated in my window seat looking out,
looking forward, while still holding on tight to my boarding-pass
and my passport.

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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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Every time I can, any day I am free,
I like to visit my favourite coffee shop wherever I am,
in whatever town or city I am in,
and sit down, listen to the always great music playing,
take in the ambiance of inside and outside,
maybe even have a Blueberry muffin
in my usual seat, at my usual table, looking out the window,
while enjoying a frothie caramel-drizzled coffee.

I love coming back to my favourite coffee shop,
I love visiting a store I have never been to before,
and because of the inspiration that I imbibe from being here,
and because the atmosphere is always amazing and different every time,
I always stay in to drink and eat-
for me, every time I come to Starbucks, it is never just a short-stop.

I have been to many different coffee shops,
I have been to many different Starbucks in different cities
and towns around the world-
from Birmingham, Solihull, and Coventry, in the UK,
to one or two of the many Starbucks in New York City-
early in the morning for breakfast,
in the afternoon for lunch,
or late at night surrounded by bright lights.
Every experience I have had in Starbucks
has been one that I always remember, and I am always inspired by,
and every time I come to Starbucks
I do feel like something wonderful and new has been awakened in me.

I have been to Starbucks alone,
I have shared deep, meaningful, and phenomenal
states of transcendence and conversation with friends,
I have written poetry after taking a mere sip of a Machiatto,
and feeling like I have been transported to a wonderful,
inspiring, fascinating, connected, inclusive, Wi-Fi, worry-free zone.

I have never wanted to be anywhere else than in Starbucks
on a rainy day like today,
enjoying my favourite caffeine-filled beverage,
looking around, thinking and seeing where my attention will take me,
enjoying every moment, and making the most of every second
of reflection and refraction-
not knowing where my thoughts, where my imagination,
will carry me, nor where it will all end.

In Starbucks you can sit down in a comfy chair,
chat with your friends, laugh, joke, surf the internet,
drink, eat, write a poem, read a book;
in Starbucks you can be anonymous,
you can be anybody, you can say anything, you can feel so much,
you can meet someone you have known for years,
you can meet someone new,
you can realise something you never knew-
because there is no other place that I love coming back to,
than my favourite coffee shop, the place with the deepest of cups,
the one and only, Starbucks.

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Saw Lady Natalia Paruz

From the second that I woke up in the morning
and I opened my eyes, and the curtains,
to let in the beautiful and spectacular light of the sun
on this day of inspiration and destiny,
I knew that this day,
the day that I had been waiting a long time to come to pass,
would be the day to give me a gift
that I had dreamt of, hoped for, and wished for, for years,
and as soon as I walked out of my hotel room
in New York City, and I walked down 6th Avenue,
and then down 57th street to the subway station
on the corner of 7th Avenue,
I could feel an energy all around me, enticing me,
calling to me, drawing me down the steps,
and through the subway tunnels
to the 34th street/Herald Square station,
where something amazing, where someone phenomenal,
beautiful, and unbelievable,
was already playing the music of her soul for all the world to hear,
for me, and who I knew, just as I could not wait to meet her,
she could not wait to meet me.

After I got my ticket at the ticket machine in the subway,
I went through the turnstile with the swipe of my ticket,
and then descended again deep into the New York City Subway
to the platform for the ‘Q’ train going South,
my heart was beating so hard in my chest with anticipation,
I was lost for words,
I had no idea what would be the next word I said,
I didn’t know what the next thing would be to come out of my mouth;
but I could hear The Music in my ear, in my mind,
and in my heart, all the while-
and that was why to everyone who was staring back at me
in the train car when I stepped on board, and sat down,
all they would have seen and remembered of me
was the ‘I love New York’ t-shirt I was wearing,
my wide eyes, and my big smile.

As soon as the train came to a stop, the doors opened,
and I set foot on the platform, turned left,
and then I ascended the stairs to the mezzanine,
I felt my heart open like the petals of a flower,
I felt captured, carried, ensorcelled,
I felt more amazing than I have ever felt before;
and when I reached the mezzanine,
when I heard the most beautiful sound
I have ever heard in my entire life
as clear and as perfect as the sound of the ringing of some
cosmically-important, resounding,
and heart-racing, transcendental bell,
I looked right in front of me,
as if there was no one else in the subway,
or in the rest of the city,
and I saw ‘The Saw Lady’-
the phenomenal and amazing, the wonderful, incredible,
majestic, unbelievable, my friend, Natalia Paruz,
and within seconds of me seeing her she saw me too
and greeted me with her shining, astonishing, and magnetic smile,
and with us making eye-contact with each other
for the first time ever, I just looked at her with a smile
on my face, so happy to be looking at her,
so lucky to be around her,
so overwhelmed, so energized, so caught-up,
and unable to look away from her,
completely and utterley in-awe.

When we spoke to each other,
and every time I heard Natalia say anything to me,
I felt like we were in our own little bubble of connection
and consciousness, and I felt like I was in the presence
of not only a fellow artist, but also a kindred poet,
who when she plays her saw so beautifully
she was not only creating and playing vibrating and stunning music
that from the amphitheatre of the subway
echoed and sent waves throughout the entire planet and beyond,
but also the most incredible, gorgeous, natural, perfect,
and timeless, poetry.

Natalia then played a song, but not just any song-
a song that I felt and sounded as if she was playing it for me,
and no one else, and that me being here to hear her play
this beautiful, haunting, and incredible, song was something epic,
meaningful, meant to be, extraordinarily captivating, and inspiring-
like an act of fate, a miracle of the Angels of heaven,
it felt like destiny,
and hearing Natalia play is the most amazing thing
I have ever seen, or heard, in my entire life,
and meeting Natalia, The Saw Lady,
so long after first hearing her, and contacting her,
and telling her how unbelievable her music is,
and how much I love her playing,
meant so much, and for the rest of my life that first time,
and all the times I will see her and hear her play in the future,
will forever mean the world to me.

I didn’t want to walk away.
I didn’t want to return to the outside world
and leave Natalia’s aura, her constantly emanating
and immersing spirit that was who she was,
and what she lets flow and be conveyed through the air
in the sonic oscillations and in the divine motions,
reverberations, and vibrations-
like hearing the heart-beat of the universe…
and then my heart let out a silent cry of pure happiness, serenity;
and in that infinite moment I closed my eyes,
I said goodbye to Natalia,
but not with a sense or a pang of sadness-
with a knowledge and a feeling
that I would see Natalia again and again,
and because of that I walked away and I rejoiced-
because of her music, because of what her saw playing
and all the music that she is gifted to be able to endow
and present to the entire world…
music that is so beautiful and special;
hearing Natalia Paruz, my friend, “The Saw Lady”,
is the most incredible experience ever,
and when you hear her, like I do,
you will never forget her amazing face,
her beautiful smile, her miraculous music,
her fantastic heart, and her sawing voice.

Me and The Saw Lady

Above the Atlantic Ocean beneath me,
above the world that appeared in every direction
consisted of white fluffy clouds
and a beautiful light-blue sea-
above me, below me,
as I looked out the window from my airplane seat,
I looked, my mind drifted to the horizon,
and I felt something come over me:
I felt unburdened, I felt anticipation, I felt free.

Everyone around me just sat in their seat,
reading, listening to music,
watching a film on the screen in front of them,
escaping in their own way,
and passing the time to their destination,
to our shared destination-
I just looked away from the beautiful sight outside the window
for a few minutes and simply looked up
and around me at my fellow passengers,
and I have to admit I was amused by everyone I saw
with fascination.

I was drawn to a smile by all the faces that looked back at me;
I was drawn to wonder who it was that I was sitting behind,
in front of, to the side of, and around;
I was drawn to listen to what was being said
and in what language that orignated in what country;
I was drawn to feel a shared experience, a mutual thought,
a genesis of unclouded memory,
thirty-five thousand feet off the ground.

The vast cotton-like expanse of the white clouds below
reminds me and somehow makes me think of a far-away land
completely covered in snow.

Before we all know it our time together on the plane
flashed before our eyes like a sudden burst of bright
beautiful light from the small windows,
and our 6 hour, 3000 mile journey came to an end
the moment we descended from the clouds
and landed at Newark Liberty International in New Jersey.
When it came time to disembark,
I must admit I sat there for a while longer in my seat,
watching everyone else get their belongings together,
before I too got up myself
and took everything that I had brought with me
and everything that I will take with me-
all that I saw, heard, and felt on my flight across the ocean,
from my seat, Seat 32C.

Every second of every minute,
every hour of every day,
the world turns on its axis,
and having seen the sights of this beautiful city,
having breathed in its air,
having felt every sound invigorate me,
wash over me, and overwhelm me,
it truly feels like this city is not just any city,
its people are not just any people-
it feels like this incredible city, New York City,
is the beating heart of the entire planet,
the centre of the world, the consciousness of reality,
the voice of humanity speaking to the rest of the galaxy.

It’s hard to describe what it feels like
and what you are thinking when you walk the streets and avenues
and you are surrounded by sound, colour, life, love, light,
passion, energy, boundless and breathtaking distance and height-
you find that you are constantly either looking to the distance,
or looking up at the buildings which you cannot see the top of
no matter how hard you try.

Walking through Central Park,
sitting in Central Park, as I am doing now,
on a bench directly facing a statue erected in honour
of William Shakespeare-
hearing, seeing, and feeling the mist of the sprinklers,
inhaling the smell of the grass,
sitting in-awe of the trees that surround me in every direction,
feeling the warmth of the invigorating and glowing golden sunlight,
looking up at the leaves on the trees
unlike any green I have ever seen,
watching people running through the park-
something that people actually love doing,
something that feels so special and unlike being anywhere else-
Central Park, to me, feels like the imagination
of not just the city, or Manhattan,
but also of something greater!
Being here is like a dream, being here is unbelievable,
being here lifts you up, makes you see things,
makes everything clear.

This city has really got under my skin.
This phenomenal, incredible, and beautiful, city
has captured my heart, opened my mind,
gifted me a sense of belonging-
as if I could easily stay here, walk this park every day,
dodge the millions of people on the sidewalks,
wait for the illuminated white figure at the crossings,
ride the subway, meet so many amazing and inspiring people
as I already have and feel like I was meant to be here,
like I was always meant to be here, like I never want to leave-
because that is exactly how I feel when I stop and I think
and I take in every second of peace, serenity, and exhilaration
that being in this city gives me.

This city is a city to be shared.
This city is a city that never stops giving,
and where everything and anything is there for the taking.
This city is a city beyond any expectations
that you could have of a place before you saw it,
and more special than any dream that you could chance to imagine-
to imagine such a place like this before you could see it
with your own eyes, you would not dare.

This city, New York City, means a lot to me.
This city is the place that I cannot wait to return to
again and again, and share every second of its importance,
and revel in its hustle and bustle,
and take-in every inspiring detail as the streets-
the people, its buildings, its life-
makes me feel phenomenal, overwhelmed, and empowered
with the most amazing energy.

This city is somewhere which speaks to me.
This city is somewhere where I feel like I am a part of it,
and it is a part of me.
This city is somewhere I am utterly, tearfully, so sad to leave
because it is somewhere that made dreams come true for me,
gave me experiences, and opened my eyes to another world
of hope, strength, optimism, and prosperity.
This city is always going to be there for me,
and I will always be there for it,
because there is so much for it to show me,
and so much more for me to do, feel, and see.
This city is The City.
There is nowhere else on Earth like New York City.

Only the sight of the sun
could bring a hive of activity like New York City
to a stand-still on a hot summer night,
only the sight of life’s glowing orb of power and influence
dancing on the surface of the horizon of the rooftops of Manhattan
could make everyone look West at the sunset in silence and awe
at the reality-shattering sight.

The traffic down 42nd street stops,
people get out of their cars and momentarily abandon them
so that they can witness with their own eyes a perfect moment:
seeing the sun so bright, bold, and beautiful takes your breath away
and lifts up your soul as high as a sky-scraper,
seeing and sharing such an experience
in perfect synchronicity with the rest of the universe
is a life-redefining event.

The buildings form one structure, and act like an endless tunnel.
At the end of this man-made construction,
the sun’s magnificent light is reflected off every window,
and its silent gift is seeded to every observer
near, in person, far-away, or through sharing the experience
somehow in some way, and makes us all feel humble.

There are things in this world that we can’t control,
but which fill us with hope and bliss;
there are moments in time that can’t be described,
nor reciprocated, in detail, as well as we would wish-
one of those experiences, one of those moments,
must be being there to see ‘The Manhattan Solstice’.

On a cold February morning,
as the wind blew bitter cold
and the clouds in the sky were as white as snow
and appearing to be giving a sign to all of forewarning,
as I walked down the steps of a subway
my ears and my mind could not believe what they heard-
the music that played out and got louder as I drew nearer to the source
was entrancing, energising, beautiful- I was truly lost for words.

The subway tunnels were like a network,
branching in all directions left and right;
but the music guided me to its player,
as if each echo were a beacon of not only sound but of flashing light.

As I turned a corner, I immediately felt powerful sound-waves hit me
and reverberate through my body,
I was instantly stopped in my tracks
as I came face to face with the eclectic
and amazing musician who seemed genuinely happy to see me
and to be playing for me.

The incredible music I discovered was coming from a musical saw,
and it was being played by a woman who I will never forget
and I will always remember her name:
Natalia Paruz, the “Saw Lady”,
whose music was and is unlike anything else I have ever heard,
and the joy on her face told me that
she was doing what she loved and what she loves is playing.

I don’t know what she was playing for me,
for all I know it could have been a completely new and original creation
that she was composing as she played;
it didn’t matter,
what this incredibly-gifted woman was playing
as she sat looking up at me was magic in every way.

I don’t know for how long I stood watching, listening, imagining;
but I suddenly became distracted
when I noticed that other passers-by were approaching.
As always, I remembered that I had somewhere to be.
Still entranced by the woman’s music,
and wanting very much to repay her for blessing me with her gift,
I took out five dollars from my pocket-
all the money that I had on me at the time-
and I put it into the gold buckect in front of her,
and I again saw her amazing smile as I watched her face lift.

Not long after leaving the subway,
I sat looking out of the window of a coffee shop at the rest of the world
that was now being bathed in bright sunshine,
as I reflected on the woman, her saw, and on her music.
I was still overcome by the experience of meeting the musician in the subway-
even though it had only been for a short amount of time,
it was unbelievably-meaningful and beautiful-
I can find no other word, there is simply no other way
that I can find to describe her, her music,
and the way that her music made me feel,
and continues to make me feel, without using the word epic!

I hope the subway continues to echo
the beautiful voice of the saw player forever.
I hope that even when she is not there
she is there in people’s mind and heart who have heard her play.
I hope people will never stop being intrigued and ensorcelled by her.
I hope the entire world will one day be blessed
to hear the beautiful symphony of the saw lady of the subway.

Check out Natalia “Saw Lady” Paruz’s amazing and beautiful music
by checking out her website www.SawLady.com, follow her on twitter
@SawLady, or perhaps you may be lucky enough to hear Natalia’s
beautiful saw music in person as she plays on the New York City subway.

Ten years ago, I literally watched people die right before my eyes
and I couldn’t do a thing about it, I couldn’t save them-
on September 11th, 2001,
I, like billions of people all around the world,
watched almost three-thousand lights be extinguished in an instant,
the like of which we will never see again.
I could not believe what I was seeing at first-
I could not put into words the horror that I felt, the horror that I saw-
and then when the World Trade Center began to fall
I just remember putting my right hand to my chest,
as if I were having a heart attack,
and thinking that the entire world had gone mad,
that the whole world was now at war.
I will never get over what I saw on that Tuesday afternoon;
I will never understand why someone, anyone,
would freely choose to impact the world in such a deplorable way;
I will never again look at the stunning New York City skyline
and not think of that day.
If I could I would carry a picture of everyone who died on September 11th-
in New York City, at the Pentagon, on Flight 11, on Flight 175, on Flight 77,
and those who lost their lives heroically on Flight 93-
if I could I would look at every face, every day,
and send them and their family my love, and the gift of my poetry.
To those who died on September 11th, 2001,
this poem is for you.
To those who carry the memory and relive that Tuesday
whenever they look at themselves in the mirror,
this poem is for you.
To those who observed, who were touched,
who will never forget September 11th, 2001-
this poem is for you.

This poem is for you

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