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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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Since I was a kid
I have been exposed and interested
in every decade of the 20th Century,
and I have always been fascinated
by the phenomenon of things created in different decades
that were a staple and an example of their time
that come back into fashion, and the touch of the influence
and the art of them continues to inform the present
in many different and brilliant ways.

I feel like a collage of styles,
likes, lessons, morals, and trends;
I love the fact that I am not stuck or constrained
in any particular way of dressing, thinking about,
or seeing the world, and I never have-
I have always loved individuality and originality,
uniqueness and specialness,
and the things about life and people that never
detract and always enhance.

There is a reason why things repeat;
there is a reason why ideas, designs, and concepts
come back into peoples consciousness time after time;
there is a reason why a good thing never dies;
there is a reason why hearts, minds, and souls meet.

The music of the 1980s,
the ideas of the 1970s,
the style of the 1960s,
the art of the 1950s,
are loved every day and are still all around us
and they can be heard, thought, seen, and enjoyed,
in any and every one of the worlds cities,
and knowing that everything that used to be considered
every-day and ‘run of the mill’ is now truly special,
treasured, and cherished, by people who were
not even born when they were new, unheard, and unseen,
gives them a quintessential, classic, vintage feel,
and ambiance, that some things of the modern age
will not have when they too become replaced
by something that resembles a change of ways,
or a refreshed screen.

I love the look, the feel, the sound, the crackle, of vinyl;
I love seeing and being inside a “classic car”;
I love something that doesn’t ever lose it’s charm,
because it was made to be a one-off,
but has transcended, endured, and lasted,
and will enrich peoples lives forever
and make them smile.
I love as story, a person, that is, and who is,
so special and unique, but also ubiquitous-
but not because they were forced on other to be
who and what they are now considered to be from their genesis,
but because no one took them for granted,
and love them because they will always be as singular as a star.

Seeing an iconic invention and expression of a time gone by
that still exists in some way, is like being in a tunnel
and hearing the distinctive voice of someone in an echo;
seeing the source of a revolution,
and also going back and learning about something of importance’s
origin, is always the best thing in the world-
and that is why I love to rediscover things,
and make a part of my life and me many of the things
that people call and consider nostalgic and retro.

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The man in the suit is always here,
and is always sitting on the same seat, at the same table-
I always see him typing on his laptop,
and is always quiet and smartly-dressed,
and is never disturbed, and I have never seen him ever
do anything to take notice or to make trouble.
The man in the suit is and has always been a mystery to me-
however, every time I come back here
I can always rely on him being here,
wearing his suit and tie, his shiny-shoes,
and his gold-coloured framed glasses,
and to always be where he is,
doing what he does, typing and engrossed in his computer screen,
and I am not sure if even he realises how long he himself
has been here, nor how many times he comes here,
nor what the time or the day is.
On the other hand, however, it is highly-possible,
and more likely, that the man in the suit
knows exactly what he is doing,
and he, like me, and like most people who come to Starbucks
all the time, he has a story to tell about himself
that I wouldn’t believe-
and I must admit I would give anything to ask the man in the suit
who he is and what he does,
but that is just because I love a question,
and I love a great story,
and I am in awe of someone with a secret
who keeps the rest of the world guessing-
like the best character or protagonist in any great
and compelling story does-
and in all honesty, no matter how much I would love
to know the man in the suit’s secret and who he is,
I would genuinely be happy to never know every thing,
even though knowing everything any way is impossible,
and I would remain happy just seeing him there
where he always sits in the corner by the window
doing his thing and keeping the mystery about him
that has always intrigued me alive and well.
I have only heard the man in the suit speak only once
in one conversation he was having on his red-covered mobile phone-
I remember him having an ‘educated-‘ ‘posh-‘ ‘intellectual-‘
sounding voice and accent, but unfortunately I do not recall
what his phone conversation was about-
but I think it had something to do with the sale of someone’s home.
There are places that I come back to regularly,
because I always feel at-ease here, and there,
inspired, at-peace, refreshed-
where I am even recognized as someone who genuinely loves
being where I am and coming back,
and to me that is the reward of any pursuit.
There are people who you see every day
who make you smile for many different reasons,
and I have to say that I always smile too
when I walk into Starbucks and I look around and I see
the man in the suit.

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There is something so beautiful;
there is something so breath-taking;
there is something so amazing;
there is something so special;
there is something so mesmerizing, fascinating,
hypnotic, gorgeous, and true, and a part of you;
there is something so wonderful, brilliant, and incredible,
and nothing more personal and exceptional,
than something, or the name of someone
who means something to you,
drawn and painted on your skin in the form of a tattoo.

I am always amazed when I see someone’s tattoo
and beautiful body-art and it makes me go wow!
The human body is a thing of indescribable beauty anyway-
from birth to death-
but someones beautiful and ingrained designs
that they choose to mark their skin and paint themselves with
to me are beautiful, great, and magical,
and someone’s tattoo, to me, is also an important part of them,
and a noticeable tease of who they are,
what they like, who and what makes their heart beat fast,
and ties them and writes even more so
into the constantly-evolving human story and living myth.

I have seen tattoos and body-art of many forms-
from the beautiful painting of a heart with a keyhole inside it
on someone’s chest, to the gorgeous and phenomenal sight
of butterflies on someone’s back that I cannot get enough of;
I have seen the names of someone’s beloved and soulmate
written up someone’s arm;
I have seen and read the most staggering and wonderful
indellible inscriptions of eternal love;
I have seen song-lyrics, artists,
sacred and meaningful symbols of hope on someone’s body
that look as if they have always been a part of someone;
I have been in-awe by the sight of Angels wings,
the face of a tiger, a spider, a web,
a unique design of someone’s own imagining
that I always look in wonder,
and I always want to ask why and how
they chose the design and where the thought behind it came from.

To me, tattoos and body-art are like poetry.
To me, tattoos and body-art and are a written chapter,
an answer, and a question, that you and anyone
can see, remember, ask, think.
To me, a tattoo and body-art is a symbol
and a celebration of someone being liberated,
connected to something greater,
as well as being free.
To me, art is inspiring and the best thing in the entire world,
and the most sincere, and the most amazing expression,
and there is no better, resonant, long-lasting, and important,
than art painted on your body,
and a beautiful tattoo drawn in ink.

Book 1, 20/1/2011

Icy. Frosty. A day of great beauty.
This book feels special.
This time in my life feels essential.
This day feels inspiring.
The future, I can tell, is going to be exciting.

Book 2, 23/11/2011

Icy. Frosty. A day of stillness. A day of great beauty.
This book is me. This is the beginning of a future I cannot wait to see.
Today is the day.
I have so much that I want to do. I have so much that I want to say.

Book 3, 5/6/2012

Calm. Peaceful.
As Venus prepares to transit The Sun for the last time this century-
the energy in the air is wonderful, palpable.
This book is me. This book is my destiny.
I am in the cusp of something great.
I am at the end and at the beginning of a journey.
The hour is early, and yet it is getting late.

Book 4, 23/9/2012

It is the 23rd of September, 2012.
It’s a warm, restful, inspiring Saturday afternoon-
perfect conditions and a perfect day to be inspired, to write some poetry,
and a perfect day to take your favourite book down from the bookshelf.
This book is me. This book is my thoughts. This book is the world that I see.
I feel inspired. I feel brand new.
How can anyone feel tired, when they are on the verge
of having all their, my, wishes all come true.

Book 5, 13/2/2013

The last few weeks have been hard.
The last couple of days have been a revelation.
The last few weeks have felt like one big condolence card.
The last couple of days have given me something that I truly needed:
a peace, an acceptance, a discovery about life,
that, for me, will have lasting ramifications.
This book is my story. This book is my life.
This book is more than my poetry.
This book is what keeps me going,
and sustains me in my struggle to stay hopeful, and to stay alive.

Back story: Since the 1st of January 2011,
at the beginning of every new notebook
that I start writing my new poetry in,
I have written a little poetic-message to myself
and to anyone who may one day read my notebooks in the future, in ink,
trying to capture who I am and what is going on in my life,
and how I feel at the exact moment that I am beginning a new book-
one of the most thrilling times, if you are a writer.
Anyway, since today is World Book Day in the UK,
I thought that I would share these little notes of insight
and put them all in one “evolving-poem”, as I call it-
I call it an “evolving-poem”, because I intend to never finish it:
every time I begin a new notebook again,
I will update this poem with a new verse! I hope you enjoy reading it!
-Mark

Sitting in the park on a beautiful morning,
surrounded by light, life, and sound,
what I am doing feels life-reaffirming,
what I see is phenomenal, stunning, inspiring-
everything feels new, fresh, original, one of a kind,
never been seen before, bright, beautiful, pulse-racing, exciting.
I don’t want to leave.
I don’t want it all to fade-away.
I don’t want to take anything for granted.
I don’t want this to just be another day.
It doesn’t have to be, not if I don’t want it to-
not as long as it is all about the me and the you.

Everyone walks though life at different speeds.
Everyone lives different lives with different needs.
In the city, I see people of all ages and nationalities going about their day:
students coming to and from university,
smart-dressed men and women commuting to work,
children with a day off from school enjoying the sunshine-
as they smile, run-around and play;
kids discovering things with their parents,
parents discovering things about their kids-
from where I am, I see and I embrace
what they will probably never remember or think about
until they get older;
those moments that define a child and a parents relationship with each-other.
It is really nice to see and to read the under-lying language
that only a member of the same family is fluent in and privy to-
those looks and expressions that only they know the meaning of,
which if you are an on-looker it is like a foreign-language,
or a code that you can never know.

You don’t realise how precious time is until you get older
and you see the people and the places that you remember
change beyond recognition;
you don’t realise how much you miss
until someone reminds you of something that you shared together,
that meant so much to you at the time,
but unfortunately got filed-away in the filing-cabinet of your memory-
now only a snap-shot of a moment, which you never meant to ever forget
but which fades over time like an old photograph-
that can be brought back to mind and life
with the help of only the smallest of reminders
and enjoyed again, if it is a good memory,
of a time in your life that you always want to put-away
and rediscover again over and over on a sunny day.

Every day I see someone I have never seen before-
even in places that I have been to a hundred times,
or down roads that I have walked down more times than I can remember.
I see a new face- I see the beginning, the middle,
or perhaps the last chapter of someone’s story-
and every time I share eye-contact with a new person
I cannot help myself from wondering who they are,
who they will be-
I do not judge anyone by how they appear,
because to everyone- even those who you think you know-
there is always more to see.
I cherish the little things about people and about life,
I adore the moments that people freely throw-away without a second thought
that tell you about them- a story that they recite to themselves
when they fall asleep at night.

Sitting seemingly alone on a bench, on a hill,
in a park of untouched green grass,
looking out, looking up, looking within,
I have a moment of ponderance,
and in silence I think about the story that I am writing,
the legacy that I am leaving;
why I am who I am;
why the people and the things that I care so much about
mean so much to me;
why even though I have no one beside me I am not alone-
what that means, and why that is so important to remember.

We all live complicated lives,
we are all looking for somewhere to go,
somewhere we wish we were, with someone who makes us happy,
however yesterday I was reminded, by someone who I had never met before,
about the things in my life that mean the most to me.
Yesterday, I met a lady, an incredibly proud grandmother,
who sat beside me on the bench that I was sitting on in the park,
who simply wanted to tell someone how much she loved her family.
The lady told me that she was on her way home
and that she just wanted to rest for a short while;
however she could have chosen any bench in the park to sit,
but instead she chose my bench, and even now that makes me smile.

The lady that I met yesterday,
on what was a bright and beautiful Thursday morning,
offered me an unused bus ticket, if I wanted it,
and then began to tell me about her loving family-
starting with her grandson, who her son had told her
had been having problems sleeping during the night:
the lady told me how her grandson was always afraid to go to sleep
unless his big brother, who is training to become a priest,
was there to turn off the light.
The lady told me how her older grandson,
who was now living far-away from his brother,
had come home especially to surprise his brother
to put him to bed and to tell him that everything was all right.
So full of so much pride, so much so that I could see it
in the lady’s eyes and on her face,
suddenly the air of mid-morning seemed more beautiful and bright.

I listened to the lady, as she spoke to me
for what must have been only ten minutes,
and I could feel the love in her voice,
and her words made me feel quite emotional-
hearing about the precious moments of a life of goodness and giving
that the lady and her family enjoys.
Unfortunately, I had to leave the lady- I had somewhere to get to-
however I felt guilty for having to leave her,
because I could have continued to talk to her all-day.
I stood up from my seat, I apologized to the lady,
and then I thanked her for taking the time to talk to me;
the lady then returned the compliment to me, telling me that
“I hope you have a great day”.

I thanked the lady again and then I went on my way,
spellbound and enriched by the lady’s stories, life, and family,
hoping in my heart to do the same for someone else in the future-
to inspire and to brighten someone’s day,
because that is how I felt after I met The Lady.

Sitting, looking, taking in the view
of the young and the old, the timeless and the new-
I look up and out to a bustling city
constantly changing and revitalizing itself every minute,
as I sit alone staring at faces, windows, beauty, art, life,
from my spot at Millennium Place,
as sunlight bursts through the clouds and blesses where I am
so that everything is beautifully lit.

The city in which I am sitting was once described as a “ghost town”,
however I think that perception hasn’t been ascribed for a long time-
this city has a history, it is has a story;
this city reminds me of myself, and the people of this city
are like the infinite sides and colours of me;
I think that this city and I are by no means in decline-
I believe that we are in our prime.

Sitting on the circumference of this circular centre of congregation,
with a museum dedicated to the best inventions
of some of mankind’s best mechanical minds behind me,
I think about what the world has gone through, what I have been though,
the things that still stand on land,
and everything that lies, lives, and endures everyday in the sea.
There are creatures who live their entire lives in the dark,
deep, wonderland, water-expanses of the ocean floor-
completely oblivious to sunlight-
who have the ability to actively emit, change, and show their own colours,
whose bodies are as translucent as glass-
they shine in their own way,
some still to be seen by human eyes for the first time,
playing out a mystery unbeknownst to them, blissfully un-harassed.

As I grow older in heart, mind, and body,
I go to places, and I step inside the footprints of other people
who I imagine once followed the path that I am now on,
and my mind no longer feels foggy.
When you are a child you play in the fog-
the fact that you don’t know everything
doesn’t even become a fully-formed thought in your mind;
but you do want to do everything, you want to see everything,
and you have no idea that you should remember for later
the things that you leave behind.

I am enthralled by the future;
I adore every day, for many different reasons,
and as I get older I try to chronicle as best that I can
the days that have gone by-
because I have lost so much, and will continue to lose so much,
and because I have slowly began to give up the obsession of my youth
by stop asking the question: why?

What is in a word?
Where do words and names originate?
Is it all down to chance, the slip of a tongue, an accidental pen-stroke;
or is there a reason in there meaning, a pre-written script of fate?

I have always been fascinated by the origins of things,
people, places, words, and names-
first name, surname, country, city, animal, tree-
the varying causes that are close to our heart,
the reasons that we carry for why we are such a devotee.

The origin of an idea is of particular interest to me;
the first heartbeats of an inspiration
always break-free of my chest and always find themselves
written on the pages of my life in enduring ink for all the world to see.

There really is something to marvel at “the start”-
a whole set of new experiences, memories, feelings, and fascinations
that may lead to a partner, a friend, a change of life,
or a masterpiece of living, breathing, inspiring, art.

I believe it is important to remember, to learn, and to remind ourselves
where things came from, and why they came into being in the first place:
our names, for example; names can be changed,
but each has its own story to be told, its own path that you can retrace.

Everything has a heart,
everything that matters and that lasts
has an undeniable attraction and gravity about it,
because it came into being with meaning;
everything and anything that has a passion pulsating from its core-
a legend, a hero, a story, an idiom,
is a legend, hero, story, idiom, worth reflecting and believing.

I am an optimist of the future,
but I am also a lover and a cherisher of a what has come before-
I am always enthused about hearing why something was made,
and for whom it was first made for.

A true wonder of the world
is something that connects with the wonder of your birth,
and which still energizes, and creates, new life everyday under your skin-
a truth, and an insight into the entire universe’ existence, your life-
and our collective origins.

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