I am an artist.
Claim the title. Start the swill, never knowing money can kill
that burning flame within which wants to make the world right
with written words on papers. Papers that become clouded
with another agenda, another purpose, another need.
Greed: the desire for paper money.
Because they tell me and I believe them that “I
am an artist.”
Now I work as a professional wordsmith, mixing words like he mixes tapes and
she blends insurance rates and they schedule dates
for meetings where we’ll discuss the politics of whether my skill is really worth their cash.
Now “I am an artist” fades. The money is the haze
I fight through, work for, and beat my blood within my veins
to strain and stain that blank document with ink
of written words I hope they’ll pay me for.
Now I am an entertainer. I am a show.
I am the one who exchanged beauty for dough
to make the bread I need to eat, to gather all their sheep,
and herd them in the direction I’ve been told to lead.
But I just wanted to be an Artist.
First A, then B. After Business, comes C.
And that stands for Crash, the course paved with concrete
to make sure I awake from my sleep
and remember the real reason I’m here.
Death to the artist.
It echoes in my ears, feeds on my fears, and
generates a gateway to either Heaven or Hell
and I have to decide:
What is the real reason I possess these artistic gifts?
Yes, we all have to eat. We all need sleep. We need
shelter, clothes, and shoes for our feet.
But at what cost? Who will pay
if I exchange the reason I was made, to create amidst pain,
for the pleasures of this world?
But I can’t ignore those numbered bills on the floor
from thieves who wrenched open the garish door
that guards my inner pride, my secret wish, and now they’ve tipped my money dish
to the point that’s all I can think about.
With my face pressed to the pavement, I need to be free if
only from their demands and debasement.
Scribbling to be known, to not be alone, then
curled in the corner, I hear a whisper.
A voice with a choice:
“What were you Created for?”
Like lightning piercing the ebony skies,
I arise to the words warming my soul,
breaking the lies and shrouded alibis
that identify me as one who has chosen to build paper kingdoms for myself
from paper money.
“I AM The Artist.” The voice rises and weeps. I sense tears filter down
upon blood-stained cheeks.
“Reduce the refuse, rebuild the misused, and choose
this day whom you will serve. It cannot be both God and Mammon.”
I am an artist and the I AM’s daughter.
I was not designed to bring lambs to the slaughter.
That includes me, who longs to be free from the sickness
and wretchedness of this putrid disease:
to be known, to be liked,
to drive the spike into the scarred hands
of The Artist whose last breath signified a rebirth of my spirit.
I am not of this world. I have made my decision, and
I’m finished with the constant derision that I’ve dealt myself with a side dish
of lies, withered and writhed, beside my plate of pretty pastries
that told me, “There is nothing more than this.”
Today is only an illusion. I’ve come to this
conclusion: The only art that matters in this life
seeks to serve others’ restitution. Not as a people-pleaser,
but as a real releaser of the colors and patterns
that lead people to The Artist.
(Inspired by Exodus 3:14 and Matthew 6:24)
~Ally Siwajian © 2012
Photograph credit: Lorenz Crespo of LorenzFoto © 2011 (Photo of Allyson and Anthony Siwajian used by photographer’s permission.)