Return to Sender

Young artist,
I have been reticent with active advicebecause truly
it is the world
that should teach you
the most important things upon your path
but I fear that there is one vital lesson
you have not yet learned
from Hard Knocks U
or whatever the ephemeral educational executive is called these days.

You have taken in much
both from me
and from soaking in all the abuse
the universe has to offer
and you have nipped back
producing biting commentary
and socially relevant work.
I am proud of you
on all scores
but of late I have been watching
and it has appeared
that you have seemed

Listen now
and listen well.
If you must choose between life and art
choose art.
If joy or creativity are splayed before you
pick the one that is far rarer
and harder to find.
When you have a chance
to wrestle the muse
do so
and make her your bitch.

I once had a chance to be happy.
I was given an opportunity
to smile at another
and believe in laughter
or love
or Celine Dion or something.
I had the chance
and I shat in its neck
and photographed it
so that I could present it
on exhibit.

Take this lesson.
Learn it well.
Know what is your master
and whose work you are doing.

If you have a chance to live a regular life
forsake it while you can
and take the artist’s way
and go and make something again
and cry again
and again.

About Jonathan Berger

I used to write quite a bit more.
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