A Fair Price: A Poem About Underselling Your Art

I drop a pocket watch
Into the collection plate
Because I’ve got
All this time to donate
I pay to play
Live at a loss
Tick off the days
And shrug off the cost

I’m a giving tree
Money grows on me
I make it rain gold
Roll in my debris
I work for free
Free space, free time
Free rein, free mind
Free verse, free rhyme

“But how do you get by?”
She has the nerve to ask
Artists really only need
Some ink and a flask
You’re the one getting
Something for nothing
The least you could do
Is pay attention

I got prizes inside
I’m spitting diamonds
Holster your checkbook
And open your hands
Who cares how these jewels
Came unstuck
For all you know
They fell off a truck

Just come and get it
While the getting’s good
Here’s something for nothing
Sure it cost my adulthood
Sure it cost those things
You take for granted
That house, that ring
Those two point five kids

Sour grapes? Please
I’ll take the vegetarian option
It’s the carrot on the stick
That’s got me going
Because I still think
There’s karma in all this
So fill your pockets
While I sit on the interest

I’m a proud contributor
To the sharing economy
Where all that’s wasted
Is opportunity
Where no one worries
If no one buys what we sell
As long as someone pays us mind
It’s all just as well

So give what you can
To the artist in your life
Scrounging for canvas
Paint and a palette knife
And when you take what he makes
Try not to think too hard about this
Poor soul spiraling out of control
Because he’s following his bliss

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