Self-Portrait as George Gisze, Merchant
Nulla sine merore voluptas. 1532.
The countenance which you perceive
Is an accurate image
He says of my ritratto,
But won’t hint if it’s flattery
Age: 34. The visage slants
An already impossible angle.
There is wear along my collar.
My moneybox slips towards a dip
In a warped fabric, just one further
Chaotic pattern or failed commission.
And always this peculiar glass vase
Of carnations precariously placed
Too near both edge and elbow.
I can hardly balance the claustrophobic cartography,
These books on slim shelves. “One’s tools
Of the trade,” all silver bells and tin whistles.
I’m ready to retire and let my hair grow.
‘No pleasure without sorrow,’
Hard to believe I paid for this.
But always that cool countenance.
I’m 35 now, and what debt. What debt.