Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sean Patrick Hill

Self-Portrait as George Gisze, Merchant

Nulla sine merore voluptas. 1532.

The countenance which you perceive
Is an accurate image
Of Gisze,

He says of my ritratto,
But won’t hint if it’s flattery
Or flattening.

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,’
Signed Gisze.

Hard to believe I paid for this.
But always that cool countenance.
I’m 35 now, and what debt. What debt.

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