This damn job’s given me a goiter –
like those cats in Lombardy (or whatever place they’re in)
who drink their city’s fetid water.
My belly’s nearly smack against my chin.

My beard’s aimed straight at heaven; my nape’s
folded on my back. I have a harpy’s chest
and my face is now a landscape
where the dripping colors come to rest.

At times, my thighs are pressed into my stomach,
my ass a kind of counter-anchor.
And feet? It seems I have no feet,

except for strange erratic
shuffling underneath the ankles.
Like a Syrian bow, I’m stretched in front –

behind, I’m crimped and furrowed.
My mind’s taken on my body’s shape,
– no dart shoots true from a twisted pipe.

My picture’s dead. I’m all used up.
My honor day by day grows fainter.
Defend it, Giovanni, I’m no painter.

 

I’o gia facto un gozo in questo stento
Come fa l’acqua a gacti in Lombardia
Ouer d’altro paese che si sia,
Ch’ a forza ‘l uentre apicha socto il mento.

La barba al cielo e la memoria sento
In sullo scrigno e ‘l pecto fo d’arpia,
E ‘l pennel sopra ‘l uiso tuctauia
Mel fa gocciando un richo pavimento.

E’lombi entrati mi son nella peccia,
E fo del cul per contrapeso groppa,
E passi senza gli ochi muouo inuano.

Dinanzi mi s’allunga la chortecia,
E per piegarsi adietro si ragroppa,
E tendomi com’archo soriano.

Però fallace e strano
Surge il giudicio che la mente porta,
Che mal si tra’ per cerboctana torta.

La mia pictura morta
Difendi ormai, Giouanni, e ‘l mio onore,
Non sendo in loco bon ne io pictore.

                                      first published in Plume

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