Friday, September 11, 2009

About Face

A friend sent a photo of me that my wife mistook for George Bush. This is not the first time I've been mistaken for my least favorite public figure next to Dick Cheney.

It got me thinking about faces, how the picture of us at age five has grown over decades to this one we're wearing now. Has our wonder been retained or layered over by angst? I suspect my creases are on-ramps and off-ramps where I've been and where I haven't dared like a hung jury carrying both innocence and guilt. Have my frowns erased my giggles and my lucky life? I would hope that my passions have found their home in this landscape of a face.

Are eyes really a window that tell all? If I had been born in squalor and fallen in with a band of mercenaries would I have the same pair? To what extent do we wear a mask or a practiced pose? Maybe we are the last to know.

Back to George Bush. I'm reminded of something Allen Ginsberg said in the 1980s; how we need to love Ronald Reagan or maybe it was to love the Reagan inside us. So now I am determined to embrace the George Bush of me in the mirror.

While shaving this morning there he was even as I tried to mow the smirk away. There might even be a frat-boy in my face, an affable terrorist with a penchant for pranks.

I, too, have lied, white and grey. And I am given to warnings of doom when I need the attention. I've also bumbled my way in public forgetting whether I'm in Salzburg or Strasbourg. Neither one of us could stand the sight of our own blood which is why we both ran from Viet Nam; though I thought Canada was a better choice than Alabama. I remember once getting lost in a rain forest and agreeing there are too many trees.

Like you, George, I never thought of holding high office and when the vote came in for milk monitor I showed Dad I wasn't really a good-for-nothing kid. I'm feeling closer to you now. It's alright that you had zits, wet your bed and slept with a night light. Life can be tough in large families.

Listen to me, George, you're not listening. Alone in your oval office at night don't you ever think as much as twice, hear those voices you've been shouting down and let in just a trickle of doubt? Don't mis-underestimate it. Now, let's go have a beer and see if anyone can tell us apart.

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