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I don’t know how you feel when you look at Trump’s face, but I can’t stand the Janus face I see. When I read the poem Reflection by Smith-Soto, the line “I see what I won’t want to forget when I trace their features on my changing face. They are where I come from, and age brings me home to them,” I took a new look and wondered about the transformation that takes place on a face, both mine and Trump’s.
On the days after I get my hair cut short, I see my father’s elongated Nordic face with its low hanging, determined jaw. When the hairdresser fluffs my hair — not my favorite style, but I have stopped resisting being made to look “good” in the feminine stylish-sort-of-way — I see my mother, the roundness of her cheeks, the soft mouth, the tiredness around the eyes I now carry. She had a reason to be tired, she worked hard at raising six children, the last one born late in her life. I have no reason to have tired eyes, I only raised three. If you work hard your whole life, do you still want anything when the work is over? Do you forget what it feels like to want, and you can only think about ease and rest? Or, if you never have the chance to indulge your wants will you never lose the wanting? My father never lost the wanting, not even in his dying hours.
For years I have seen my one heavy eyelid, an eyelid that looks like it has doubled. “It’s called an Egyptian eyelid”, my grandmother used to say, pointing at her right eye — I never asked what the Egyptian characteristic was. Her eye wasn’t slanted or marked with black carbon as I had seen in depictions of hieroglyphs, heavy-lidded maybe. Google won’t give me answer on the Egyptian eyelid. I have to live with my interpretation. Is my grandmother revisiting me now? I want to think so when I look at my face in the mirror.
And then I see the shadow of my grandfather in the sparkle, the grin when I laugh. He was a man of humor, gave the need for lightness to his daughter, my mother. She lost that lightheartedness under the weight of the daily family grind. But I saw it when she visited with her sisters, a glass of sherry in hand, cheeks red, reaching back together to the times of youth and freedom. They came into adulthood in wartime when the rules of what could and couldn’t happen changed. With laughter they shared memories of what they had lost.
Memories, lost moments that crease the skin, wrinkle around the eyes, open the mouth to spell out the images living in the synapses of the brain. Images of selfish being, images of intimacy, images of suffering, images of dancing through life. These memories are alive in my face in the shadows of the ones gone before me.
I look at Donald Trump’s face, his son’s face, his daughter’s and I wonder who is speaking through him when he has his twitter tantrum, who accompanies him when Ivanka stands next to him. He carries the people of his past in his expressions. The older he gets the stronger his father’s voice drives him on to WIN, WIN, while his mother seeks the glamour Donald craves. Maybe we don’t have DT as our current president but his German grandfather Fred, Friedrich, and his Scottish mother Mary-Ann. Who is the immigrant?
Poet Smith-Soto said, that as we get older, we meet the people who went before us, the ones we lost. We meet the ones who speak through the lines in our faces, the warmth or coolness of our eyes. W’ve had to make our own way, individuate from our ancestors to make our mark in life. As we come to the end of our cycle, the lines that embrace our face are the ancestors forming a bridge to the pending loss of self. There is no “alternative fact” for Trump’s age. He appears to have trouble walking the bridge to the loss of self and is taking many down with him in his denial.
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