Book of Love Forward by Rob Geisen

Me and Rob (Girls Just Wanna Have Us) perform “Candle in the Wind” at the Olatundji farewell reading, Noname bar, Boulder, January 2011)

“Romantic Love Intermezzo”

In my failed romantic experience I’ve found it’s easy to feel as though there are only two kinds of love:

1. Unrequited, and
2. Not Unrequited, Yet

That’s it. Everything ends. And the endings are always massive blockbusters of cinematic heartbreak and disappointment, and I always end up feeling like I felt the first time I watched the two part mini-series version of IT on TV when I was a kid. I loved IT, and I was convinced that IT loved me back, until that goddamn ending and I realized that what I’d fallen for was an overblown spider. It broke my heart, because in my head it had all felt so much bigger than that.

Reality is the ultimate cock-blocker, and Love is a kamikaze pilot screaming lyrics to old Matchbox Twenty songs before impact. More often than not, Love can be summed up with a couple of lines from a John Mellencamp song. The lines are from Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First)and it goes like this:

‘Christ, what’s she doin’ with him? She could be dancin’ with me.’

That’s how love can feel. It feels like everyone’s walking around with the wrong person when the person you’re hung up on isn’t walking around with you. I’ve got a crush on a woman right now, but I’ve had my head chopped off and rubbed in the face of my headless torso so many times, and she has a fiance, and life is not a John Cussack movie (to clarify: Life isn’t a 1980’s or 90’s John Cussack movie. It can, however, resemble any number of his 21st Century straight-to-Red Box films. Like that one where he’s a serial killer and Nicolas Cage plays an almost retired detective who’s been kicked in the empathy balls one too many times and paraphrases lines from Morgan Freeman’s character in Seven.) so what’s the point of doing anything about it? When chances are it’ll inevitably end with me crying all night in front of the X-Files again? Why do we keep putting ourselves through all of this shit?

Fear not, you broken romantics. The answers are here in this book.

Jonathan Montgomery is the best writer I know and one of my favorite writers on this planet filled with writers I don’t know, and Book Of Love is an infinitely comforting collection of adventures that also manages to pull off the impossible; It gives me hope. There’s safety in numbers, and pieces like “Panties N Dog”, “Your Dead Scorpion”, and “‘I Like Your Edge’” provide some of the best documented evidence yet that we’re not alone in any of this. Quoting “Full Potential”:

“Zah higher vun rises zah furser zey may fall back down.”

The fall is made less horrible when you know that you’re not the only one falling around here. When Jonny writes about his falls, it makes me feel better about my own, and because of this I don’t feel completely alone anymore. We all fall together.

As Professor Montgomery points out in “The Energy Healer”, Love can be something as beautiful as having someone to wipe the puke off your face before exiting the car. To which my response will always be; Bravo! Love is what we need it to be, when we need it.

Book Of Love shows us that love can be dog shit interlocked with her left behind underwear, but there is hope to be found in the Bowerbirds and chandelier stores.

I failed at love so hard a few years back that I’d quietly vowed to leave the bicycle alone. Enough riding for one lifetime, maybe. That fall really took it out of me. The thought of hopping back onto something like that post-Helen has always felt impossible and exhausting.

Reading Book Of Love gives me the inspiration to keep trying. Cheers for that.

Rob Geisen September 17, 2020

%d bloggers like this: