How to Be in Love

“The fact that we say ‘romance’ when we mean ‘love’
 shows us that underneath our language there is a 
 psychological muddle.” 
— Robert A. Johnson

First, forget everything
you’ve ever heard about
romance, which is to love
as chocolate is to 
food. As Hershey’s Kisses
are to kissing. Not a thing
to be despised, but not the thing
itself. Romance makes everything
fleeting seem eternal. Kisses
sweet on lips, they whisper on about
moments becoming lifetimes, and two
hearts forever ravening in love.
But that really, in the end, isn’t love,
though it might be love’s beginning. The thing
about romance is what it leads to,
or doesn’t. It promises everything,
but delivers just about
what you’d expect, burning kisses,
all flash of light and fire. While ember kisses
stirred between two lifetimes twined in love
and years, those romance doesn’t know about.
And that’s the thing –
Romance is, indeed, the door to everything
our yearnings for completion pin to
roses, candlelight and wine, to
famished lips and fevered kisses,
but the door is not the everything
it opens to. Romance is not love.
And “how to be in love,” now that’s the thing
this poem is about.
Here’s all you need to know about
where romance can lead to:
Like fire, Love is more a process than a thing.
Beyond first flaming kisses lie those kisses
like nestled coals that warm all winter. Love’s
a journey shared that leads to everything.
About that door of romance, all those kisses:
Walk through, then journey, heart to heart, toward love,
till from the thing emerges everything.

“How to Be in Love” is the opening poem in:

From the pleasures of mature love (While ember kisses/stirred between two lifetimes twined in love/and years, those romance doesn’t know about), to Yeats-inspired Celtic witchery, to visions of angels, flying saucers, and meeting yourself in a dream, Like an Astonished Magician is a no-downer, zero-navel-gazing poetic celebration of love, life, the imagination, and, of course, magic.

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