My Students Have Been Going On and On Today
about how their fingernails are dead, about
how their hair is dead, about how most
of their skin is dead. Most everything we see
when we look at each other is dead, a girl
says to me at the beginning of class and I
begin to have the almost rote existential
crisis every person has on the eve of their
40th birthday. When Robert Creeley claimed
the darkness surrounds us, I used to think
it was funny and dramatic, but now I see
that it was the most true thing I’ve ever read.
She was right, the girl. Like the light that
reaches us from the depths of space, most
of it is already darkness, an illusion of light
or simply, a distant remnant of things that
were bright. I feel like there should be some
kind of lesson in this, but there’s not. It’s just
the way some things are...the way, I guess
all things are. My mom was always keen of
acceptance, of the ease of just letting things
be. I continue to be jealous and enraged
by that attitude. I want to accept my body
that my body is mostly dead, but I can’t
let it go. I want my body to be mostly alive
like an ocean, like how oceans teem with life
even when it appears completely empty.
I am 100% alive, I say to my students. Some
shake their heads, others just look at me
like I’m an idiot. I flip off all the lights after
they leave and sit there in the dark. I am an idiot.
About the Author: BJ Love teaches English and creative writing at the Emery/Weiner School in Houston, TX. His poems can be found in Gulf Coast, The North American Review, and Dig if You Will a Picture: Writers Reflect on Prince.