Chinedu Gospel

Time Constant [ y(t) = yoe−t/τ ] & How I Travel Through Time

Memory is a way to stay in the past
~Anthomy Okpunor

y(t) = the time my niggas were cloaked
in animal skin and charcoal you could
hear their hearts thumping voiceless breaths
the quickest part of their body was their
eyes cutting through green grass in
search of a green rattle snake in this land
fear is a learned behavior & i say this
because there are little children at the yard
happy & frolicking around in circles my
niggas say they are ignorant say they are
a gunshot away from the knowledge of
survival thus i chose to remain with them because
father said i must learn to run if i must
become old enough to embrace death

y(t) = the time my father kicked me into
the street as a safety measure because it’s
only in the jungle that the body learns to
be multilingual & wise & realize that there
is a cosmological imbalance that the sun
is God’s favorite eye it’s just always there
watching & unmoving yet it is us who
feel betrayed for dissolving into a darkness
too dull to comprehend light & i mean
dull like the boy who steps into fire to dance
i mean dull like the man who surrenders
his son to the mouth of a hole because he
thinks it’s just another tunnel to a brighter
light a boy made of steel in his fiercest
battle is nothing but water & a boy made
of glass hidden in the secret place of his
father is nothing but an elegy

y(t) = a time when my niggas jumped
into the sea to survive the tongue of
their master’s whip & you can’t say they’re
dull because flight is a survival theory
yet we can’t say the water didn’t discolour
the glory of their names we can’t say
for sure who disembarked at the border &
who was eaten by a shark growing up
my niggas would rinse the tip of my tongue
with hot water & say now that your songs
are silent learn to shed tears & their point
was —unlike poetry crying doesn’t
depend on a metaphor for its melody

y(t) = the time when they rinsed my tongue
with alcohol shoved slices of sorrow into my
mouth & said this is your daily bread eat &
be full after a century of days i kissed my lover
& she reckoned i tasted like rosewater because
my mouth was an orchard the size of an ocean
each flower the taste of another dead nigga’s blood
the smell of gunpowder i tell my clan of niggas
that i have been to the past more than i have
lived in it it takes memory to travel back in time
& the past pulls us farther from the future the
future lying deep in the white of our eyes
unstained & visible

y(t) = the time which says there are boys who
still wear red eyes from intake of sorrow &
liquor all they see in the rising sun is the
thrombus of another nigga who’s yet to die
truth is the future for real is equal to death
but death is not always equal to the quick
canine of a bullet that i know so growing
older i wanted to walk into the future but
not through my pupil nor the lines in my
father’s palm because i found another door
in the mouth of a bird a new song & i began
to water my tongue with the springtime songs
of a seagull i spent another century of days
pruning those wrinkled flowers in my
orchard the songs like a river kept quickening
the blunt edges of my tongue which hitherto
was saturated in silence one morning i got
up & kissed my lover on her forehead
she rose like a sunflower said sorrow & it
broke into shards then we laughed & laughed
we could barely realize that we were old now
& ready to embrace death.