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August 5, 2008 The Arsenal, Central Park, New York City From the Academy Audio Archive

Today Mr. Rufo

Oni Buchanan
Today Mr. Rufo died. During a game of bocce ball, 
he leaned on his friend's shoulder and died.
Just five minutes before we found out, Jon and I 
had been walking with our dumb, bourgeois fruit smoothies,
and we stopped by a bush that had all these purple flowers
bursting out of it, and I said, Look how the dead flowers
are a darker purple, a bluish blackish purple
and the live flowers are magenta. Do you think
the dead flowers used to be magenta, or did all 
the darker purple flowers die first?  
(The dead flowers crumpled closed like soggy 
paper umbrellas, while the live ones stretched open, each 
like a child's hand reaching—)

Afterwards, all the family came and assembled and
sat outside together on the patio.  For days, I did not see
Mrs. Rufo. She must have been inside the house
all that time. Meanwhile a big yellow garden spider
built his web above the plot of dirt and weeds 
and wildish plants that's just beside their outside staircase.
It's true that spiders are noiseless, I realized, 
watching the spider in its nonstop industry, listening to the spider.
All of us have read "A noiseless patient spider…" 
but to hear, really, that absence of sound
is something altogether different. Because the soundlessness
is transparent and shaped like a geometric plane.  
It casts a silent white shadow that's bigger 
than the spider is big, and when the spider dies, 
the silence that replaces its silence 
is bigger than the spider's silence was big.
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From Spring, published by University of Illinois Press. Copyright © 2008 by Oni Buchanan. Used with permission.

From Spring, published by University of Illinois Press. Copyright © 2008 by Oni Buchanan. Used with permission.

Oni Buchanan

by this poet

poem
I'm writing to you from the loneliest, most
secluded island in the world. I mean, 
the farthest away place from anything else.

There are so many fruits here growing on trees
or on vines that wrap and wrap. Fruits
like I've never seen except the bananas.

All night the abandoned dogs howled.
I wonder if one dog
poem
oni, u rancorous scam, u  r  no rare ace.
no common sense. no sure win.
no amour. no sex. no career.
no suave swimwear, size six.
no amazonian eminence.
no renaissance in consciousness.
mere ire over asinine nuance.
u  r  so mesozoic era.

u rinse romaine + secure onions.
u use sour cream on venison.
u season
poem
o canoe, maroon canoe 	
over mesmeric waves we row
over an azure ionian sea
over mariners' mum communion
over icarus's un-ascension
over men-o'-war + runner missions
over ice-run ruins, over anxious cruises
over seismic omens + vesuvian ooze 
we row, we row
ravenous sea, reassure me 
reserve me an amnesia,