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

About this poet

Oni Buchanan is the author of three poetry collections, Must a Violence (Kuhl House Press, 2012), Spring (University of Illinois Press, 2008), winner of the National Poetry Series, and What Animal (University of Georgia Press, 2003), winner of the University of Georgia Contemporary Poetry Series competition. Buchanan is also an accomplished solo pianist, and founder and director of the Ariel Artists management company. She lives in Boston.

Text Message

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 noxious wieners.
coarse carnivore, u even wean + crisco sows  
+ worse, simmer simian viscera   
+ savor maximum cinnamon.
moreover, u evince ruinous manners.

ever since u came,
nauseous raccoons swoon + swerve near cars in manassas, va.
immense moose rave averse in maine.
monas wince in cameroon + zaire.
caimans careen in irreverence in so. american rivers.
nice vicunas amaze in serious cusses.
ewe emissions serve as severe consensus.
vermin vow never near.
even sea anemones voice censure.
wrens, vireos, caracaras, anis, emus, swans, macaws, canaries + cranes
maroon u, swear avian au revoir.
messiaen concurs.
eminem weaves mean verses on u.

o, oni, scorn us now,
now ur careworn carcass awes us.
a carrion-crow carves ur cameo, no
novocaine. incisive. immune.
nerve minus nerve is zero, or
noose, noon, nirvana: an
oceanic oasis. a rearview mirror.
can u recover now, oni?
can u crown ur cranium now, 
can u rise in ur worm ascension?

we are ur vice, ur versus, ur
vice-versa, ur mesmeric new avarice, 
ur concussion, ur amnesia (a caesura is u now, oni.)
(a caesura is ur new maison, ur caisson casa.)
we are ur arsenic, ur assassin, 
ur anemia, ur anorexia nervosa.
we consume u, corrosive. we assess u.
we are ur vision, ur rescue mission, ur anima, 
u. we use u. ur winsome camera crew:

coroner, commence exam, + camera man, zoom in:
a waxen woman, wear-worse.
corneas, ears + nose aswarm.  
some recession on cranium.
venomous incisors, enormous.
varicose veins.
cursive arms over cavernous core.  
nurse: scissors, ammonia.  
carve in, coroner: mince, examine:
carmine amnion. uranium in urine.  
in marrow, one amino amiss.

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

Oni Buchanan is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Must a Violence (Kuhl House Press, 2012).

by this poet

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,
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
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