Author: Myronn Hardy

Myronn Hardy is the author of three books of poems: Approaching the Center, winner of the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award, The Headless Saints, winner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and most recently, Catastrophic Bliss (Bucknell University Press, January 2013) is the winner of the Griot-Stadler Prize for Poetry. He divides his time between Morocco and New York City.

Beat & What We Call Destroyed & Haze & Silver


Your uncle has told you to leave this country.
Fight for yourself     this place no longer worth youth.
You sit with him at a café.
Tea is poured brown.

Chairs against a wide window     you both are silent.
Prison for protest     ideals     the kingdom where merit lifts.
The old king demanded lies     truth only at night     behind
bedroom doors     the language of ecstasy.

A friend passes without seeing you.
He carries a box of pastries for a grandfather
who died that morning     the ribbon curled     choking fingers white.
You see him     the baseball

cap     the sneakers worn with running.
You say nothing.
Watch him walk into light     round a corner
where drums beat from blown speakers.

What We Call Destroyed

It is the flash of egrets from dry reeds.

That destroyed land is the destruction

in us but destruction maybe too

harsh     too imprecise for what this is.

For we are both destroyed     saved.

Light does more than flash about us.

The breaking of gray among hill cedars.

The spilling of silver     opaque     wide

as what is unknown. But the wind

is there. Violent in its pursuit

to snap     force most to crumble.

Blow the world into something worth

itself     worth egrets exposing wings

wide     their starry backs during day.

Land of reeds where shepherds

usher flocks. Where we are woven

warm     alive. How the wind

twists reeds to hold itself     baskets

of itself for someone to see     notice.


This blue day exists for us all.
How life is known here     only here.
Staring at sky near sea     sunglasses
keeping glare minimal.

You are some version of Hendrix
on a beach in Essaouira.
The way you live     bound
to philosophy spreading

yet feared. The way it seems
to retreat to a past stilted.
Conflicts needing to be re-resolved.
What is modernity when dogma

impels us to water
where anglerfish light
themselves grotesquely?
At the bottom     everything like this.

But we will smoke in a room without
ventilation. We will hear the tapping
in a northern city. We will cough     laugh
at the world opaque.

A great-grandparent from Damascus
who walked in a desert to Fes.
The sand consistently in throat
minced voice.

If he could     what would this
relative say to you here? His judgment
of you here? You tall as a short oak.
You hungry     relaxed in this rented room.

Rented to hide
the glory of height     the induced
laughter     the dulling
of brain     cells dilapidated.

The world is a test.
When tempted     what do you do?

There     on sand      women
laugh with us.

Their wet clothes never dry.
Nothing dry in dreams     only
rain     sea     the constant
dripping of everything.

To turn from them is murder.
You see yourself in agony     arrows
through skin     the ribbons
they force into sea.

The haze is horizon     the air itself.
Clarity is gone but was it ever there?
Yes     to you yes. Your ideals     your
philosophy passed onto you by your father.

What now? What after running?


The boy kicks the ball to his sister
on the steps of the church where
fruit skins rot. They both see

through glasses as their father warns
them to be gentle. The ball rolls to me
like a line of a poem when the window

is up     the air of morning     juniper.
I let the ball roll until their mouths
sag to one side.

How could he not play with us?

I kick as if Belhanda.

The ball spins between feet.
The boy laughs     kicks     his taller
sister runs around us     sees grass.

The church     a giant bell     blemished.
Its ring turns her hands     ears silver.
Her brother hits the ball with forehead.

Silver shines.
A silver syllable about her neck.
Silver saliva on teeth.

Silver subverts her playing.
Silver slides from mouth.
Silver more somber now.

Silver moths shimmer.
Silver dust swats grass.
Silver slaps her brother’s head.

Silver slows
the sloping     the sphere     the surge
on silver land.

Silver coins without surrender.
Meany-meany     who is mean?
Who wants it all to fall?

The crumbling in pupils     dissent
to subdue integrity.
Who hears the chiming?