134.1: Myronn Hardy:: Beat & What We Call Destroyed & Haze & Silver 134

Myronn Hardy’s poems are always caught between countries: Morocco and America. The former, the landscape of the wonderful novelist, Paul Bowles—a locale undoubtedly and always reconciling with the vestiges of colonialism; the latter a nation of violence and struggle of Empire-in-becoming, and a reconciliation with the mirror of its own painful past. Against this backdrop, the geopolitical magnitudes of Hardy’s poems are matched by the grace of their conceit. They favor quietude, a stilled moment, a Wordsworthian emotion recollected in tranquility. The speaker begins this poem, “What We Call Destroyed,” by lamenting:

          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.

The caesura between “destroyed” and “saved” is telling of Hardy’s aesthetic. He cannot let go of the human condition, even if it crawls upon its needs. The world offers no solace; it is “Violent in its pursuit / to snap     force most to crumble.” Yet, his speaker shows no relent in identifying its beauty: “Blow the world into something worth / itself     worth egrets exposing wings / wide     their starry backs during the day.” It is this juxtaposition of the world’s carrion, picked apart by its most shameless of scavengers, with the solace and grace of a flight pattern of smaller birds anticipating the moods and changes of the weather that would seem most alien to the human mind. Hardy’s speaker is both a traveler and a being in stasis, unflinchingly aware of the world but devoid in any judgment of it. These are beautiful poems of an exceptional magnitude. Cody Todd

Beat


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.



Haze


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?



Silver


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?
Meany-meany.

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?