Words - The Poetry of Harvey James

Harvey James is a model turned “model slash”. Having worked for some of the worlds leading fashion houses, Harvey has recently shifted his focus to start a career peddling the written word. To date he has been commissioned by Shortlist Magazine, Gentleman’s Journal and Huck Magazine to name but a few. Here Harvey showcases his love of the versified word in what he describes as “his most recent language brews”, alongside a selction of his 35mm photography.

 

Flying / Zurich 
A crisp winter morning.
The sun beams
Across a lake of mist 
like a memory foam mattress for giants.
Emerald fir trees and black mountaintop fins slice the mist.
 A clear strip reveals the distant jagged teeth of the Alps, 
snarling at us.

 

 

If I Cycled From Them

I got on my bike and rode it 

towards Brooklyn, between the towering

billboards overhead. First down cobbled

Crosby Street, where Birkenstock brunchers gorge

on poached eggs, washed with tomato cocktails.

Then under the bridge, where teenagers

sweat-out in skate parks. They’re enjoying themselves, I guess.

I pass a street vendor with bucket hats for sale. There

are tour-guides passing and preaching.

 

On to the Williamsburg Bridge, the latticed grey

metalwork, the path vaulting the sea,

above the city. The tourists stand in the path,

languorously agitating. A passerby clicks:

their faces drop back to normal. There 

is peace on the bridge. It is 5:40 of 

a Tuesday. 

 

‘I think of cinemas, panoramic sleights

With multitudes bent toward some flashing scene

Never disclosed, but hastened to again,

Foretold to other eyes on the same screen’ - Mr. Hart Crane.

It’s film or Crane or Whitman or Williams or nothing.

 

Reaching Brooklyn, 

I look and see the profligate city 

taking a break, queueing for burritos, down the 

side of Don Panchito’s van. An old, hunched lady

carries three dustbin bags over her shoulder, full

of bottles.

 

There are several Mexican vans

on the avenue today, filling the road 

with colour and smell. A sign that people do 

not totally regret life. 

 

But are we naked? As naked as

Ginsberg talking, sitting in my flat,

having a drink, drinking,

telling me about nakedness, 

lunches, jazz and dirt? 

 

And one returns home and one rides,

past the truck depots, the scattered church flyers 

and broken windows. Past Roberta’s pizza garden

which they’ll soon expand. I used to think

Manhattan was the world. I think I still do.

 

Siberian Winds 

Clad in confusion

I sit & stew

In protest of the view from my window

Soft white petalled ice

aggressively hazing

our pretty English life

Burn down the schools and derail the trains

Sick with fear of foreigners, women and snow.

 

The Mad Dog in the Fog

 With laboured strides

I climb the alabaster street.

In a midday dream

tripping over my stumble.

A dizzying concoction of sirens

sun and ice cream.

My left arm bashed by a vintage Leica

my right brushed by a bearded man.

My shot aligned:

The beat poets trapped like birds

inside this street sign.

Marijuana mouths waft past exhaling:

“There ain’t nothin’ but lurrrrv on this street.”

Drunk on the halcyon spirits 

of this concrete mess

of this dirtied paradise where hippies rest

and Dylan swirling in my head.

Hunger digs his little fingers into my stomach

howling for a Cheesesteak.

 

Are they looking at me?

 

Sparks spit from the metal ceiling

as I bumper-car down the street

with my handful of meat.

 

How could one write such poetry?

It’s here, Allen, I understand.