Harvey’s poetry and short fiction have appeared in Albatross, Blackmail
Press, Brief, Enamel, Jaam, Lancashire Life, Landfall, The Lumière
Reader, NZ Listener, Poetry New Zealand, and Takahe. His first book of
poems, Moonshot, was published by Steele Roberts in 2008. He is now
working on his second book of poems.
By the Hutt River, January, 1983
The twilight magenta hills
burned before us
as we crossed the dry river bed.
I picked sandflies from my ankles
ripe as blackberries with the juice of my blood
when I stooped to rub
soft talc from the stones
fine as pool hall chalk
and rich with the river’s oily scent.
My friends had bought a cask and some dope –
I didn’t want a drink
I didn’t want a smoke.
I thought of you
in your red cotton dress
in your eighth floor apartment
in Pandan Valley, Clementi, Singapore.
I thought of you
eating mee siam
in the ground floor food court
printing tidy words
on a turquoise aerogramme.
The river’s muezzin
brought me back
from the promise of your return.
I smelt dope from downstream
heard my friends’ laughter
so I went to join them.
cut the dry stones
to touch the water.
The Golden Age of Deconstruction
has yet to arrive. The Golden Age
will be a monstrous future world of signs
without end for low-waged post-grads
slouching towards tenure in small New Zealand
cities - say Palmerston North. While they wait
they work as tutors, market researchers,
baristas, clerks; expectations deflate
sans tenure they translate into teachers
or council officers. The Golden Age
of Deconstruction will be a youthful folly;
days spent in fevered exegesis of a page
of Derrida on Nietzsche’s forgotten brolly
remembered privately at drinks after work
with colleagues in the job John takes to survive
while Jan works off her loan as a hotel clerk.
The Golden Age of free freeplay has yet to arrive.