BioCharles W. Harvey is a native Houstonian and a graduate of the University of Houston. He has studied fiction under the guidance of Rosellen Brown and Chitra Divakaruni. In 1987, Charles was a 1st place prize recipient of PEN/Discovery for his short story Cheeseburger, which went on to be published in the Ontario Review. In 1989 Charles Harvey was awarded the Cultural Arts Council of Houston Grant for Writers and Artists. Charles has been published in Soulfires, Story Magazine SHADE, High Infidelity, The James White Review, and others. He is the author of the novels The Butterfly Killer, Promise Goodday, Boy For Hire, and Maura and Her Two Husbands. He is also the author of several story and poetry collections.
I can't wait to read this. Even just the description makes me laugh!
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Poems can be reflective or reactionary. In a reflective mood, the poet comments on past events. His or her voice may be calm, wistful, and longing. They are preservers of the moment. When poets put on their reactionary mantle, they are more vocal and want to move themselves and others to action In this small collection, Harvey has both the reflective voice and the force of the reactionary.
Viewing the Vietnam War, race relations, and the cultural renaissance of the 1960's and 1970's through the prism of a child's eye shaped Harvey's views and points of view. The poets Allen Ginsburg, Amiri Baraka, Langston Hughes, and Ai shaped his voice.
Young black Othello Jones meets his former High school English teacher. Things turn violent when Othello brags of an affair he had with the man's white wife. Othello however, has some deep curiosity about the love the man once confessed. I was thinking of Edward Albee's play Zoo Story and how mundane meetings can turn violent.
The Blue Train to Heaven
Under the backdrop of the wacky world of Ghana coffin makers, comes this tale of two brothers, Elijah and Ashong.
Humor masks the subtle undertones of envy, jealousy, and mockery as Elijah tells the story of how his brother comes to be buried in the elaborate train coffin.
The Folks Gang have invaded the small town of Hattiesburg Mississippi. They're up to mayhem, including painting their gang symbols all over town. Della is a teen girl living with her mother. She's torn between love and disdain for one of the gang members who goes by the name of Cheeseburger. He hardly notices her and the love affair is all in her head. Something very tragic happens to her best friend. How will Della take the news?
Winner of the 1987 PEN/Southwest prize for Fiction.
Roommates and the Old Dead Seaman
In Roommates and the Old Dead Seaman, Omar has just received his Grandfather's cremated remains. He is in a quandary as to where to place them in the apartment he shares with Rock his hot roommate. There's hardly any place sacred with Rock and Omar walking around naked and doing other unmentionable acts at the drop of a towel.
When Dogs Bark the Short Story
You may think with a name like Jethro, our story is a simple tale of a country bumpkin visiting New York City. It's deeper than that. There's a restlessness in Jethro's soul. Plus, he has the quirky habit of barking when he's nervous. It starts with a low growl when he's mildly agitated, to a ferocious bark when he feels endangered.
Jethro gets fed up with his wife and her cousin after being cooped up in the cousin's tiny apartment. He came to New York to see things, he declares and steps out to explore the city on his own. As he rides the subway he growls under his breath to keep the creeps away (just imagine).
He catches the attention of Toni a cross-dresser recently released from the army. It becomes a wild weekend of sex and self-discovery.
How I Got Over
These poems tell the story of love gone bad. There are no chocolates, roses, or cupids in these "love stories." These poems tell the bitter truth about love. Romance is for dreamers. In these poems, the candy has turned bitter and the roses have dried up.The narrator in "How I got Over" shares with us her unrequited with a man cool to her affections. She pushes through all of the pain until the bitter end when she visits his grave and delivers her own brand of sweet revenge.
Is the party over at thirty-nine? Cleon doesn't think so. He's about to turn forty and desires to hold onto his youthful days. He buys a new computer, downloads the latest dating apps, and goes on a quest to find the love that has eluded him. Will he find love or disappointment?
Four Crazy Short Stories
There actually more than four stories in this collection. So imagine a world where you are constantly monitored, a world ruled by a large weapon, and a world where a citizen runs into trouble for trying to mail an alarm clock to his Senator, and you have a dystopian weirdness. Well, we're almost there. These stories will let you know what's coming aka Orwellian future.
A tale of lust, bitterness, and betrayal. Sister Gloria, a young black woman, is the newest member of Mosque Number Eight. She secretly lusts after the young fiery Minister Q. He pays her scant attention, focusing all of his energy on his caustic sermons of black pride and nationalism.
During one of the Minister's sermons, a napkin with an address falls from his pocket, leading Sister Gloria to learn of the Minister's secret life.
My Manhood is Very Important to Me
Avery is conflicted about his sexuality. He recounts to a transvestite the love he felt for his former male best friend as well as his love for the woman in his life. Avery's life on the down-low is fraught with his wrestling with his physical and emotional intimacy toward men.
Urban Tales are made up of long and short stories. These stories and excerpts are streetwise and heart touching. Characters speak in elegant voices and raw urban tongues. The raw truth can make you uncomfortable, make you, and maybe make you cry. But it will never bore you.
The Power Plant
A young man's coming of age story. Innocent and sweet with menacing undertones. In the Power Plant our protagonist works in his University's boiler and chiller facility typing reports and running errands. He's nineteen and trying to deal with his attraction to men while feeling he should be in love with women.
David, Jonathan, and Sylvester
Through hard work and good luck David "Big Nose" Calloway navigates through the Jim Crow South and into the plush chandeliered Walnut Grove Country Club. There he meets Jonathan Knapp a fellow businessman. Jonathan tries hard to befriend David. However, David remains aloof and distant. Jonathan's anger sends him on a quest for revenge and exposes a secret both men share.
Buck Wile is Punk'd Out on Da Downlow
Buck Wile's cousin takes him to a gay bar for the first time. A little drink and and a little smoke puts Buck in a mellow mood. He meets Jake. A ride on the motorcycle and more herb breaks down all of Buck's inhibitions. All is going good until Jake's "girl" steps in the picture. She's not the lady Buck thought she was. A couple of gunshots and Buck's roaring out butt naked on the ol' Kawasaki.
Catnip Gray Cat Detective: The Tabitha Davenport Affair
Catnip Gray is no ordinary house cat. At first glance, you might be fooled. He sleeps late, stays up all night tomcatting, eats birds, and seems to care less about his human’s shenanigans. However, unlike most cats, Catnip has a taste for Slim-Fast and runs a detective agency. He also has a soft spot for beautiful female cats in distress.
Boy For Hire
Antoine Rucker leads a double life. During the day, he's a young twenty-something up and coming Black IT Executive for a major insurance company in Downtown Atlanta, Georgia. On weekend nights, he's a street hustler turning tricks near the infamous Bulldogs Bar. He's smart, a graduate of Morehouse College. He's being groomed for for his company's new CIO (Chief Information Officer) However, Antoine wrestles with inner demons that drive him to the streets and into the arms of misfit and wounded men. Will Antoine's sordid nightlife catch up with him? Will he ever get the monkey off his back?
Coming Home Tomorrow
Louis is coming home from the hospital. Evans faces a dilemma. Does he want to be the faithful and dependable lover to Louis or give in to his desire for freedom? Louis' recovery will be long and difficult. The shadow of Louis' unfaithfulness hangs over he and Evans' relationship. After all, the car accident occurred during Louis' affair with a stranger. What decision will Evan's make? Will a young man he met at the hospital help him make up his mind? Is Louis a changed man?
The Holey Sweets Underwear Manufacturing Company
New York attitude clashes with small Texas town values is the best way to describe The Holey Sweets Underwear Manufacturing Company. Holey Sweets run by its notorious lying President, needs cheap labor and land for its factory to make its new line of sexy male and female lingerie. Edna Glaspey needs a job. However, the conniving president in cahoots with local authorities to rake the town for all its worth, a serial killer on the loose, and a notorious prostitution ring run by the 500 pound bedridden “Blind Pudding causes quite a bit of havoc for Butler's Butt.”
Red Underwear is the story of a single man's quest for love before the age of cell phones and the internet. Henry a lonely writer has just won a writing prize. He decides to place a personal ad in the local paper to find a woman to help him celebrate his good fortune. Ruth calls Henry after finding his ad while she was cleaning out her cat's litter box. Henry gets a lot more than he bargained for when Ruth shows up at the door.