Announcing Apogee Issue 04!

Apogee’s fourth issue–our first online interactive issue–is almost here! We’re excited to announce our list of contributors of poetry, prose and visual art: niv Acosta Kenzie Allen José Felipe Alvergue Cristiana Baik Koa Beck Hisham Bustani Gyasi Byng Jess X. Chen Terese Coe Alex Cuff Ann DeWitt Thoraya El-Rayyes Mya Green Julia Guez Aimee Herman Soleil Ho Tsitsi Jaji Devin Kenny Alison Kuo Astrid Larson Rebecca Liu Paco Marquez Caitlin MacBride Victoria Matsui Victoria McArtor Mollie McKinley Roberto Montes Vishal Nirvanus Ladan Osman Migueltzinta Cah Mai Solís Pino Khadijah Queen Patrick Rosal JD Scott Bayeté Ross Smith Eliza Swann Wendy Videlock Grant Worth

a work in progress

By Mahogany L. Browne   The name of this poem is: How to write a poem about ferguson Or The name of this poem is: How a black man dies and no one makes a sound Or The name of this poem is: Everywhere is Ferguson Or The name of this poem is: When the moonrise sounds like gunshots Or The name of this poem is: How to teach your babies to walk and not run, ever. Or How to teach your babies to carry a wallet the size of your smile Or The name of this poem is: How not to smile & make yourself a target Or The name of this poem is: How to write a poem the same size of Emmett Till’s lungs after they pulled him from the Tallahatchie River Or How to write a poem about America’s thirst Or The name of this poem is: Black blood’ll keep you thirsty Or The name of this poem is: I’m still thirsty, An American Horror Story Or How to write an escape route from a tornado Or How to write an escape route when the tornado’s name is Stop & Frisk Or How walk the streets...
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The Use of Force Continuum: Police, Power, and Prejudice

by Joe Ponce In Beavercreek, Ohio, under the glaringly white fluorescent lights of a Walmart superstore, John Crawford III walked around idly holding a BB gun he’d picked up from a shelf. He holds the gun limply (sometimes using it to scratch his back, his neck) as he speaks on the phone and wanders around the near-empty aisles. Somewhere else, perhaps in someone’s imagination, John Crawford III is stalking the aisles waving the gun around and pointing it at children. In reality, the police are called. When they arrive, they see the second, imagined John Crawford III instead of the bored shopper, the man on the phone: he is shot in the back from fifteen feet away, no doubt confused, as were we all, why the police opened fire on a man for walking around a store. He was killed on the spot. Often the police officers in this situation seemingly disappear from press and media coverage, whisked away under paid leave.  News outlets defend these absent cops, explaining the split second decision making that is required,(1) the pressures of the job and deadly nature of police work. Often in response, police Public Information Officers (“PIOs”) are told to give...
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by Jamaal May It’s funny, she says, how many people are shocked by this shooting and the next and next and the next. She doesn’t mean funny as in funny, but funny as in blood soup tastes funny when you stir in soil. Stop me if you haven’t heard this one: A young man/old man/teenage boy walks into an office/theater/daycare/club and empties a magazine into a crowd of strangers/family/students. Ever hear the one about the shotgun? What do you call it when a shotgun tests a liquor store’s bulletproof glass? What’s the difference between a teenager with hands in the air and a paper target charging at a cop? What do you call it when a man sets his own house on fire, takes up a sniper position, and waits for firefighters? Stop me if you haven’t heard this one: The first man to pull a gun on me said it was only a joke, but never so much as smiled. The second said this is definitely not a joke, and then his laughter crackled through me like electrostatic—funny how that works. When she says it’s funny she means funny as in crazy and crazy as in this shouldn’t happen....
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How to Not Get Killed by the NYPD

  by Metta Sáma    When you see the pitch-perfect black 4-door shaded windows roll up on you, don’t grip your wheel. Casually look over your shoulder as a shaded window slips down. Don’t think drive-by. Don’t remember history. It’s only the police. Keep your hands on the wheel. In plain view. It’s the police. Keep your hands on the wheel. The light will turn in your favor. Don’t drive off. Keep your hands on the wheel. Wait, with your left foot pressed hard on the clutch, right foot pressed lightly on the brake. Hands on the wheel. Raise an eyebrow when the police officer raises a question: what’s the speed limit in New York City? Note: the correct answer is 30, no matter the street, no matter the avenue, no matter the faster moving highway traffic, the answer is 30           30. Don’t ask him to clarify. Don’t smile. You are anxious. You will smile. Don’t explain when asked why you’re smiling. Don’t explain your explanation when asked why you’re explaining. Don’t say: we’re blocking the road. Don’t say: we’re triple-parked. Don’t ask them to clarify the infraction. You are the infraction. Don’t remove your hands from the wheel. Accept that...
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Two Poems to #StandWithFerguson

    CONVERGENCE by Nancy Bevilaqua For Gaza, for Ferguson Back behind the barricades they’re saying what the looting means. Call it full-stop mercenary. Manholes steam. Fortune for the one who finds me opened like a can of combustion, thrown down for the last time at a stoplight where it goes like this; future nixed behind the station, soda cans and broken bats, my heart on ice this time. You’ve seen my necklace; it is mine and just to die for in a yard beside the candy store, my longest finger ticking off the sounds of heat.     *     ELEGY FOR THE WOMEN by D.M. Aderibigbe Let us not pretend the sky Is always plaited with beauty, Even the gods are not too perfect. Like Staten Island, the sky Of Ferguson is clouded With police uniforms; Like Garner, teenage Brown Is swallowed by a cop’s fingers. A schoolboy’s body Empty like a soda can Is found at the doorway Of his grandmother’s house. All the women in his life gather Around what the police’s anger Has left of him; each calling His name, as though death Is a disease noise could cure. Each calling his name, Their hearts driven...
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Introducing Nepantla

The Inaugural Issue of Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color launched this morning. Read the Issue here. And join Apogee Journal and Our Word in celebrating tonight at Columbia University, Dodge Hall 413 from 7-9.

I Feel Most Colored When I Am Thrown Against A Sharp White Background: An Elegy

                  Photo credit: Stacy Parker Le Melle, from #NMOS14 vigil, Harlem, NYC. by Morgan Parker   After Glenn Ligon after Zora Neale Hurston Or, I feel sharp White. Or, Colored Against. Or, I am thrown. Or, I am Opposed. Or, When White. Or, I Sharp. Or, I Color. Make it quiet. Wash me away. Forgetting. I feel most colored when I swear to god. I feel most colored when it is too late. My tongue is elegy. When I am captive. I am the color green because green is the color of power. I am a tree growing two fruits. I feel most colored when I am thrown against the sidewalk. It is the last time I feel colored. Stone is the name of the fruit. I am a man I am a man I am a woman I am a man I am a woman I am protected and served. I pay taxes and I am a child and I grow into a bright fleshy fruit. White bites: I stain the uniform. I am thrown black type- face in a headline with no name. Or, no one hears me. Or, I...
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