Perigee

In The Waiting Line by Gyasi Bing

By Gyasi Byng In 2007, a few weeks after full body scanners were installed in airports, I traveled from West Palm Beach, Florida to Long Island, New York to visit my sister and her children. After taking off my shoes and earrings, I stepped in, put my hands over my head, and let the scanner’s mechanical arms pass over my body. An alarm sounded, indicating that I was possibly carrying some type of suspicious material. Without a word, I was escorted out of the line and into a hallway to receive a full body search. Running her hands through my legs, over my arms, and between my breasts, the female security officer told me that the underwire in my bra had probably set off the alarm. She told me that I was free to go back to the security line and claim my luggage. However, before I could step away, her supervisor eyed me curiously, reached across the other officer, and began to grope my thick curly hair. Once she had finished, the supervisor looked me in the eye and said, “Now you can go.” I was never told explicitly why my hair was searched, but I can only assume...
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Issue 04 Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Editor I’ve had a thought as this issue has begun taking shape over the past few months that I’ve held myself back from saying. I didn’t want to seem reductive, or to insult any of our current or former contributors or staff members and, probably more so than that, I didn’t want to be repetitive. But the thought has kept repeating and is now firmly a part of my inner conversation, my silent series of anxieties and excited superlatives surrounding this, the fourth issue of Apogee. I’ll reveal it to you now if you promise you’ll let me say the same thing next issue: though chronologically this is Issue 04, to me it feels like our first issue. You may remember many of us saying this same thing prior to the release of Issue 03, our first issue outside of the umbrella of a university. And though I didn’t say it at the time, I was also having thoughts in this vein way back when we were putting together Issue 02, the first issue for which I served as Literary Editor. But for me to understand this recurring thought and perhaps get to the heart of why...
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Old Maid by Ann Dewitt

By Ann DeWitt He’s fifty when he starts with the suspected trapeze dancers, fixtures in the night riding a large red tricycle. Don’t yet know about the World War II jumpsuit or the guy in chains in back sucking the salt off all the peanuts. I didn’t put him in the cage. He jumped right in. Locked the door himself. “Here we are,” he said when we first met. I said, “Let me down.” We were just two small twigs then, riding a red tricycle, getting high on pizza in the back of a pickup, jet-setting in Ohio, bass fishing with his father. “Just look,” he said from where we stood on the pier. “And let me push you.” I first put him in the birdcage when he was fifty, when he started pinning lint balls to the back of his mother’s head and taking a break, telling his Grandmother he’d like to give her a ride on the back of his tricycle before pushing off down the hill, before she’d had her shower. I hung the birdcage in my window. “Give me a shake,” he said, perched in the back of the cage. “Shake it out.” “Give me anything.”...
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Two Poems by Malik Ameer

Little Everywhere and Big Daddy’s Bad Ass Boots “We meet again which life is this some say it’s hell some say it’s bliss some neither know nor care to glimpse what is temporal and what is permanent.” We meet again which time is this much has changed but who still remembers it ages come ages vanish….. ((((((((((((((!!!0!!!!)))))))))))))))) my man drags his eyes from a past where we lived on another planet he almost explains but saw we dug it his wife laughs and asks “yeah but what’s all that got to do with sticking to our budget?!.” We meet again which world is this talking to her belly she asks, “what is your name?” she blinks and in that instant she lives a thousand lives when she opens her eyes her child reminds, “I am what I was unable to finish, I will be that web weaver reminding this world of what is always endless”   Writer’s Rites to write until every rite achieved glows into every infinity as not only something to be said but also as everything to be lived as a means to destroy the ordinary and exemplify the extraordinary defying the natural and being one with...
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Until Now Gives Way to Then: Notes on Fun Home and Fun Home the Musical

By Yardenne Greenspan It was surprisingly hard to rate Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel, on Goodreads. I’d read it last October—quite late to the game, I know—and was touched to my core. How do you define the experience of reading a book that makes you feel simultaneously elated and devastated? How do you recommend a graphic novel that contains about six squares of drawing and fifty words of text per page, and yet can take about a week to read, every sparse square containing multitudes, working on three different levels of content—image, dialogue, narration—that are both hidden and revealing, analytical and bashful, courageous and terrified? I gave it five stars. I’d only recently discovered the world of graphic novels, a late revelation that made me sorry for all that wasted time. This, after all, seems like the perfect genre for me, because if there’s anything I like more than books, it’s films, and if there’s anything I like more than films, it’s books. Fun Home is a graphic memoir, in which author Alison Bechdel recounts her childhood in a funeral home and tries to make sense of her father’s latent homosexual tendencies and of his death under unclear circumstances (interpreted...
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WJDC? Would Junot Díaz Cry?

Submissions Close to the Yale Series of Younger Poets, Navigating Feelings of Inferiority By Christopher Soto “When I finished [Slow Lightning by Eduardo C. Corral] I bawled. Wise and immense.” —Junot Díaz, The New York Times Book Review    When Carl Phillips became the first queer person of color  to judge the Yale Series of Younger Poets, I damn near shat my pants and shed a tear at the same time. The Yale Series of Younger Poets is the oldest and one of the most prestigious poetry book publishing competitions in the United States. And as a young QPOC poet I was so happy, so proud, to see my gente represented within this prestigious competition. I remember thinking “hell yea, we gunna take up space in this hetero-dominant, white-supremacist, elitist poetry series.”    Mhmm.    And then when Eduardo C. Corral became the first (queer) Latino to win the Yale Series of Younger Poets, chosen by Carl Phillips, I remember thinking “this (particular) system is about to be dismantled!”    Mhmm.    And then, when talking to a friend about Carl and Eduardo / what they do for QPOC confidence, my friend told me that I should submit my manuscript to the Yale Series...
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Ten Seconds in the California Sun: The Murder of Andy Lopez Cruz

By Cecca Ochoa, Editorial Non-fiction Editor Photo Credit: Reuters/Noah Berger Each person blinks once every two to ten seconds, that’s as many as five times in ten seconds, or, in a moment of extreme anxiety, pupils dilated, he or she will unblinkingly stare, pop-eyed with fear. The heart beats sixty to one hundred times per minute, but in ten seconds of panic the heart can hammer twenty-five times, maybe faster. Psychologists say that in one tenth of one second after seeing another person’s face you make a decision about whether or not they are trustworthy. Of course, the officers never saw his face before they opened fire; they saw a figure with a gun, a big gun. Businessmen say that you have seven seconds to convince your audience that you are “the man” or you have no deal. Here is the deal: the cops saw a figure with a gun in a brown neighborhood and they opened fire. The figure was a thirteen year old boy: Andy Lopez Cruz; the gun was plastic. The human brain can think fast—acceleration into action, deceleration into calm—somewhere in those ten seconds, two cops pulled over, opened the car door, yelled, “put down the...
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Zinzi Clemmons in Zoetrope: All Story

Zinzi Clemmons in Zoetrope: All Story A big congrats to our Managing Editor and Co-Founder Zinzi Clemmons, who has a story in the current Fall issue of Zoetrope: All-Story, alongside Elizabeth McCracken, Ben Fountain, and legendary filmmaker Agnes Varda. You can check out an excerpt here, and pick up the issue in your local bookstore.

Spectacle and Rick Owens's Black Female Steppers

Marjon Carlos writes of the pleasures and problems with designer Rick Owens’s use of female step teams in his Spring/Summer 2014 show in Paris: “…the Black female has continuously been positioned as a source of spectacle and pleasure, primarily existing outside the canonized idea of femininity. Owens’s use of these steppers as models tows this precarious line, with the designer certainly underscoring these young women’s strength, skill, and passion, but equally using their unexpected presence (racially, physically, spatially) to stir. As Owens was quoted of saying after the show, ‘I was attracted to how gritty [stepping] was, it was such a ‘fuck-you’ to conventional beauty. [The steppers] were saying, ‘We’re beautiful in our own way.'” Read the rest at Saint Heron.