Perigee

Poetry As Class Privilege: Words Inspired by Audre Lorde

By Christopher Soto So a couple days ago was Audre Lorde’s 80th birthday. Yay! And I’ve been reading/meditating on some of her works, such as ‘Poetry Is Not a Luxury’ — which is an essay filled with knowledge such as: “…for it is through poetry that we give name to those ideas which are, until the poem, nameless and formless-about to be birthed, but already felt.” AND “… within structures defined by profit, by linear power, by institutional dehumanization, our feelings were not meant to survive.” Damn. And I have been thinking about such quotes, as they pertain to my current MFA life. As I look at my student debt climb tens of thousands of dollars. As I struggle to find a job which would help me alleviate such debt. Or maybe find some money to invest in my poetry career? I read a study by the Williams Institute at UCLA called ‘Beyond Stereotypes: Poverty in the LGBT Community.’ My eyes scan a line that states, “transgender people of color had an unemployment rate of four times the national average.” … But I don’t identify as transgender. I identify as a gender-fluid jot@. And so, what does this study mean...
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Valentine's Series: The Sound Of It by Melody Nixon

In honor of Valentine’s Day, all this week on our blog we’ll be posting pieces from our January 31st reading on intercultural dating and relationships. This is the final post in the series, by Editor-At-Large Melody Nixon. “Did you see that piece last night about the titties? That whole TV3 show?” Wiremu keeps his voice low so’s not to get Mr. Bun’s attention. “Fuckin’ all shapes and sizes, eh bro. Fuck. Some HUGE ones.” The Maori boys always sit in a row behind me and my mostly Pakeha—white—friends in Science. The tall desks are rigid in rational rows, we can’t turn to really talk. We just listen. The Maori boys sit in a row behind us and look at the outlines of our backs. We turn around sometimes, when Mr. Bun isn’t looking, when Mr. Bun isn’t yelling. We want to check out their faces, see their eyes. Argue with them, ’cause they’re boys. “At least have the dignity,” says Magnolia, who’s sitting next to me and is taking a moment to try out feminism, “at least have the dignity to call them breasts,” she says to Wiremu. She’s fifteen, we’re all fifteen. “Well fuck, breasts then,” says Wiremu, and...
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Valentine's Series: Two Poems by Marina Blitshteyn

In honor of Valentine’s Day, all this week on our blog we’ll be posting pieces from our January 31st reading on intercultural dating and relationships.    Identity Love Poem   It’s not true that when I love you I don’t see race or ethnicity   To overlook it would be to ignore the structures that shaped you   Outside a bar in Buffalo some kids yell something at us from their car   It’s a little hurt but we say they wish they were as fly as us   In my favorite city you read Race Matters on the train back   Somewhere in Toronto couples astound me, you blame history   A little hurt but we both confess to loving this country after all   Here we’ve become accustomed to asking ourselves questions   What would our parents say? Do we have anything to declare?   How do we know each other? I mean really know each other   I want to see clearly how it felt All those lifetimes without me   I want all of the hurts to know And I want everybody to know it   So what else could I ask for? A million ordinary things together   A million ordinary...
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Valentine's Series: How Far Back? by Alexandra Watson

In honor of Valentine’s Day, all this week on our blog we’ll be posting pieces from our January 31st reading on intercultural dating and relationships. Our second piece is by Apogee Co-Editor-In-Chief, Alexandra Watson. You know those things your exes tell you, those things they say to break you down? Those curve balls they throw—too far inside the plate just to trick you, to throw you off guard—but meant to smash through something: splinter bone, knock you over? He says you’re too white for him. Correction: he says, his mother was right, you’re too white for him. He tells you you’re too white for him, and you wouldn’t expect to be insulted by something as ridiculous as that, but then you are.  After all, you weren’t all that insulted when he called you a cunt; it wasn’t that bad that time he said all your mutual friends took his side. But he says you’re too white, and your walls come apart. They crumble, they’re splintered, and now—there’s something that was that you can’t put back together, and all that’s left is cracked plaster on the floor. And the something that was is not the relationship, because you don’t give a fuck...
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Valentine's Series: Tongue-Tied (Untitled) by Sarah Thomas

In honor of Valentine’s Day, all this week on our blog we’ll be posting pieces from our January 31st reading on intercultural dating and relationships. Our first piece, Tongue-Tied (Untitled) by Sarah Thomas, was originally published in Issue 2.  I come to you as a scab picker. I was known for sitting alone after a grade school scuffle or a tumble off the jungle gym and picking off my scabs to watch the blood run. I was never sure if I did that to prove something to myself or just to make others watch me bleed. Whenever I have bounced ideas for essays off my boyfriend, he has often advised: Whatever you do, don’t talk about your preference for black men. You’ll make a lot of enemies. I hope he was underestimating all of us. This is what I’m scared to talk about. This is what I’ve spent near 30 years figuring out how to talk about. What I’m trying to say is, as a white woman from the South, throughout the years I was supposed to say: “Black” instead of “colored,” because “colored” reflects our history of ignorance. And then “African American,” instead of “black,” because “black” reflects our...
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Apogee Journal – Issue 4 | Contributors

Contributors niv Acosta is a dance artist, educator, black Dominican, transexual, queer, and native New Yorker. He attended the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance (New York City), American Dance Festival (Duke University) and CalArts (Dance BFA). In 2010 niv received an Art and Social Change Grant from The Leeway Foundation with which he presented two solo works titled denzel and denzel prelude at Studio 34 in Philadelphia. He moved back to New York and presented denzel superstructure through Movement Research Open Performance (New York City) and The Community Education Center (Philadelphia). In 2011 niv was accepted into the Fresh Tracks Residency Program through New York Live Arts. i shot denzel was presented in various stages at Center for Performance Research (2012), 92nd Street Y, Judson Memorial Church (2013), MOMA PS1, Abrons Arts Center, Human Resources (Los Angeles), and New York Live Arts (2014). Since the close of the “denzel series,” niv has been working on a new project expanding on his interests in sci-fi, astronomy, and disco. He’s presented two solo works titled cosmic muck and inner disco at Vox Populi in Philadelphia and at The Studio Museum in Harlem. niv has collaborated with artists Malik Gaines, Alexandro Segade, Andrea...
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Not the pine nuts

By Victoria McArtor We are supposed to think there’s an imaginary motorcycle and we are supposed to be in this position as if we are riding the motorcycle… You are bound to fall forward. Everybody in the detention centre goes through this kind of torture. — Kim Kwang-il Think motorcycle without hot girth between the legs, hold yourself apart like this.Think of riding south down Kaesŏng highway with, what was her name, nostalgia is such a distorting force. Try not to think of the crime—not the pine nuts I stole but the eating of them from her hand, as soon as we can pull this thing over to rest, or think instead she’d be eating me from her own hand, or think I could be still in shell, or a tree, I could be roots traveling south pushing towards the East China Sea. Or rather be the sea.Calm down, I think she’s saying to me. We ride & nothing is so mysterious as her body coming to a close around me she’s tight as a whip she’s as rough as the road of the trip, she’s the light near the darkness she is herself an abyss and I take her...
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The City Is In My Chest by Hisham Bustani

By Hisham Bustani Translated from the Arabic by Thoraya El-Rayyes Algiers It’s no wonder the city looks exhausted. It is besieged by history, and history besieges you within it like a foot stamping down on your lungs, everywhere and from every direction. As if it is heavy water—you try to lift your head above the surface but cannot, for hovering above you is ‘Abd al-Qādir al-Jazā’irī, raising his curved sword in the square that carries his name; and at the corner of the Milk Bar Café, Zahra Ẓaryf-Biyṭāṭ planted a bomb, like a rose dedicated to a future love. The main shopping street is called Diydowsh Murād and at the corner of the National Museum of Contemporary Art is a framed stone plaque: The Martyr Muhammad Al’araby Ben Mahidy. And—of course—the street is named after him. The Governmental Palace is fenced with pictures of the Group of Twenty Two, and towering over the space is the Martyrs’ Memorial—a giant torrent, defying gravity so that water from the earth can inseminate the water of the sky; a torrent of white blood that rises from the Museum of the Revolution to touch the clouds. A foot stamping down on your lungs, everywhere...
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