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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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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