A Common Amnesia by Alex Cuff

By Alex Cuff   But not yet have we solved the incantation of this whiteness, and learned why it appeals with such power to the soul; and more strange and far more portentous—why, as we have seen, it is at once the most meaning symbol of spiritual things, nay, the very veil of the Christian’s Deity; and yet should be as it is, the intensifying agent in things the most appalling to mankind. –Herman Melville, Moby Dick, 1851 white butcher paper wrapping the white bagel with the white sesame seeds inside white wax paper white spray paint tagging the framing store on metropolitan before 1691 the word white did not exist white letters of Brooklyn Seoul six white people in the bagel store white napkins the white Nissan sedan parked across the street left over dirty white snow before 1691 the word white did not exist in a legal document the white help wanted sign in the bagel store window me a white girl sitting under the bright white light bulb that many things I do or do not do think or do not think say or do not say are related to this “fact” the pistachio ice cream green...
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Dollbaby, by Amarie Fox

  Dollbaby Amarie Fox   We are going back in time, locking ourselves in our little girl rooms where the walls are pink and there are daisy chains along the ceiling, just to find these sisters of ours, these versions of ourselves. Our favorite is packed in a box, banished to the back of the closet, bound with tissue paper––to hide her nakedness and headlessness. Our brothers stole her, tore her clothes off, spun her around by the hair, crying she was the witch. Off with her head. Before we can stop we are dismantling the dolls. Pulling on their perfect arms and legs, plucking body parts like flower petals, singing he loves me he loves me not he loves me he loves me not. We climb from the window, digging holes beneath the bougainvillea, making tiny graves. Thorns slice our forearms as punishment. Blood smears on the smooth plastic and it really starts to  feel like murder. Swallowing the sick down, the guilt, the shame, we hurry back inside, scramble to reattach limbs and heads, but what we end up with is not what we expect. There is no ugly assemblage of mismatching parts. No freaks. No horrible Frankenstein...
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Victoria McArtor reads from "Not the Pine Nuts" (Issue 04)

Victoria McArtor reads “Not the Pine Nuts”     Victoria McArtor lives near Oklahoma State University. She was recently named a member of The Honor Club with Mutual of Omaha. Her poems have appeared in PANK, Hobart, H_NGM_N, Tupelo Press’s 30/30 Project, and others. Her fiction has appeared in Passages North and Cease, Cows. All of the above writing appears at

The Deep, Gnarly, Ugly Kind of Truth: Against Comfortable Art

  Issue 4 contributor Migueltzinta Cah Mai Solís Pino and writer Luke Dani Blue dialog on community censorship and the problem of “invulnerable writing”.   MCS: So let’s go on the homo-holodeck for a second. LDB: OK. *makes appropriate gay Star Trek noises* MCS: OK, computer, initiate program where Luke has just published a short story in The Paris Review, she’s posted it on Facebook, everyone has Liked it. LDB: I’m digging it. MCS: Computer, Luke and I are now at a brunch with our queer friends and I am boasting to them about how great her story is and isn’t it amazing that she got into TPR. Surprise! They offer half-hearted congratulations. They only read part of it. They give Luke weird ice stares and frost-misted shoulders. LDB: Bitches. And also, yep. I know we’ve both received plenty of those looks. But it’s more than the look. It’s the ring of silence that surrounds any creative achievement/expression that isn’t packaged as a political fundraiser or consciousness-raiser. And you know, if it was one time, it wouldn’t matter. But that icing-out has infinite microaggressions. It makes me think about when I was in my early twenties and every time I’d...
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Ann DeWitt read "Old Maid" (Apogee Issue 04)

Ann DeWitt reads “Old Maid”     Ann DeWitt is a fiction writer, essayist and critic. Her writing has appeared in Granta’s New Writing, NOON, Tin House, The American Reader, Guernica, The Believer Logger,, BOMBlog, Electric Literature, art+culture, elimae, Dossier Magazine, Two Serious Ladies,Publishing Genius and The Faster Times, amongst others. Her story, “Influence,” which first appeared in Esquire’s Napkin Fiction Project was recently anthologized in Short: An International Anthology, edited by Alan Ziegler (Persea, 2014). Ann was a Co-Founding Editor of Gigantic, a literary journal of short prose and art distributed throughout the US and abroad. Ann holds a BA from Brown University and an MFA in Fiction from Columbia University School of the Arts. She teaches in the Undergraduate Creative Writing Program at Columbia and recently completed her first novel, an excerpt of which was just released in the 15th anniversary edition of NOON. She currently pens a bimonthly nonfiction column about art, literature, film, and criticism for The Believer, called “Various Paradigms.”  

Old Folks, by Bernard Grant

  Old Folks Bernard Grant   At Wal-Mart, while I wait for Mamma to put my new video games on layaway, an old lady with tennis balls on her walker sits next to me. She smells like cleaning soap. Hair sprouts from a mole on her cheek. And there’s more hair on her lip, and on her chin. That hair’s black like her, like us, but the hair on her head is white and short and stands up like a cartoon character that’s stuck a fork in the toaster. She’s fat, so every time she moves, her arm, stretched and wrinkled, touches mine. I move a seat over. I miss Granny. Kids at school say they have pretty grannies, but my granny was pretty for real, with big cheeks and big eyes that got bigger when she saw you. And she didn’t smell like anything but the grape candy in her purse. She liked purple. Purple dresses, purple makeup over her eyes, and she never scared me, never made me think about death. Not until she got sick—a stroke—and died. I know old people are supposed to die. Just not her.   — BERNARD GRANT is an MFA candidate at...
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Ladan Osman reads poetry (Apogee Issue 04)

Ladan Osman reads “That Which Scatters and Breaks Apart” and “Trouble”       Ladan Osman is the winner of the African Poetry Book Fund’s 2014 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets for her manuscript, The Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimony (University of Nebraska Press). She has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center, Cave Canem Foundation, and the Michener Center for Writers. A 2012 Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in American Life in Poetry, Broadsided, Narrative Magazine, Prairie Schooner, and Vinyl Poetry. She lives in Chicago.  

Issue 04 Is Here!

We are beyond thrilled to finally share Issue 04 of Apogee with the world! Apogee 04 is a fully interactive, free, online issue hosted on its own microsite. Issue 04 features fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art by a diverse roster of writers and artists of color, international writers, LGBTQ writers, and a vibrant cross-section of voices intent on challenging the status quo. In the following weeks, we’ll also be sharing interviews and multimedia performances from Issue 04 contributors on Perigee, our blog. Follow our FaceBook Page, Twitter and Instagram feeds to stay up to date on these extras, and for all the latest news and events from us. Read, enjoy & share! ~AJ  

Shal Nirvanus, "i 3 poems" (with video)

From “i 3 poems” by Shal Nirvanus i. being in this world is… if you ever feel like the extra person in the room and try joining the conversation it will be similar to saying “pound it” without presenting your fist to anyone at all they will be afraid to ask what you meant were you responding to some shit somebody just said? because you seemed pretty excited. maybe they won’t know you said anything at all. ii. “car wash car wash i gcar wash i car wash” is what my little cousin was telling me with a big emphasis on spinning “i have a car wash in my pocket” he said and spun around until he fell over. he is really in love with his cat named Becks and i am really in love with my cat named Jeans and right now i want to quote Spectrum so here i go, “my life spins round your every smile” Becks, Jeans, Little Cousin, spinning cousin Shal Nirvanus reads from “i 3 poems”     Shal Nirvanus studied Art History at New York University. He is also a musician and video artist. Shal currently lives and works in Los Angeles. This...
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Renegade Writers: A Dialog with Hisham Bustani, Naomi Shihab Nye, Thoraya El-Rayyes

The following is a “round-email” discussion between Issue 4 contributors– Author Hisham Bustani and Arabic to English translator Thoraya El-Rayyes– with Poet Naomi Shihab Nye.  Their communication investigates experimental form, the commodification of art, and questions what literature can, and should, give to the world.  A special thanks to Apogee Staffer F. T. Kola who made this possible.   Featured Above: Trailer for “Another Nightmare Explodes”  A collaboration between Hisham Bustani and different musicians, sound and visual artists. Cecca: Dear Naomi, Thoraya, and Hisham, It is my pleasure to put the three of you in touch.  This is all a bit of an experiment. Thanks for being willing to give this a go.  I have a couple questions I’ll throw out to set this dialog in motion: I was really taken by Hisham’s form. “The City is in My Chest”  begins as a nonfiction narrative that slowly transforms into a work of fiction. It strikes me that in the US there is a lack of experimentation with form in prose.  I am interested to know more about the author’s stylistic choices. And, as you are all aware, in the US there is a near blackout of non-anglophonic literature. In your...
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