A drawn human figure stretching their body across a marked background

Image Credit: Regina Larre Campuzano


by DJ Savarese


How would you like to wear a gorilla suit in public? I put that suit on

every morning and go to class, swinging like King Kong from the campus

lampposts. The college wants diversity, and so here I am. I want it, too, but

the college also wants to congratulate itself, and so it stares. I make noises

people say. I eat like an orangutan. The banana of anxiety drives me. Only

my blind friend Steve ignores the flapping windmill of my arms. Their

spawned tornadoes, he says, are the wrath of a disabled god.


DJ SAVARESE has written a chapbook entitled A Doorknob for the Eye. Other poems and prose have appeared in literary journals, such as The Iowa Review, Seneca Review, Prospect, Stone Canoe, and Nine Mile Magazine. “Passive Plants,” a lyric essay published in The Iowa Review, was named a notable essay in the 2018 Best American Essays. The co-producer of the Peabody award-winning, Emmy-nominated documentary film Deej: Inclusion shouldn’t be a lottery, he currently works full-time as an Open Society Foundations/Human Rights Initiative Youth Fellow, working to make literacy-based education, communication, and inclusive lives a reality for all nonspeaking people through artful advocacy, teaching, and community organizing. Before moving to Iowa City, he graduated from Oberlin College in May 2017 with a double major in Anthropology and Creative Writing.