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Papers will not protect us: fugitive alien voices | launch and celebration for “Intergalactic Travels: poems from a Fugitive Alien” by Alan Pelaez Lopez

February 19 @ 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM


is there a noun for the type of energy
the Black body feels when it senses danger?;

is there an adjective for the type of sex
the Alienated wanna have in order to stop time?;

is there a verb for traveling into another dimension
to understand how the Self is surviving?;

is there the possibility of being Human once again?;
Please join The Operating System in celebrating the launch of Intergalactic Travels: poems from a fugitive alien, the debut hybrid collection from Alan Pelaez Lopez. “Papers will not protect us” features the voices of Jess X. Snow, Alejandro Heredia, and Wo Chan, together with the author, in celebration, resistance, and visionary resilience, conjuring futures for bodies named alien by an imperial capital state.
Suggested donation of $10 to benefit the Bureau. No one turned away for lack of funds.
We ask that you please avoid wearing perfumes/scents so that those with allergies and sensitivity to scent can attend.
Intergalactic Travels: poems from a fugitive alien will be available for purchase at the event. To reserve a copy please write to us at Thanks you for supporting the Bureau by buying books from us!
‘Intergalactic Travels: poems from a fugitive alien’ is an experimental poetry collection that renders an intimate portrait of growing up undocumented in the United States. Through the use of collages, photographs, emails, and immigration forms, Alan Pelaez Lopez formulates theories of fugitivity that position the Trans*Atlantic slave trade and Indigenous dispossession as root causes of undocumented immigration. Although themes of isolation and unbelonging are at the forefront of the book, the poet doesn’t see belonging to U.S. society as a liberatory practice. Instead, Pelaez Lopez urges readers to question their inheritance and acceptance of “settler rage, settler fear, and settler citizenship,” so that they can actively address their participation in everyday violences that often go unnoticed. As the title invokes, Intergalactic Travels breaks open a new galaxy where artists of color are the warriors that manifest the change that is needed not only to survive, but thrive.
Advance Praise:

“‘Intergalactic Travels: poems from a fugitive alien’ brilliantly expands the conversation on undocumented migration by tracing the legacy of illegality. Claiming ‘every crossing becomes mine,’ Alan Pelaez Lopez, as fugitive alien, bravely takes on the task of traveling across galaxies to reach an elsewhere that is something more like a new holding. Against the failure of political language, this book of multimedia poems becomes a verb, an active imagining that takes the banality of papers and transforms it into poetry. This intergalactic traveling brings the ‘Black NDN’ migrant touchingly back to their mother’s arms, and to her vision for life. If illegality is to be their legacy, Alan reimagines that illegality as both disruptive of settler-futures and productive for black and indigenous futures. We should be immensely grateful for this vision.” – Javier O. Huerta, author of ‘American Copia: An Immigrant Epic’
“This is a stunning book. It’s history, it’s their story, it’s an archive and a hard drive with a playful vibe. Its sense of humor girds and grounds and gallops around the gravity of law and belonging and erasure and choosing words and narratives and modes that were made without people like us in the room. It revels in colonial language as it tells that language to sit the f down. There’s a new b on the scene. Take note and pay your respects.” – Tommy Pico, author of ‘Feed’
Alan Pelaez Lopez is an AfroIndigenous poet, installation, and adornment artist from Oaxaca, México. They are the author of the art and poetry collection, ‘Intergalactic Travels: poems from a fugitive alien’ (The Operating System, 2020), and the chapbook, ‘to love and mourn in the age of displacement’ (Nomadic Press, 2020). Their poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and “Best of the Net,” as well as published in Best New Poets, Best American Experimental Writing, POETRY, Puerto Del Sol, Everyday Feminism, & elsewhere. Pelaez Lopez has received fellowships and/or residencies from Submittable, the Museum of the African Diaspora, VONA/Voices, and UC Berkeley. They live in Oakland, CA & the internet (as @MigrantScribble).

Wo Chan is a queer poet and drag performer living in Brooklyn. Wo has received fellowships from the New York Foundation of the Arts, Kundiman, and the Asian American Writers Workshop. As a member of Switch N’ Play, Wo has performed at venues including The Whitney, National Sawdust, New York Live Arts, and BAM Fisher. Check them out @theillustriouspearl.

Jess X. Snow is a queer migrant asian-canadian artist, filmmaker, and pushcart-nominated poet based in Brooklyn, NY. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, they are currently a MFA candidate at NYU Graduate Film. Through film, large-scale murals, poetry and art education, they are working to build a future where queer, trans and migrant people of color may see themselves heroic on the big screen and city walls & then can grow up with the agency to create their own. Their murals and political graphics have appeared on outdoor buildings across the country and on PBS Newshour, The LA Times, and in the permanent collection of the Ford Foundation and the Library of Congress. Their art and films have been used as organizing tools at protests such as the Women’s March on Washington, as a part of migrant rights organizing on both sides of the border, as well as on college campuses to support survivors and end rape culture. Their multi-disciplinary practice combines art and somatic healing practices to empower communities to discover inside their own bodies—a sanctuary of healing and collective liberation.

Alejandro Heredia is is a Queer Afro-Dominican writer from The Bronx. He is a member of Project X’s first Slam team, and national outreach coordinator for PEN Across America, where he develops literary advocacy and press freedom programming throughout the country. Since 2016, he has used his writing and organizing skills to create and support literary events in the Bronx, including efforts to resist gentrification in low-income communities. Heredia is passionate about the creative, intellectual, and social lives of Black LGBTQ people across the diaspora. In 2019, he launched a workshop and event series in the Bronx centering Black LGBTQ writers.


February 19
7:00 PM - 9:30 PM


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