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“Anaïs Duplan,” pictured above, c. 2016


My composition is this: I am strange, I am brown. I am a permanent resident alien from 1992 to 2015. In 2015, I am “naturalized.”


At the head of Aristide’s third presidency, in 2001, I move to Havana with my mother. We live in a hotel occupied entirely by other foreign diplomats and wealthy Cuban government officials. There is a pool at the bottom of the stairs. Three years later, we receive threatening letters in the mail urging us to leave Cuba. This is the onset of the 2004 coup d’état in Haiti. The new regime replaces the old cabinet.


I learn to use the word ‘diaspora’ from a Russian immigrant named Dilyara in Seattle’s Chinatown in the year 2012.  I also learn the word ‘statelessness.’


A friend, whom I love, dies in the middle of January 2014. Prior to his death, I write poems about estrangement, womanhood, statelessness, and dead animals. After his death, nothing changes, except that now I contemplate what it means to be angry at someone for dying. This is, as far as I’m concerned, a riddle. I try to understand loss. I do this by way of the Afrofuturists and by imagining the Saturnalian people from which the jazz musician Sun Ra claimed to have descended. To be an alien means to be in a permanent state of loss, but to be unsure what you have lost.


In 2015, I travel to Iceland. While there, I launch The Spacesuits. As a performance collective, we create exhibitions and put them up in galleries across the United States, and once in Reykjavík. (And once in Copenhagen, too.) In 2016, I launched The Center for Afrofuturist Studies, &c.



agduplan [at] gmail [dot] com