WEBEXCLUSIVE

from We Are Here

we’re facing this way – we came down – we just came from here so this is that – what is that? – this is that and and this is that – oh! – ok wait – what is that? – this is that – am I wrong?  I just don’t know! – well, yeah – I thought we were coming from here – we are – but then that would be there then – oh – and this would be that – we did just come over that though, so we must have not gone this way at the right time? – yeah, I don’t remember june beetle bridge mm-mmm, so I guess we came this way – that’s ok, whatever, here we are – this way? this way? – I dunno – this way? – yeah, you’re right,  this way – I was forgetting that we were meant to come – the forest is ending – oh, it’s cars.

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so this’ll just tell you where to go – there’s a couple ways to go so we’ll just see what she says – turn left. on. west germantown pike – ok so she’s gonna have you take the turnpike – or she could have you take dekalb – yeah I dunno it would be strange but you could do it – dekalb is a little road, well it’s not a little road but it’s not as big as the turnpike – anyway dekalb, dekalb pike, actually it’s route 202 but around here we call it dekalb – dekalb is one way you could go but I’d say it’s the wrong way so if she has us doing that I don’t know what we’re gonna do – well I guess it doesn’t mean it won’t work it could work you’d just have to take it all the way to the expressway and the turnpike would be faster so I don’t know why she’d say that but we’ll see what she says – turn right. on. swede road – no that’s not right that can’t be right that’s wrong that’s wrong – well should we stop? – that just can’t be right – well which way do you think we should go? – alright I’ll just shut up now – but you seem to know the way maybe you can just tell us how to get there – I’ll tell you what I do know she’s wrong that thing, what she’s saying, that’s wrong – wait but are you sure? – yeah maybe she knows something you don’t – it’s a road that goes nowhere, it just stops do you ever wonder why we never take it? It’s because it doesn’t go anywhere – she told us to turn right on a road that’s essentially a dead end – you know how to go though, don’t you? – yeah, we’ve gone here before all by ourselves – well I’d just as soon see what she says if we can get her to work

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we just came down from here so we are here and this is that and this is that and that whole thing over there? – is this – I’m pretty sure – wait, but I thought we were coming from here – we are - but then that would be there then – oh – o shit, we did just come over something – it could’ve been that though – do we need to go ummm, it would be… there? – mm-hmmm, so I guess we came this way – you wanna try this way? – no, I think we should try your way – I don’t care, I told you I’m always wrong so let’s go this way – yeah sure this way – that looks like there’s a house in the sky

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I wonder if this is the right way – if we don’t see it we’ll make a right on centennial avenue – I wonder if it’s ok – yeah, here – what – is the right way – we can find out – um if we go past – if we don’t see it we can go – we’ll make a right on centennial avenue and come back – well, where would it be if it wasn’t here? – well, it’s here, I just thought it was actually I thought it was facing this street but now that I’m looking – oh, you think it could be back off that way – so it’s not so bad, it’s not like we’re in the wrong part of the town – we may just be a few feet back from this street here – eel grass rehabilitation project – I wonder what eel grass is – I guess it’s in trouble – there’s a sign over there that tells you but you have to walk on the grass to get there – is this eel grass? – I dunno but I don’t want to mess it up just in case – yeah I guess not – so you think this is the street we’re on? – uh, maybe – if it is – wait – we should go this way I think yeah this way – ok

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ok so it looks like the best way is to take a left on 48th – ok good, turn left – turn left – turn left – well it sounded like you were almost there are you turning left – turn left – left – left turn left – did you turn left – why not?

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is that long island – oh that’s connecticut – my google maps has been so slow lately – I think I need to get a new phone – what’s that one – new york state – this one here? – open it – so – um – I guess we just – take this bridge – I mean there’s – I guess we could either go – yeah cuz I just don’t know anything out there so I don’t wanna not know where we’re going or lead us nowhere or end up in some suburban neighborhood – ok so this goes this way we could go up to the bridge – we just need a destination that’s all cuz you know what I mean we’re not gonna just stumble on some nice place to go – exactly – we have to know where we’re going – this is so annoying it won’t load

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what’s the nearest street – well you must be near some street, I mean, you just said you pulled over and I’m guessing that was on a street right so what street are you on – you’re pulled over, right? – ok so look out of the car window – are you looking out the window? – just look out and a little up like to where a street sign would be – ok? – look for a street sign, do you see a street sign? – well there must be one, just look at the nearest corner – are you looking? – do you see a green sign that looks like a street sign? – good, what does it say? – does the sign have numbers or letters – what are the numbers – 64? Hmmm does it say avenue or road or street? – 64th ave – uuhhh – yeah I gotta find that – I’ll figure it out – just let me figure it out – I’m figuring it out don’t worry – I’m looking – don’t worry, you’re gonna be fine, you’ll just have to turn around – I’m telling you I’m looking here and the only thing to do is go back the way you came – well tell him to pull himself together and deal – well you’re gonna have to – I’m looking on the map do you think I’m just making this all up? – there is no good way for me to tell you streets – yes, I am looking and that is how I have deduced that the best way is to get back on the highway – I realize you’re freaking out but its just the highway and there isn’t a very straightforward way to tell you to drive – you don’t want to drive through streets here it’s a very confusing place – you thought the highway was bad? – it’s nothing compared to the side streets – we’re not doing that, no – no – I’m telling you you don’t want to do that I’m looking at the map right now and it is a truly gnarly situation you do not want this I’m telling you seriously

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ok so we’re actually over here – look at that – so somehow we ended up that way, huh? – interesting – so if we keep walking – I guess we’ll hit something – we’ll figure it out right? – should we go up or across or – I don’t know – I don’t care about that house, do you? – not necessarily – whatever you want – let’s go up this way – around here? – ok but we’re not going to that house, though, right, we don’t want that right? – no don’t worry but we have to go by it to go over there – oh ok just checking cuz I have no need for sightseeing shit like that quaint house – yeah, no, we’re passing the house

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I don’t think the bramble is on here – uh oh – ramble – is that it? – that might be it – so if that’s the case then we’re not far – we just added a “b” – we just went by the rink – where’s that I don’t see it – here – oh – so we’re kind of winding in the right direction – is there a method to this madness of the gray line versus the black line? – is the gray a more big thoroughfare or something? – could be – so do you know exactly where we are? – well we’re probably right here – cuz the rink was to our left – oh so we’re probably right here – yeah – so let’s see if we have – maybe right here we could get off by right there – I don’t know what that big black swatch mark is – it doesn’t matter we’re going this way

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in school, we can’t say like – go that way and go that way – we say like – go right or go left – we have to give really straight directions – like, go one block left – and we get them one place to another place to another place – at school we made these buildings that a real city needs – like a hotel a movie theatre and little people – we made a little lego-guy go from the apartment building to the toy store and then go to the hospital – I don’t really know which way is left and right but – you say go right or go straight one block – and he goes – or you could say turn right again – and pretend the toy store is on his right – then he would be there – but the city is made of blocks, not legos

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oh this is the way? – so we’re following green all the way? – well then there’s red – I thought we went that way at some point – we did – can I just look so I know what’s going on? – I think we should intersect red – we’ve been on – we’re – he said there was a – ok so where did we – we’re along like at 5 and 9 – now we’re at 9 we’re just on green – oh – so we’re supposed to stay this way – oh, steps – did blue end somewhere? – oh wait, so blue – is this is the blue too? – yeah, we already left the blue behind – so we’re over here – I’m just trying to figure out why there would be steps – so you think these steps are for us? – and it seems too soon to already hit the red – right, I think that’s definitely right – but I wonder what is this all – we already got off that – this one ends at a nice little look-out though – yeah I’m glad we came here

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so now which way? – we might wanna continue north if we’re – ok so the thing is we were going sideways before – by sideways you mean west? – so if we were going this – if we were going – here’s where we are – wait what where are we? – where, the blue? – yep that blue dot – ok so according to this map then it would be on the other side of that water – I think so maybe yeah – so we wanna keep going – I wish we could walk on that – it looks like a nicer thinner path – well – I can’t tell which way it is – it’s really hard to read paths from the map like – I think we just hafta go in the direction and see if we see a path that we like – right but we’re right here you know so I’m trying to figure out if like – well if we’re right here then that path must be what we’re on – it depends cuz if we’re facing this way then it’s this path – oh I see what you’re saying – yeah so which way are we facing

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you know, when I was looking at this map the other day I thought when we got here it would help us but now that I’m here I’m like this is totally meaningless – lemme see – look at this, can you tell where you are? – umm – are we in the bubblegum playground? – yeah, you wish – part of it is the trails aren’t clear – yeah and this makes it look like everything is really close together or you’re gonna know where you’re headed already but I don’t know the way to the merry-go-round it’s just like a huge field – so when I start just kind of walking out in some vague direction, will I be surprised when I don’t get there? – no, it sounds like you won’t be – there’s a merry-go-round? – apparently but we’ll never get there – let’s try – well where are we now? – here, is this the front or back of the house – is this even this house? – it’s kind of a terrible drawing – yeah it looks like the white house – it really does – I think, so I think that’s the back of the house – and I’m pretty sure that’s the tree here  – yeah, I guess that is correct – oh definitely – so it looks like it’s either to the side or maybe out from the front here – ok but it also looks like we should pass some kind of obvious circle out there but there is no circle out there – I think that’s supposed to be more off to the side than it seems here so maybe let’s ignore it – ok, ignore the promise of a clear circle – yeah, it’s not real – or it’s real but I can’t see it

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so are we still on the trail? – yeah – how can you tell – just look around – I am I don’t see any evidence whatsoever we’re on a trail – we are I can see it – ok I’m in your hands then

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it’s searching for the road – the coverage might be kind of slow – I don’t think there’s much out here – it’s kind of hard to escape it these days though – I like that when I want to escape it I just turn it off and put it away – free will baby – right – here it is what’s the name of the town? – it’s beach something – beach lake? – beach lake yeah – but there’s no beach and there’s no lake – cool it’s a poststructuralist town – this is not a beach or a lake – there is a river though – well it’s not on this thing – really? – yeah really – it’s not on there? – like it just isn’t there? – yeah, it’s not showing up on this anywhere I can see – any way I try – maybe Dick Cheney lives there

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this is a puzzle of the united states of america – each piece is a piece of the world of america  – it belongs to america – this is cheeseland – this is bull-land – which land is this? – love? – no, iowa i-o-w-a – we live on that little green piece – no, we live in washington dc – no, we live in virginia – no, we live right here – no, here – where’s washington dc? – new york is called the big apple – no, yes! we live in new york city the big apple I know it! – no, smelly apple – smellyapolis – there are pictures of every state that help you find out what the words say but they didn’t help me cuz I don’t know what they say so I make it up – this piece is outer space, mars, because look at the rocket (points to florida) – I’m seeing a tennis racquet – the usa is in outer space! – just get on a rocketship and go! – and then you get out – and you get to go vroom! – we’ll have to have helmets on – I’ll be her puppy – this is news y-o-u reporting from space – there’s jupiter! – there’s the moon! – there’s mars!

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just go the way you came in – ok well I don’t know how I came in – either way seems good to me – it’s the way, this way – toward the water tower – don’t you have gps? – well we broke it on the way here so I guess we’re screwed – yeah we’ll all become nomads

Contributor

Kristen Gallagher

KRISTEN GALLAGHER co-edits Truck Books with Christopher Alexander and teaches Writing and Literature at CUNY-LaGuardia Community College in Queens, NY. She recently published two essays on the work of Tan Lin, one in Criticism and the other in Jacket2. Her book We Are Here was published in 2010.

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