There, There

“You know what Gertrude Stein said about Oakland?” Rob says.

“There is no there there,” he says in a kind of whisper,

Dene wants to tell him he’d looked up the quote in its original context, in her Everybody’s Autobiography, and found that she was talking about how the place where she’d grown up in Oakland had changed so much, that so much development had happened there, that the there of her childhood, the there there, was gone, there was no there there anymore.

The quote is important to Dene. This there there. He hadn’t read Gertrude Stein beyond the quote. But for Native people in this country, all over the Americas, it’s been developed over, buried ancestral land, glass and concrete and wire and steel, unreturnable covered memory. There is no there there.

There, There by Tommy Orange

Plenty of us are urban now. If not because we live in cities, then because we live on the internet. Inside the high-rise of multiple browser windows.