10th Floor, Long Beach Pacific Tower: Monday

By Nancy Lynée Woo

I am in my office.
Brand new Mac shines gleamingly on the tech stand,
eyes to brain to hand to mouse to cursor.
Organizing words and numbers into
rows and columns:
control C to control Z, new tab control T,
click, command tab to switch windows,
that’s when

(after earlier reconciling the left and right hemispheres
-they had overloaded with
caffeine and too many synchronous connections
not to notice,
the heart wondering, the task list beckoning,
neurons buzzing like bees in a jar
so that stars crossed in x’s across the horizon of my forehead and
we, my brain and I, had to lie in bed to slow the whirring,
scan the left, scan the right,
find the source and troubleshoot –
putting my mind back into working order like
rejoining two soggy sides of a hamburger bun, smoosh)

suddenly on the 10th floor of the Pacific Tower
right in the middle of full immersion,
(well-oiled left side jackhammering, nailing and blazing
through one nearly complete Excel file,
why then do some memories appear,
right side forcing open the door with jelly-filled balloons
yelling happy birthday when it is nowhere near)

I am suddenly driving my 1997 beat up but air conditioned tank of a Camry
through miles and miles of orchards

on the illustrious San Juan Road,
the best backroad shortcut from here to Santa Cruz, just one long

single lane curving up and around strawberries and blackberries
growing in rows and columns, organizing themselves from some
great design into sweetness

whizzing 300 miles away from the cement of LA

wheels spinning forward, I’m not just arriving but cruising
with someone, someone special, could be any of them
any of those sharp soft eyes meeting mine in the passenger’s seat
my gaze is forward but I can feel them next to me

and when it’s been 5 hours now we start to chart our souls stretching,
binging in the best way possible on smart water snacks cigarettes, skin
sticking to flimsy shorts and singing, terrible singing!

and in the middle of floaty conversations about space
we pass the big red barn, one hour left we celebrate!
the road seems to speed with us, then past the giant billboard of children,
that one fake horse and the restaurant, Casa de Fruta,
where I once bought expensive wines and then let them overheat to vinegar

the comfort of little markers that tell us we’ve been here before

and always, music plays loud on the stereo,
some KCRW eclectic playlist mixing beats with nostalgia,
soothing us into déjà vu, into exactly
what I am listening to right now

back in the office, half brain humming half brain working
in white desk reverie, dragging & dropping and copying & pasting
and accurately compiling everything we need to know
that is practical and trackable and saveable
into clean little boxes where

in a 10 by 10 pristine network of wires and cables
I realize it’s been a while since I’ve been there,
it’s been a while since that long, cozy road
and I remember it is not my job to enjoy
when my computer processor glitches
with memories of new love.


  1. Wow I really love this! It took me on a journey of nostalgia, wonder, escape and emancipation. I love the juxtaposition of the mental activity amidst concrete walls and building and grids, against the experiences of sensory sights, tastes, and emotion.

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