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Haiku in the Workplace: The Answering Machine

My three winners, as usual, meet the requirements of the theme, and also offer something a bit more. My third place winner has a lovely nostalgic tone:

even at Christmas
when I see your email
I long for Christmas
	Andrew Coleman

This is an homage to Basho’s great and famous poem

   Even in Kyoto —
hearing the cuckoo’s cry —
   I long for Kyoto.

and I would have scored it higher had it been entirely original to the poet.

In second place I have chosen the truly Scrooge-ish

please understand
your message will not matter
in January
	Andrew Coleman

So harsh, but is it not really honest? Can it not be construed a kindness to lay the truth before the caller? In the name of the season, of course.

My top choice is a wonderful bit of misdirection:

there is no room
in the in-
box
	Andrew Coleman

True kindness: the caller need not leave a message (which, as we already know, will be insignificant by the time it would have been returned), and need not expect a reply. We are all released from our duties to simply partake of the season. All neatly suggested by passing reference to one of the foundational stories of the season. Nicely played.

New Poems

phoning in
my resignation
the answerphone full
     — Rachel Sutcliffe

          *

another late night
between mugs of coffee
I leave messages
     — Sonam Chhoki

          *

Segreteria —
una voce allegra
copre il mio pianto

Greeting message —
a smiling voice
covers my tears
     — Monica Federico

          *

Just the same message
again and again —
I seek  my inner zen
     — Anna Maria Domburg

          *

answering machine
the new office clerk
a know-it-all
     — Johnny Baranski

          *

heavy traffic
the red flashing light 
of my answerphone
     — Ernesto P. Santiago

          *

prioritizing
my impossible day
answering machine
     — Devin Harrison

          *

grocery list
in the middle of meeting 
my wife’s call
     — Neha R. Krishna

          *

“Leave a message after the beep” . . .
I yell at the boss,
disguising my voice
     — Maria Laura Valente

          *

for those who know
who knows the fantastic
a reminder
     — Antonio Mangiameli

          *

press one . . . press two . . .
lost in an endless
phone maze
     — Valentina Ranaldi-Adams

          *

fast asleep . . .
message at midnight
a late check-in
     — Samantha Sirimanne Hyde

          *

solar eclipse
the answering machine 
cuts off before i
     — Jennifer Hambrick

          *

hospice
the machine assures me that
my call is important
     — Michael Henry Lee

          *

“voice mailbox full”
again, the value
of deep breathing
     — Sandi Pray

          *

graveyard shift . . .
press “1” if you would like to talk
to a human being
     — Mark Gilbert

          *

capturing the moon
...................letting it go
to answerphone
     — Brendon Kent

          *

always there
for my convenience
your tinny voice
     — Marietta McGregor

          *

after the beep —
the silence
I scramble to fill
     — Debbi Antebi

          *

that “dulcet” tone 
fighting the impulse
to end the call
     — Sonam Chhoki

          *

answering machine
in the background
the rain sound
     — Eufemia Griffo

          *

answering machine
between your words . . .
bird sounds
     — Valorie Woerdehoff

          *

newtons cradle . . .
his pitch again
on the answering machine
     — Steve Smolak

          *

singing along
again with the musak
answering machine
     — Christina Sng

          *

the only message
kept on the machine —
your goodbye
     — Angela Giordano

          *

answering machine
a therapy session available
on saturday night
     — Lucia Fontana

          *

Mozart’s notes —
impatiently I wait
for a click
     — Maria Theresa Sisti

          *

your call is important 
the message repeats 
the rhythmic tap of my fingers
     — Madhuri Pillai

          *

estate in ufficio —
il dialetto del mio paese
nella segreteria telefonica

summer in the office —
the dialect of her country
in a  voice mail
     — Margherita Petriccione

          *

voice mail -
so the metallic sound
of your voice
     — Angiola Inglese

          *

no message
on my answering machine
rising fog 
     — Olivier Schopfer (Failed Haiku 1.9, 2016)

          *

phoning in sick
my voice on the answerphone
‘after the tone please . . .’
     — Karen Harvey

          *

On hold —
A minute of Vivaldi’s Spring
dreaming
     — Nazarena Rampini

          *

Friday evening —
my answering machine jammed
with tasks from my boss
     — Diana Teneva

          *

answering machine —
among antiques
in my son’s smart phone
     — Srinivasa Rao Sambangi

          *

Valentine’s day: 
my boss will speak only
to a metallic voice
     — Elisa Allo

          *

recognizing myex-wife
on the answering machine
among strangers
     — Goran Gatalica

          *

Monday morning
lift the receiver for callbacks . . . silence
click
     — Paul Geiger

          *

I am away 
from my phone right now —
or not
     — Michel Stinson

          *

curse —
but held back before 
the “beep” signal


Imprecazioni —
ma trattenute  prima 
del segnale “beep”
     — Lucia Cardillo

          *


Next Week’s Theme: The Mentor

Send your poem using “workplace haiku” as the subject by Sunday midnight to our Contact Form. Good luck!

kacian_jimFrom October 2014 through April 2016 Haiku Foundation president Jim Kacian offered a column on haiku for the London Financial Times centered on the theme of work. Each week we share these columns with the haiku community at large, along with an invitation to join in the fun. Submit a poem by Sunday midnight on the theme of the week, from the classical Japanese tradition, or contemporary practice, or perhaps one of your own, which you might even write for the occasion. The best of these will be appended to the column. First published 4 December 2014.

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