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Haiku in the Workplace: The Boss’s Spouse

No one, it seems, has a good word to say about the boss’s (often recent) spouse. She (and it is invariably she) is given to all the clichés — and writing about clichés generally is no more rewarding than writing with them. The consequence is a series of poems like this:

Hermes, Hermes, Hermes
Handbags
and glad rags
	[Sebastian Powell]

The offerings, thus, are not long on poetic nuance, but there are a couple redeeming moments worth mentioning. There is the moment of literary allusion:

Nothing like the sun,
Her eyes gloat — she's got him now!
What a ball breaker
	[Greg Skeen]

Perhaps the Bard had just such a circumstance in mind. And there is the moment of the groaning pun:

remarried —
a new lease
of wife
	[David Dayson]

This is not to encourage more of the same, simply to point out that humans do engage in this sort of thing. To illustrate that the same material may be mined without resorting to such plebeian tastes, my third choice this week is:

a new model —
how long is the lease
we all wonder
	[David Dayson]

Another oft-seen theme is based on the Platonic conception of souls destined for one another, skewed by a whiff of modern romantic ideology:

to stifled nods —
the boss presents
their better half 
	[David Dayson]

We get the point — our natural responses are held in check as this ritual drama is enacted. And as in any ritual, we know just who the protagonists are — the hero, the villain, and the god that must be appeased.

My clear favorite this week doesn’t exempt itself from this dependence on cliché, but rises above it through its use of the multiple meanings — what is usually termed “resonance” in haiku — inherent in its most significant words:

too much mascara
false lashes, Louboutin heels;
marketing.
	[Claire Leavey]

The build-up is much as we have seen before, but the deadpan clincher of a third line can refer to the efforts of those manufacturers to shill their goods, or the succumbing to such practices by people within the culture, or, most tellingly, the employment of such commercial means to achieve the coup that is landing “the boss.” But of course we ourselves are all above that sort of thing.

New Poems

orange blossoms —
the smiling face
of a young girl
     — Antonio Mangiameli

          *

“Yes ma’am!” —
How quickly the boss stands
at attention
     — Maria Laura Valente

          *

unreasonably demanding
the boss whose wife
is due next month
     — Polona Oblak (Prune Juice, 2011)

          *

dinner party —
the boss’s wife
is bossy 
     — Valentina Ranaldi-Adams

          *

snow day
the boss’s spouse shoots
the shit
     — Roberta Beary

          *

TGIF . . .
the marching order
of the boss’s wife
     — Willie Bongcaron

          *

married; to work . . . 
like a fine wine she often ends 
his sentence
     — Ernesto P. Santiago

          *

working together
the chain of command
inverted after hours
     — Rachel Sutcliffe

          *

wielding the knife
the boss’s wife
for a change
     — Mark Gilbert

          *

new secretary
the boss’s wife checks her out
green-eyed monster
     — Karen Harvey

          *

the boss’s wife 
framed on his desk
forever bride
     — Sonam Chhoki

          *

our boss’s wife
the sweat equity in
a million dollar smile
     — Michael Henry Lee

          *

he’s in DC
she’s in New York . . .
diamonds are trumps
     — Marietta McGregor

          *

Chanel No 5 —
the wife’s boss walks
into the office
     — Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo

          *

mild sospetto —
calls at all hours
the boss’s partner
     — Angela Giordano

          *

saying I love
his wife’s winter stew
faux silk flowers
     — Christine Villa

          *

will-o’-the-wisp
he never brings his wife
to the office parties
     — Jennifer Hambrick

          *

the boss’s wife
sashays across the room
a primrose path
     — Michael Stinson

          *

wife’s
on the telephone —
meeting adjourned
     — Anthony Rabang

          *

urban legend
the never-seen
boss’s spouse
     — Christina Sng

          *

spring fling
the boss’s spouse
dances barefoot
     — Marilyn Walker

          *

for lunch
Trattoria da mustache —
the chef’s wife
     — Margherita Petriccione

          *

he gives himself
the “special person status”
boss’s spouse
     — Madhuri Pillai

          *

her voice on his phone
across the room we hear
today’s directive
     — Gail Oare

          *

St. Patrick’s day —
the boss’s bride
away with the fairies
     — Elisa Allo

          *

boss’s wife
on the wedding photo
spider web
     — Eufemia Griffo

          *

his wife
so much smaller
than imagined
     — Peggy Bilbro

          *

her victory garden
grown with their company
from the ground up
     — Ron Scully

          *

the boss’s 
official day off
marital law
     — MR QUIPTY

          *

the boss’s spouse
defends her higher career
to the workers
     — Goran Gatalica

          *

secretly hoping
the boss’s wife
wears the pants
     — Olivier Schopfer

          *

responsibilities 
always dressed 
to the nines
     — Paul Geiger

          *

silver anniversary
her wall clock ticks louder
and louder
     — Srinivasa Rao Sambangi

          *

to hear the hired hand
talk about horses . . .
the boss’s wife
     — Chad Lee Robinson

          *

funeral
the flower umbrella
of the boss’s wife
     — Cezar Ciobika

          *

supermoon
the boss introduces
his husband
     — Lee Nash

          *

Good morning!
She told me to leave 
on my answering machine
     — Benedetta Cardone

          *

half moon
the face my boss puts on
for his wife
     — Debbi Antebi

          *


Next Week’s Theme: The Vocation

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 30 January 2015.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. This is my Haiku with the word “The vocation”

    the vocation-
    on a winter’s night
    a call from the monastery

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