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.
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!
From 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.