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F.F. Teague 05-17-2022 07:41 PM

MS-ing about

I've been workshopping poems from my relationship MS on Met for a few weeks and now I'm taking time to sort out the order and put things together. This morning I wrote what's possibly the second poem in the series and I'm just going to post 1 and 2 to see how they look together. Happy to receive feedback from poets with experience of MS-ing. It's been mostly pent so far, but I'll try anything really :)


I leave the house at 9. I'm due to start
at half-past, and I want to take my time.
I'm nervous, but the springtime sun is out
and Mum is in my head. You'll be just fine!

With every step, I try to leave behind
the job I've left. The bastard boss from Hell:
the silly sexist stuff, the endless jibes,
the constant casting me as Stupid Girl.

I'm here. "Hello!" It's Janet, from HR.
"You do look smart," she says. I'm in my suit;
I wore it for my interview in March.
She offers coffee, gestures, "Come on through!"

We sit and chat again about the job:
a secretary in Comp/Commercial Dept
for Wilfred Featherstone. I've met my boss
and like him quite a lot: hes old-school gent.

I sign some forms. I'm bandaged round my wrists
and Janet notices. "Not good today?"
I say it's only morning achiness,
take off the Tubigrip. She sighs. "So brave!"

Next up, the meet and greet. We head upstairs
to Comp/Commercial; Wilfred shakes my hand.
And then a blur of lawyers, secretaries,
through six departments; Ads, the numbers man.

"That's it!" says Janet. "No, not quite." A voice
behind us makes us jump. "Oh, you," she scolds.
I turn and meet his gaze and think, You're nice.
We're introduced. He smiles. The world is gold.

- - -

Day 4, and Wilfred's off. He's got the flu.
"Well, man flu." Janet chuckles, and rolls her eyes.
I'll have to Message All, say I've got room
for helping out. She thinks the Probate guys
might snap me up, but no. The first response
is him, with "Help required, FT." I smile.
My wrists ache, but I take the bandages off
while on my way. Perhaps I'll have to file?

I'm right. A pile of post lies on his desk;
his secretary's late again. Car woes.
"Her husband runs her ragged sometimes," he says
and sighs. I wonder just how much he knows,
but focus on the task. We talk a lot;
he liked the Classics Clubnights on my CV.
I laugh and slink from desk to cabinet
and back. I like the way he watches me.

- - -
Thanks to John Isbell, whose AC/DC post on Poemusicals inspired the title of the second poem. I'm not sure whether my usage will be clear to those who haven't worked in an office, though 🤔

John Isbell 05-17-2022 08:55 PM

Hi Fliss,

I find your second poem here crackles with a kind of energy that invigorates the narrative. The plot thickens! My favorite line is your close - "I like the way he watches me" - but the whole thing is as crisply narrated as ever, and i do like the slow unfolding of what is to occur.
I have no idea what the title means BTW. Something about the Financial Times? :-) Also, glad to have helped!

Oh and maybe, for meter, "chuckles, rolls" and "each bandage"?


Julie Steiner 05-18-2022 10:17 AM

Fliss, is this supposed to be on the Met Board rather than the D&A Board? It seems to me that if you are looking for critique rather than inviting people to post their own similar work to the thread, then that's the place for it.

F.F. Teague 05-18-2022 10:58 AM

Hi Julie,

Just attending to this briefly between work tasks. Happy to do an invite thread and I'll start it later :)

Best wishes,

PS: John, thanks for your comments. I'll answer via email :)

Roger Slater 05-18-2022 11:04 AM

Julie, I think Fliss isn't asking for a critique of the poems, but a reaction to how well they flow into one another. Too bad we don't have a forum for people not asking for detailed critiques but posing specific questions. But since there is no such forum, and D&A is the only place outside Metrical where you can post your own work, here we are.

But I don't really understand the question. The order of poems in a MS is often quite difficult to settle on because the individual poems are independent of one another, but these poems apparently tell one story and are naturally arranged in a linear, chronological fashion. So what's the problem? Poem #1 starts on day one of the new job, Poem #2 on day four. Perfectly straightforward. I can't imagine a different order, unless you have poems for day two and day three that would go in the gap.

F.F. Teague 05-18-2022 07:22 PM

Yes, it's all about the flow.

I was just wondering whether it's okay to go from Day 1 to Day 4. Perhaps it is. The next poem I've written is the one about tennis, but I'm tempted to come out of the office briefly and bring in the home life at the time. I lived with three other women in their 20s and I had a best friend; they were all involved in what happened. My mother was also significant, hence the nod in poem 1. But perhaps I should email Jayne before I continue, to make sure she doesn't have any objections to the thread.

Best wishes,

F.F. Teague 05-19-2022 06:15 AM


Another quick visit, to say Jayne's explained why this thread isn't appropriate for D&A and I've said fine to delete it. Happy to continue via email with John and others :)

Best wishes,

Jayne Osborn 05-19-2022 07:45 AM

I'll just close the thread, rather than delete it, so that no one will wonder where it went!
Fliss is happy to receive PMs if you'd like to make any more comments.

While I'm here, and just to clarify: D & A is specifically for contests and fun exercises in which any of us can participate. (It's not a board for posting poems daily, though, especially given our "one poem per week" rule on the other boards.)


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