. Gossip “There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it hardly becomes any of us to talk about the rest of us.” ---Edward Wallis Hoch Its spice, its ire, its hot desire __Will lure the listeners in To stoke the blaze of Hades’ fire--- __This weasel’s out to win. Its schmooze tempts snoopers ripe for fun __With tantalizing bait. Its spill of juice will thrill and stun With ills that dull and chill the sun __In tales that devastate. Its slick veneer of calm and charm, __Its smokescreen of concern Masks the snarl that stirs alarm __When tides begin to turn. When truth and proof nip at its heels __Enchantment turns to hate. Its graces slip away like eels Revealing snide and vile ideals __In tales that devastate. Its bilge will always blurt from lips __Of goons with much to gain From yak attacks on tongues like whips __Whose lashings dish out pain. Its tricks will always draw the flocks __Who like to preen and prate--- The soapbox cocks who faze and fox With gilded drivel spun for shocks __In tales that devastate. . . Two Sides a rondeau There are two sides to every tale--- Two gusts upon the gossip gale. Two slants. Two chants. Two points of view. Which one is false? Which one is true? No sleuth gleans proof from just one trail. There is one whine, one woeful wail, One boo-hoo rumor setting sail. On tittle-tattle tides of blue __There are two sides. Tosh sweeps the net. Trash hits the mail. The snoopers swoon. The priers pale. This balderdash and bunkum stew Is poppycock-a-doodle-doo. With just one clue truth won’t prevail. __There are two sides. . . Susan Jarvis Bryant has poetry published on Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, Light, Sparks of Calliope, and Expansive Poetry Online. She also has poetry published in TRINACRIA, Beth Houston’s Extreme Formal Poems anthology, and in Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets in the UK). Susan is the winner of the 2020 International SCP Poetry Competition, and has been nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize.