Liza Minnelli and Lena Horne with Liz Smith in 1983. (Nancy Kaye/AP)

Liz Smith – Queen of Gossip

She is such a gossip!”
Would seem to be a smear
But rather than just stop it
She made it her career
 
Gossip’s a word
For an era that’s gone
Take what you’ve heard
innuendo it on
 
Perhaps a wink a subtle nudge
A well-turned supple phrase
Lets you think lets you be the judge
Is Rock Hudson really gay?
 
But not really. No.
No salacious hints
As far as she would go
Is give us just a glimpse
 
Of the legendary glamorous  
She didn’t tell it like it was
All marriages were amorous
And thus she earned their trust
 
“That star is a bitch!” she might have heard
No way would she throw that in   
She would not even use that word
For Rin Tin Tin’s closest kin
 
For decades she endured
She remained pretty old school
For the age she was the cure
Joltin’ Joe could never be cruel
 
Her columns cotton candy
She had no taste for gore
But she kept a sharp knife handy
Usually left  it in a drawer
 
She might inflict a paper cut
She couldn’t bear a bully
Sinatra was enraged but
With his reputation sullied
 
He changed his whole demeanor
Orchid apologies for days
She feared for a broken femur
“Gosh golly gee!” for Mr. My Way
 
She was  self-effacing
Just a humble Texas girl
But there was this higher-stakes thing:
She brought Trump to the world
 
She saw in him Las Vegas Elvis
A vulgarity that had appeal
We stared at what repels us
This can’t be – it’s too surreal
 
He was often in her columns
Flashy, hyperbolic kid
She’s at peace  in her coffin
We live with what she did
 
The blogosphere finished her
Character assassins
Helped us to deliver her  
To the heap of “She’s old fashioned”
 
We knew she varnished the truth
But we could not wait to read  
She gave us something of youth
We could make believe
 
That stars shall burn ever bright
Why on earth be solemn?
Caviar will get us through the night
And there’s no final column

 

Throughout November I am writing a poem a day in an effort to raise money for The Center for New Americans, an organization that is located in Western Massachusetts and does great work in acclimating our new citizens to their new homes.

You may help by going here.

If you appreciate my efforts and my work please share.

Also, most of you know I am moving to Oregon at the end of the year. Before I leave I will bedoing two shows.  Both will be in Amherst at the NACUL Center at 7:00 on November 30 and December 7. Proceeds will benefit The Center for New Americans.

I will be joined by these fine musicians: Joe Ricker, Andrew Atkin, Dave Haughey, Billy Klock and Dan Thomas.

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