The masses chatter wherever they mass,
the classes chatter even during tests,
while the Chattering Classes speak for themselves alone,
testing others’ patience. The patients, depleted
from chatter surfeit, are admitted
to the institution and quickly plug their ears.
TV talk show pundits, formerly feared,
go mute with the touch of a button. Lip-reading
patients, keen on self-preservation,
turn away from the screens. No escape:
on bulletin boards flyers announce classes
on “Chatter Today”—how to make your own
and be heard, how to understand others’, how to
genuflect and observe the rituals of a chattering mass.

Maria Terrone

Maria Terrone, a poet with three collections and a chapbook, has published nonfiction in such journals as Witness, Litro (UK), Briar Cliff Review and The Common. She was drawn to the nonfiction genre after the Guggenheim Museum asked her to write about her multicultural Queens neighborhood for its performance project, stillspotting nyc. For more on her writing, visit

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