Friday, November 25, 2022



It's that whole sapien thing!

We think we have a right

to immortality

and the animals don't.

That we won't rot.

Something about transcending

the flesh or whatever.

What's this! The god desire?


So what! we can think, can read,

can gain knowledge.  Biggie.

The memory of knowledge?

None.  Memory has a self-editing tool

long before the worms get to you.


©2015 Muriel Thumm

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Love on The Third Rail



The Third Rail

Is close enough to touch

Should I? Dark and mysterious

Down here on the tracks

Wish I could be like the others

Smiling on the platform, some glum

But none taking the risks I take

Some call it reckless

But if it’s wreckless, no wreck involved

Then the risk is a gain

So where do you come in

Sad and reckless man

Will you join me on the third rail

Watch out for sparks


©2019 Muriel Thumm

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Second Sight



I saw a young scientist

at work today

and could see him as an old man

tufts growing out his ears. But

just the other day

I saw an old man and, for him,

I erased wrinkles

firmed his jaw muscles

and could see what a fine-looking

young fellow he had been.

What is my mind doing

of its own volition?

I didn't ask for this second sight.


©2016 Muriel Thumm

My Suitcase



I carried her suitcase

No, it was my suitcase

I never saw it again

My blue cloth coat was full

The girl in the drugstore giggled

When I asked directions

Her mother, the owner shushed her

Lorrie was in the Florence Crittenton, 

A home for unwed mothers

Her due date was approaching

We went to see the baby later

I brought it a present

She didn’t, just her big toothy grin

Life was like that for Lorrie

At least I thought it was

I was her friend

She went to see her biological mother once

She didn’t have time for Lorrie

Ironing board up, kids running around

Barely acknowledged her

Lorrie left for Virginia with a sailor

I never saw my suitcase again


©2015 Muriel Thumm

Friday, October 14, 2022


Bayonne, NJ


He came home from his mother's wake,

surprised the burglars in his own driveway

was beaten and robbed of everything on his person

and then they went through his car.

Hadn't he suffered enough, we ask?

The answer is no.  It's never enough.

There is plenty suffering to go around.


©2014 Muriel Thumm

Monday, August 8, 2022

Age of Erosion



I think I’m in the Age of Erosion

No, no, not that one from a billion years ago

But I’m in my Own Age of Erosion

In the scientific one, things crumble and tumble away


If my age has anything to do with this

I see things sagging and bagging

Enter face lift creams, booster bras

I’d like the sagging and bagging allayed


©2021 Muriel Thumm

Saturday, July 23, 2022

I thought it was love



You tell me it wasn’t

I ask, Please tell me

how to know

Is it something I’d see

in your eyes?

Feel when you’d wrapped

your coat around me,

shivering yourself

that day on Carson Beach

Or sense when you shared

your family memories

while we waded at Mattapoisett?

Do you really know

for sure,

it wasn’t?


©2021 Muriel Thumm

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Pandemic Attrition



Working remotely

The house-bound skeleton

Not eating much

Drinking too much

Dressing occasionally

Climbs the stairs

To log in to daily zoom

Jaw locked in perpetual grin


©2021 Muriel Thumm

Thursday, June 23, 2022




My friend said, “Take this,

it’s more you than me. My boss

brought it back from Italy.”

“Little Italy,” I said. “It’s just

a version of Fendi.” Offended,

she left. If perfumeries, in their

flimflammery can depose attar of rose

to mere coal tar perversion, why not

“Inversion of Fendi?” Instead of attracting,


this perfume could repel, excite

if only for the length of a smell

with the option to create one’s own world,

to corrupt a perfume which once could be counted on

to deliver essence of lily to my earlobe

and a man to my feet,


when I still wanted that. And why should I when

the real essence of our time together isn’t love

but approximation brought on

by proximity, by shared toothbrush holders,

pajama bottoms, colognes, a belabored labor

of clasps and gasps and orange juice

spiked with disinterest.


So maybe I go shopping. Maybe the scent draws

me in to someone else’s funeral where I find

Lily, rich and falling over

in bloom. Maybe I doubted her existence,

essence not aroma but supine elegance

created solely to disturb my equilibrium.


But am I kidding myself? Initially, bouquets

were placed at head and feet so you could approach

the corpse without gagging. Corpses

don’t stink these days, but banks

of flowers scream, “Dead person ahead!”

And it’s my life which smells

of embalming fluid until I sense

the real essence of flowers, and at a kneeling rail

for supplicants like me, I discover what happens


to those who want only to worship her

cascades of bloom, not the rot

in the casket, not here where they are tucked

and trussed so tightly in imposed bouquets

there is no room for individuality,

and even her colors run together and are stained

with that vein of purple blood which links

us all to each other, where artistic impulse ends

in the grave, a pool of mud where someone

other than us is bent


on tidy categories, strings of delineation

that keep flowers and women nameless and aromatic.

I want to say I cut her free, but she was cut

anyway and no one could touch her essence. I want to say

I drove out that night, leaving you, and now my own life

lures me along new high ways and solitary lanes

where untidiness is all I speak of,

defending Fendi herself.


©2021 Muriel Thumm


Thursday, March 31, 2022

I Want a Room


I want a room I've never entered before

A pen I've never held

Blank paper

Bare chair

I'll sign a confession, but my stipulation?

I write the body of the confession

I'll confess to everything that I have ever done

I'll confess to things I wish I had done

I'll confess to things I never would have done

I'll confess to the blackest thing you can think of

in your my heart

Well, I didn't exactly do this blackest thing

but the Bible says thinking about doing it

is as bad as doing it, doesn't leave any margin

Oh, let me confess in a bare room

with a pen of no nomenclature

a quill even

on a steady piece of paper

and in a firm hand


© 2019 Muriel Thumm

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Maybe in the morning


Maybe in the morning

                       with trees against clouds

my headache will be gone

                       like thin boundaries of time

Maybe in the morning

                       so easy the slip

he’ll come for me again

                       into the frame of my life

Maybe in that morning

                       in my life I’ll see them

when he’s no longer here

                       in my own space, but

Maybe in some morning

                       with membranes against the sky

I’ll see rainbows in the trees

                       leaves eaten by worms.


© 2022 Muriel Thumm


  It's that whole sapien thing! We think we have a right to immortality and the animals don't. That we won't rot. Some...