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Welcome to the poetry of Mary Fumento.


Submerge me in darkness so I might know the light.


One surgery to be precise
Is just what is needed
A way to finally excise
What is so deeply embedded
Despite what may distract
However the means incurred
The cut must then be exact
Collecting all that has been endured
It’s more about cure than cause
So with conciseness of a knife
Remove those hidden flaws
Erasing a haunted essence of life
- Mary O. Fumento, 2010


BogFeelings you cannot let go
In the thickness of the brush
Not the leaves that cover so
Gently like a mother's shush
Not in blossoms pure, sweet
Enlightening every sunny day  

But the bog that darkness eats
And emptiness finds its way in
They lurk, they linger, they last
 Feelings you cannot let go
They return and they haunt
Even if they were left long ago  

That creeping around your foot
The shroud you cannot disrobe
Undergrowth and the pain of life
Sick soulmates who won’t separate
An angry, reaching, swirling fog
Permeating bones, brains and souls
- Mary O. Fumento, 2010


A lifetime
They won’t know
I was ever even
- Mary O. Fumento, 2009


From within comes
The greatest pain
Anguish above all

Reflecting possibility
Overlooking reality
And we languish

For what might be
For what could be

We care not

For who we really are
- Mary O. Fumento, 2009

SphinxThe Sphinx

Eternal mystery, perpetual riddle
As if one might never know
The holes within my very heart
Comprise the depths inside my soul

A young body, strong and lithe
Crouches ready to pounce and strike
A face alluring, yet somehow aloof
Voluminous eyes drawing to like

All who meet shall wonder why
The secret never will anyone guess
Humorless strength camouflaged within
Offers no answer, only duress

Such is the nature of a tumultuous beast
Forever in silent solitude stands
Scouring and glowering with omniscient eyes
And as if with divinity commands

All may notice yet shall never pass
Inside the boundless, empty heart
For a frailty internal lurks and spreads
Leaving no benevolence to externally impart

To those who come seeking passage
Some unpromised, unspoken redemption
What would one expect as history notes
Of a creature best known for deception

Eternal mystery, perpetual riddle
As if one might never know
The holes within my very heart
Comprise the depths inside my soul
- Mary O. Fumento, 1997


Like water lies calm behind walls, within channels
Its force harnessed, bridled if not choked
And diseases no longer shall stalk us
Technology their authority has revoked
The weather we monitor and predict
Preparing ourselves for success
A switch or two of a television channel
And we know where to go, how to dress

So are we not truly invincible
Strong and omniscient and divine
Leashing and unleashing the elements
The landscape, the atmosphere, even time
We can create, we can cure, we can kill
We operate at the peak of ability
Always acquiring and perfecting
Moving in perpetual upward mobility

Yet at the mercy of nature we remain
Subject to her whims, her plays
Do we really dare try to control
Her mysterious, shifting ways
Does she not always ultimately conquer
And inevitably attack us relentlessly
Rendering us helpless and humble
Until, on knees, we plead her clemency
- Mary O. Fumento, 1996

Alas, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. For there is no tunnel, only a dark and thickened wood where no sun ever shines. Only the silent silver moon touches the tips of the trees.


Shielded by ugly callousness
And an angry glance or two
Quick to point out the weaknesses
Lest others might notice you
How fragile you are, deep inside
How desperately you seek to hide
To camouflage that which you hate
No matter how deep it already resides
The internal scale with which you judge
Observant eyes and brilliant mind
For you it is easy to pass sentence
On those who most resemble your kind
But how delicate you are, standing right there
And casting those biased stones
That build the fortress in which you cower
Among the shadows you know as home
How long can your condemnations reign
As if the wind shall never turn
How long can you go unaccosted
And find the solace for which you yearn
Do you not know your buried frailties
As you in mock strength stand there
Do you believe yourself invincible
And beyond any to which to compare
But I see where your bravado fails
And your fears are those that none share
For to be fallible like us would be too much
To be mortal is more than you can bear
- Mary O. Fumento, 1997

Midnight Carnival

There he stands waiting
Admiring you passing
And reveling in your attraction
Requesting your focus
Some conversation, some touch
In an attempt to find satisfaction

So you accept his offer
And find a quiet corner
Into the magic you fly
The softness of fingers
Stoking supple satin skin
Absorbing the passion in his eyes

In a dance or two
The face and fingers will change
As one replaces another
Yet what do you care
Who stays and who goes
For one is the same as the other

For the passing musical moment
He may seem so important
While at the center of your attention
But other suitors stand
While the song plays on
Waiting in patient contention

With a turn and a twist
The partners will switch
As someone gains a chance
And for a minute or more
The new one lays claim
To your hand in the heat of the dance

And when the song has finished
Off and on he will go
To try another of the many
Pretty girls twirling and laughing
Promising to deliver a fantasy
And whatever may capture his fancy

But, alas, in the end
At the close of the show
You wonder what he came here for
Was it only to sway
To move with the beat
And never know who you are
- Mary O. Fumento, 1996

Because the past cannot be altered, it serves but a sole purpose: learn from it.


Nothing changes
It cannot
Although you had believed
The winds had subsided
And the torrents had ceased
It was a mere calm
Quite ephemeral
You were never rescued
Merely caught unaware
In the eye of life's storm
- Mary O. Fumento, 1988

Passing Dreams

Time - it never waits for me
Time - it never lets me see
What dreams I once kept
What hopes I just left
In my heart I stop time
And once again I'll never know
How much I strive
Only to say goodbye
To passing life and passing time
They are only in my mind
One day I may catch the stream
Of my ever passing dreams
- Mary O. Fumento, 1981


You came driving at my pane
With such fury and velocity
Seeking vengeance on the one
Who could no longer respond
Staying secure behind silent shutters

You came wailing at my door
Hurling insult and misery
Battering yourself in an attempt
To somehow injure me instead
Who smirks aloof and unfeeling

The savage storm rages helpless on those
Who have buried the wounds of the past
And remain unphased by life's torments
To which they long ago proclaimed
"I will absorb you no more"
- Mary O. Fumento, 1988


Why do I try to be
Something I can only see
And wish as I emptily emulate
Vainly hoping that could be me

What is this farce of a life
As I glance from place to place
Looking for a sight beyond the mirror
For a reflection less miserable to face

From where come those lurking shadows
Forever stacking behind me like a shelf
Which a dare not admit too loudly
More reasonably resemble myself
- Mary O. Fumento, 1988


MaskI have never been quite right
Somehow different from the rest
The painful, ugly sore inside
Has spread across my chest
Only a vacant gap replaces
Where my heart used to be
And now this bleeding part
Is a natural part of me
The old folks shy away
The young all stop and stare
And as for the adults
They act as if it were not there
As I gaze into the mirror
And face my burning eyes
My soul cries out in anguish
And ever wonders why
Why am I so different
Why don't I fit in
I hide alone in darkness
To camouflage my sin
How can you forgive me?
What are these things I crave?
Why am I so worthless?
Who will come to save?
- Mary O. Fumento, 1985


Built upon the sand
Caressed by moonlight
Proud and strong in the night
Washed away before dawn by angry waves
- Mary O. Fumento, 1983


I had it all wrong,
you see;
the burden was meant
to be.

It was not
that he stalked,
not that he took.

It was that the decision
was left to me.
- 1999, Mary O. Fumento


Go and kill the beast
To prove you are a man
Tradition says so
Honor and glory beckon
O gallant knight
Formidable in suit of armor
Protecting you from pain
Shielding you from danger

Yet behind your handsome steed you leave
A world of chaos and destruction
Pronged by leathered hand and noble lance
A sport of good intentions

Go and kill the beast
To prove you are a man
Tradition says so
But what becomes of the beast?
- Mary O. Fumento, 1986

Walk Away

(Ode to A)
Now it is all over
As even you must know
You no longer can continue
Even if the opportunity arose
Those stolen moments have dissipated
As quickly as they came
And the joy, the ecstasy you gave me
Have diminished, leaving only pain

Walk away from me now
For you are the one who can
Release me to exist in memories
For only there is the place I stand

While you still have something decent
Something worthwhile left to hold
While your crimes are still hidden
And by mercy alone left untold
Go to a new and honest place
Where you might make a worthy start
Move on and leave in your stead
The void replacing you in my heart

Walk away from me now
For you are the one who can
Start with a cleaner beginning
And become a better man
- Mary O. Fumento, 1996


If the words could only
Take away the pain
Or fill the emptiness inside
But they do not heal any wounds
Or make any hearts complete

So I must bear myself alone
In silence
- Mary O. Fumento, 1984

Harbor Lights

They beckon from a distance
Shining and promising treasure
Without revealing hidden truths
Murky, dirty water
Muddy, trampled banks
Corroded ships decaying
Sinister, lurking strangers
Awaiting the unsuspecting
From here, all seems inviting
Friendly and familiar
But once anchored in the turmoil
One remembers the greatest security
Lies only upon the open sea
- Mary O. Fumento, 1988


Maliciousness need not do things
For hate or anger or revenge
But for internal reason

He enjoys what he does
He does it with purpose
To feed the flame within
- Mary O. Fumento, 1997

The Outsider

Always on the outside, looking in
Just waiting for the real world to begin
Not even all together, scarcely a part
A cone without ice cream, human without a heart
People working with people, such cooperation
Some of us disconnected, perhaps an indication
That we are not all on the side that wins
Some of us remain on the outside, looking in
- Mary O. Fumento, 1984


Good intentions conquer the world
And simultaneously destroy it
Like fighting a war for peace
No good can ever come of it
Just pain and suffering and death
From choices enforced and not decided
- Mary O. Fumento, 1986

Then Again

Then was a happy time
Far from all these tears
And the troubles of today
If I could only leave
This sad and lonely place
What I would give
To be there again
- Mary O. Fumento, 1987

As we bury the past in our memories and cast the future away to our dreams, how easy it is to ignore and deny the present while regretting what has gone by and despairing of what is yet to be.

Once Alive

Alone and cold
Forgotten and old
Hear darkness calling
Enveloping as it wails
Vision is failing
And reason escapes
As emptiness invades
And speaks its nothingness to you
- Mary O. Fumento, 1987

Darkness of Night

(to the memory of Missy)
In like a phantom and away
Without notice
Shiny steel flashing through
Velvet air
Brutally snatching your tender life
From you
Your grasp on this unfair world
Forever broken
Honey hair wreathed and haloed
In blood
And the suspect slinks away
In darkness
- Mary O. Fumento, 1987


Death comes knocking at my door
Gently calling
Enclosing like a fog
Softly stealing away the light
But stalking not me
And scaring not me

Death comes sneaking down my hall
Whining, whispering
Crying like an abandoned child
Begging for a life to claim
But I do not hear
And I will not heed

Death reach is impotent
For one who was never alive
- Mary O. Fumento, 1988

Life resembles the fall of a broken twig, struggling in the careless, endless river while cursing the loss of its previous, prestigious position in the lofty trees. The twig helplessly follows the current, not knowing where it goes until it arrives, but forever wondering if former heights will ever be reached again.


I saw it on the evening news
And realized that it was you
They gave the address, of course
And even showed the wooden fence
And it made me wonder

How could you have dared
And how could you have done it
You could have told me before
Not that I had any answers
But at least I would have known

Instead, they spoke to your neighbors
And later your parents, too
I guess they thought you were too young
To know what you did to your child
A mistake which became a crime

But I want you to know I saw
Yes, right there on the evening news
And when they showed the chalked lines
I felt my stomach start to turn
And cried that she was my baby, too
- Mary O. Fumento, 1990

Winter 1916

(To the memory of Anna Ramsay)

Embraced in a shroud of white
A mystery imbedded in ice
Away that day you went
Never looking back
Never coming back

And three silently stayed behind
Waiting and wondering
Why you would go away
As if you didn't know
As if you didn't care

Until the years left you behind
As you one frigid day left them
A memory. a time, a place
Just frozen far away

And the three who wondered
They wait no more
For reasons, for answers, for you
Lost forever in the snow
- Mary O. Fumento, 1990

The Beast

Stalking and snarling in darkness
Shading such a haunted, cursed face
Dwelling alone in refuse and pain
A somehow fitting and expected place
For the epitome of ugly and sinful
Only shame and repugnance surround
And the dislike, distrust, disgust
From others will certainly unbound
A deserved end for a despicable creature
Or so the observers will say
But what could they ever begin to know
Of a creature never seen once seen by day
They hear not the terrible cries
And they see not the endless tears
Of the one so tormented and betrayed
And yet they dare to judge and to fear
As if they were the ones who pay
This hideous price, this horrendous fee
Without ever realizing how it would feel
For only a moment to switch and be me
- Mary O. Fumento, 1997


We thrived in the darkness
And cowered in the light
And when we dared to seek
The shadows were eaten by night

Who would know the dark?
Who could see the cracks?
When all is without sunshine
A world shrouded in black
- Mary O. Fumento, 2005

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