by Notty Bumbo

More art and writings by Notty Bumbo

Other Art and Writing Pages  1  and  2

by Notty Bumbo

by Notty Bumbo

The Unsayable                                                       



See how the soft and broken fall like rain.

All time, from then till now, holds no more room.

We enter from the void that sings to our dreams.

All time, this time, no time, only falling, soft and broken.


Waking in the morning is like a rebirth of light.

We close our eyes and enter the small death,

We open them and are shocked to find a universe awaits,

Already in progress, trying to acknowledge us all.


What is light, who are we? A ringing in the ear

Tells us to pay attention, only this one time,

The only time we have. We who are becoming light

Will no longer shine after the void calls us home.


Human life is a fragment of this light that falls around us,

A drop in the storm of the universe, making small ripples,

Linking the point we enter, with the outer rim of what we might be.

This is all we can say about the unsayable.

by Notty Bumbo

Dark Matter


Scientists now tell us we are being squeezed

By masses of dark matter, turning

Our home galaxy into a flat, whirling spiral.

We cannot see or measure, but only infer

Such matter is even there at all.

As with love, it might be added.


You stay with me for less than the life of a galaxy,

And I cannot tell if what I know to be

Is even true, only that it matters:

You take me through all the darkness,

And out the other side,

Light years from the man I once was.


Such great distances we have gone,

And even greater distances to go:

We who travel entwined with no fear

Of darkness or light, waves of tender regard,

Carry us closer to the small center

Of this galaxy we dream together.


What compresses us is no invisible dark,

But sure knowledge we travel in good company.

Even at the heart of the Milky Way we carry

All that is truly necessary:

Your heart, in mine; my heart, in yours,

Bound and boundless, beyond all science.



by Notty Bumbo

by Notty Bumbo

All LightThat Flows                                        



All light that flows from matter

Is trapped there by time.

You breathe slowly at night, your dreams

Releasing their photons

As though to balance time and space


What we are is no different

Than what we are not.

(Sometimes I wake and see what I cannot understand.

Sometimes awake I understand what cannot be seen.)


If our eyes were strong enough,

If they could see across every wavelength,

Would rocks glow? Would they seem endless,

Unbound from mere minerality?


Glowing in dreams as you do,

There among now transparent rocks,

Time stills, long enough

For me to apprehend your beauty,

To rest within your continuum.


I want to think we all glow like that,

Our slow molecules burning

Like small candles in a vast universe.


And I think of you with that same steady glow,

Releasing your photons with clear intent,

Aimed at the heart of the galaxy,

Sure to arrive inside these imperfect eyes.

by Notty Bumbo

by Notty Bumbo

The Necessary Days

May, 2014

I went somewhere, once. It took me much farther than I expected….NB

I want to raise my arm and point my finger

In the direction of everywhere at once,

This Universe where the Center and the Endless distances

Are simultaneous and without regret,

This hidden grotto inside me that has no outer edges,

This memory of everything to come,

This tender passing of yesterdays and never’s and maybe’s.


I want to remember the knocking at my door

That tempted me out into the great World,

Words that fed and music that demanded,

Voices that shouted with passion through cold nights

Until the Sun reminded us we are Eternity.

I want to remember the first time I witnessed blue,

The first raspberries, the first mud, the first pain.

I want to remember my first memories,

The simple fact I was capable of remembering,

As though there were more inside and outside

Than merely what made itself visible

In the narrow spectrum of petty human concerns.


Who was there? I ask and seek a voice

To raise itself like a flag of truce, of forgiveness,

To break the self-made bonds without regret.

This means something, she would say,

It means you have a life, you witness,

And you dream. You raise your hand and point,

And doors open, clarity comes pouring in,

A flood of tomorrows, and purpose,

And soon enough you see the grand vista

Of all you have become, are becoming,

All the elements of this Universe,

Making each moment merely here,

And whatever paths we choose to follow.


I raise my hand and point,

And find that voice

From the other side of the door

Is the song I have been singing from the start,

Its refrain an endless ringing across impossible mountains,

Its harmony elegant and memorable and dense as night,

Its rhythm a call to the heart I went in search of,

Across those vague distances I once dared to enter,

My eyes and ears and frightened heart bearing witness

To all the necessary days that led me here.

by Notty Bumbo

by Notty Bumbo


June, 1013

High in the mountains that cradle the Atacama Desert in Chile, humans have built giant eyes and ears to reach across time and the Universe to listen for echoes of ancient dreams. Light drips into small hands that are raised to the skies in supplication, hoping to catch the dust of Grandfather and Grandmother, that humans might for one brief moment repair the rifts in our hearts. Photons, lambent radiation, the smallest smattering of desire and luck distilled into the perfect liqueur of timeless intoxication. Glowing crowns of cosmic delight frame our yearnings, to touch the face of being itself, in the first moments of its grand entrance. The fortunes spent, the monumental work across many lands by countless hands, witness to the strength of that desire, merely for the tiny privilege of seeing, hearing those echoes whose sources are dead these long eons. Bearing witness to the deepest longing for the longest-lost love ever to reach out to the darkness, to draw nearer one last time to that delicate, beautiful light.

by Notty Bumbo

by Notty Bumbo

by Notty Bumbo

by Notty Bumbo

Aphorisms of genuine joy brought on by close proximity to your heart.

By Notty Bumbo


Steam rises from the tops of cars

Early on bright mornings. I have nowhere to go

Of any great importance.


You lie there, a dream still escaping

The tender confines of your face, that will evaporate

Before your eyes regain the world.


I wonder, not infrequently, if by watching

I can catch in my trembling hands the crux

Of the truest nature of you.


Age is what we gain by waking each day,

Facing the next moment when each recognizes the other

As having always been here.


Dreams of flying fail to do justice

To the sensation we all imagine we would feel

Through the unfolding of our own mythical wings.


Hold that part of me that is you,

And I will try not to struggle in your grasp,

Trusting you’ll recognize yourself in me.


Don’t expect me to apologize

For the manner in which I see your desires

As extension of the world you would wish into being.


All of these things are poor attempts to explain

How much you mean to me, and the little I can do to stop

You from meaning everything under the morning sun.



by Notty Bumbo

by Notty Bumbo

by Notty Bumbo

by Notty Bumbo

Of Rivers, and Time: A Prose Poem

By Notty Bumbo

Along the banks of the Garcia River I once danced a prayer, a dream, and a plea to the Universe. I have no way of knowing whether the prayer or plea was ever answered, perhaps because I could not carry the river with me on my travels. The dream may still be underway, steeping between my cells like the finest tea, awakening from time to time hoping for better weather. It was raining one of those typical North Coast rains, unsure of where the ground was, which direction was up, never in a hurry and without a clue. I was there to seek direction; what I received in exchange was a sore throat and a cold night. Still, I danced an excellent dance, and took heart in the course of my chosen path.

Yet another dance many miles to the South brought into my life the sweetest hippie chick, Rainbow as I recall, with eyes that laughed in perpetual motion, even when she was momentarily embracing sorrow. She’d gone to a music festival in Montana, come back pregnant, happy the contributor didn’t know, would never realize he might have a child who shared his mystical fingerprints. It isn’t a mystery, I’ve since learned, if you are never told of something that calls out to be solved. I was the one to watch her belly swell, singing ditties of hope and wonder to the blossoming life inside her, but she asked me to leave before the Grand Entry, as she wanted the child to herself alone. I fell into sadness for a very long time, my songs lost in the wind.

I wandered a long meander, asking no respite, yet it came without effort. Brushing horses, picking apples, fighting a scorched forest with a pick and shovel: I worked alongside stranger beings than myself, knew I was less unusual than I strived to become, ate curry in an orchard, kissed a woman with a tattooed ear, wept to a Russian singing about a bird he could describe in no other manner while longing for the darker forests of home. I was still learning, still separating fire from smoke, this has never changed. Time enjoyed my company, but answered few questions.

The next time I danced a prayer was inside a deep and low cave, its flat echoes closing me out, not here, not here, this place is already taken, you cannot abide. My dance crawled out of the mouth of the Earth, wove among giant and ancient trees that permitted my trespass with slow and strange humor, brushed against a mule deer with starry eyes, startled a red-tail hawk that had nothing more to offer but vision and certainty. This dance I danced was less an imperative, more a product of desire, though it did not on this occasion suffer rain, only stars and the deep obsidian ripples of anguish.

Where was I going with so many dances; where would they take me? A woman with dark and lustrous eyes who lived at the edge of a bird sanctuary took me as her younger lover, cooked pasta in an enormous skillet with whole mushrooms and lily blossoms and wild tansy, and the taste of her lips on the edge of a crystal goblet. I knew from the moment she took off her clothes I would enjoy her company only a brief time. And brief though it was, it contained at its core a universe of wonder and laughter, and extended to me a worthy increase in knowledge and compassion. She could name more than one thousand birds, what each ate, how they sang, what they dreamed on the wing, how they died. I left before winter after a stormy sail on a large bay to the South, where the green waves tipped the boat in the direction of a sunrise not scheduled to occur for ten thousand years. She died five years later, after sending me a blue card with wild tansy pressed inside, and a memory I promised not to share.

During my journeys, I learned that when one wanders, one might begin with purpose, or a purpose may somehow be revealed during one’s sojourn, a secret well-guarded and difficult to come by. There on the Garcia River, near a place where I once shared an omelet made of ostrich eggs and clouds with five visionaries who sang in perfect harmony, I fell, rose, flew, dove, sang, spun and crowed for a woman named Midnight, who had the blackest, thickest hair in the galaxy; another known as Silence, who asked me to call her Songbird whenever she was in water; and a third I knew only as Quest, who touched my heart with a single tear, and wove braids and flowers into my beard to ensure impossible dreams. Each of these women were called to create new and complex words and worlds, which they did with grace and wild abandon, and with uncertain yet delight-filled potentials, and I was continually re-created in their wake, dancing on the deck of a ship studded with emerald drums. All of this was long ago, when time’s muse walked beside me, demanded no payment, offered sage advice whenever I called out her true name with tones of wonder and delight. Sometimes, I listened. And sometimes, I profited deeply from her sultry and boundless silences, but only when I remembered to dance with praise on my lips, and the Earth shaking my bones.

by Notty Bumbo

by Notty Bumbo

by Notty Bumbo

by Notty Bumbo

by Notty Bumbo


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