For Isaak.


where have you gone now?

What country are you off to now?

No one will ever you see you again.

But there were many who loved you.

You said you were going to cross the

mountains of rain, defying the border police, arriving

like a secret into Nepal. You said you would hike around

the uncharted valleys for weeks, and then fly into Guatemala

and take down La Policia Nacional. Swedish

brother, donde esta? Para el beneficio de los humanos de la Tierra,

hable una explicación, por favor. Para mi corazón, especialmente. You weren’t that interested in

Tibetan (though you stayed in Rumtek for two months amidst hordes of rainbow-

body droppings and blazings relics), but I’ll say it that way

too: Khyerang kawar yoe? Dzambuling kyi mimang la p’henpa’i chey du, drelshay chik sung roh nang. Migsel

gyi, nga’i nying la p’hen pa’i chey du…

I wish I knew how to say it in


I cried for you yesterday

and today. I looked out over the misty

mountains that you said you were going to cross

and cried.


You said that the Swedish were so much

like the Japanese.

A samurai opens the sliding rice-paper door

and sees his clan-brother lying there

— blood-puddles —



There was something to be ashamed of

something to hide from the world.

If this were Japan, the priests

would be chanting at yr. funeral:

“Oh Shariputra!

Form is emptiness,

Emptiness is form…”


I wish that I could give you a proper

Viking funeral

and send you off into twilight

where the rosy-fingered Guatamalan sun

meets the horizon of the rio.

When I first came back from Kathmandu

I saw you at Sonam’s Kitchen

and we talked for about four hours.

I was cold,

You gave me your jacket.

You could talk about everything

and it was all so interesting.

You were kind to everyone

but not kind to yourself.

You learned English from an Irishman

and always said: “…as wull..” (“as well”). You had

an Irish-Swedish accent.

I can’t sleep tonight.

You gave all your money to the pretty

smiling girl at Sonam’s Kitchen, for her schooling.

Sonam gave you a beautiful khatag

before you were “heading off to the

mountains”: it was green, and from a “big lama”, she said.

You cried, and held her for a long time.

I translated something yesterday

and I offer it to you now.

If bodhichitta comes to birth, then in a single instant,

One who’s exhausted in the dungeons of cyclic existence

Is called an heir of the Bliss-Gone Sugatas,

And becomes an object of veneration for the gods and men of the universe.

-Entering into the Conduct of the Bodhisattvas (Bodhicharyavatara), Chapter One, The Benefits of Bodhichitta

“O son of spiritual heritage!…”

O son! My Swedish brother.

“You should know all my teachings as being like a raft…”

(“not to mention non-teachings”)

I could see the angles in your Viking face

so distinctly.


May all the buddhas and bodhisattvas

guide you safely

to the other shore.



%d bloggers like this: