Wednesday, June 28, 2006


A traveling party of six left for India with the Orient express on the day of the new moon the 11th. September 1969. They were two musicians, Sander and Niller, two young women, Jytte and Giesela, Giesela’s 10 months old son, Ananda, and I.
First stop was Istanbul. Niller and I went to the Blue Mosque, where we sat down to meditate. It was a surprise when passing people tossed money in front of us.
On the train through Turkey, a farmer in his best clothes who had been visiting the capital adopted us. He got us a compartment and kept everyone out that he deemed unfit company for us. Ananda was a great hit and in spite of our protector he was kidnapped for many hours and was brought back, spoilt but happy.
In Erzurum, the frontier town, we stood outside the station among a crowd of other traveling hippies when a big luxurious car stopped. The well-dressed young man driving the car asked if we wanted a hotel. He told us that he owned a hotel, cheap and clean, and if we were interested he would take us there. We all squeezed into the car, and went to the hotel, which lived up to his promise. He then asked us if we would like to go to a hot spring that night for dinner and a soak. When Niller offered to baby-sit, we accepted the invitation.
The young man was not alone when he picked us up; a big, swarthy, unsmiling guy was with him. As we left the town and sped through the desert along a dark lonely road, we were suddenly all caught by the same paranoia. We looked at each other and we realized how easily Sander and I could be disposed of, and Jytte and Gisela be at the mercy of these two unknown Turkish men. We were afraid even to talk about it because our host spoke English; instead we silently started praying.
Finally a complex of houses with lights turned up and the car turned in and parked. The hot spring was real enough, and we had a delicious dinner. When we declined to drink we were offered big joints. We had more or less overcome the paranoia but now a cause for concern turned up: the bathing separated Sander and me from the girls; we were alone in a room with a rather big pool and did not know where they were. In order to keep our spirits up we started to sing OM and it echoed loudly in the bare room. Suddenly our host came in and hushed us. We got out of the water, and he led us to a dressing room where the girls also were. He showed us a golden tablet with a surah (a chapter) from the Koran that he wore on a chain around his neck and he assured us that we had nothing to fear, he was a true Muslim and was in love with Jytte and would never hurt her. As the girls told afterwards, he had come into their bathroom buck naked, but just then our OM started to resound through the building, and he had left to stop us. The next day when we passed the frontier he was sitting there in a café to get a last glimpse of his beloved Jytte, who, typically Danish and attractively blonde, had completely turned his head.

The pictures from the top down: Jytte, Gisela, Sander, me and Niller.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


At a friend’s house I met Lise Winter who set out to seduce me. She was nineteen and not shy and I was not difficult to get. She moved in with me but that was not enough for her. She wanted to be free from the influence of her parents who lived in Odense, and nothing less than marriage would do. I was not averse to it; we had good sex and got along well, and In some way I still expected that my life could become ‘normal’.
She put me on the phone with her father and he said: “I hear you want to get married. We should set a date.” I was taken aback but then I thought if I am ever going to get married then it’s now. We set a date about a month later and Lise, who had first opted for a secular wedding, changed her mind and wanted a church wedding.
I was invited to visit in Odense and here were signs that should have warned me. Lise had some reactions to her parents; she was picking at her hair and didn’t answer when spoken to. I had not seen her like that before, but it was only momentarily and in general we had a good time. Her little brother at sixteen was very attractive. We dressed him up in her clothes and took him out for a walk in town. Her father was distant and seemed nervous, but I got along very well with my future mother-in-law. All in all, the visit was a success and we went on with the plans.
The wedding was a big affair and we went off to Skagen, the northernmost tip of Jutland, where some friends of her parents had lent us their summerhouse for the honeymoon. Already the third day Lise showed signs of distress. She tore out hair after hair and would not speak. Day by day it got worse and all means of communication fell short. I even smacked her once, not in anger, but as a frustrated attempt at getting through to her. When she finally talked, it was to say: “I don’t love you anymore and I want to go home.” I had had it by then and was content to set her on the train the next morning. Peter Steen, a young aspiring actor, came a day later to keep me company and we bicycled the 200 miles home together. Passing Odense I had a talk with Lise’s father. She had told him that I was gay, as if it was something that had been revealed after the marriage. She was pregnant and threatened to take her own life if he didn’t help her with an abortion. He was a doctor and had connections and the abortion had already been performed. He suggested that we file for divorce and I agreed; at this point all I wanted was to get out of the marriage.
A year later Lise put out a feeler through a friend; she wanted us to get back together, but I had had enough and we continued our separation until we were granted a divorce. By that time she was pregnant again and wanted the child but not the father. That was the last I heard of her.

Friday, June 23, 2006


The sketch was made on Adobe photoshop and the actual painting done with crayons and oil pastel on watercolor paper.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

First Time Drumming

I told you how I smoked kif the first time. I liked it so much, that I asked for more and I got some.
One night at Cafe Tokanten I met a young mason, Benny Andersen, and we had a couple of beers and talked. I invited him to come home and smoke with me. I had a guitar in my room, and we started drumming on it, sitting both on my bed in the dark. We went on and on, weaving our rhythms together for hours until a sleepless neighbor begged us to stop. I had never drummed before, and it was a revelation of unity and music; also it was the first time I had really connected with a working class person, and he belied the class conscious stereotyped picture I had formed of a worker; he had the same fresh intelligence I had admired in the Africans. But again, he was not gay! It was difficult to find a person that could satisfy both sides of my nature; I seemed to always fall for straight guys, and I was too shy to even find out if maybe --? So at these times I slipped back into the closet, and reverted to the platonic love that I was so familiar with.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Geshe Gyatso & his Translator

Sometime in the late eighties I travelled to Santa Barbara with Geshe Gyatso and his translator and afterwards I made this drawing.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The French Connection

When I was in the fifth grade a new boy, Georges Manceron, was introduced in our class. He was French and the teacher asked us to help him learn Danish by pointing to things and saying their name in Danish. Right away I pointed to one of the boys and said: “Idiot”, not realizing that it was the same in French, but Georges laughed and this started off our friendship. He was son of the French ambassador and I became a frequent visitor in the solemn French embassy on Kongens Nytorv. Unfortunately it lasted only a year before the ambassador returned to France; I think the reason was ill health, because he died shortly after.
I kept the connection with Georges through correspondence and in 1938, when I was thirteen, my mother, my aunt Eva and I went to France for the summer holidays. We entered the valley of Chamonix from Switzerland and passed a couple of days within view of Mont Blanc. I loved the mountains but most of all a small stream where I passed the days building canals and dams.
We had brought our bicycles and enjoyed an endless downhill ride to Annecy where we were invited to visit the Mancerons in their summer residence. I was astonished by the table manners of this high-class French family: Georges’ grandmother dipping an enormous sandwich of baguette with butter and jam into her bowl of café au lait and sucking it into her mouth with a slurping sound. I realized the relativity of table manners and it pleased me.
After Annecy we toured the Loire on our bicycles; then we went to Mont St. Michel and St. Malo, a medieval town on the coast that was completely destroyed during the invasion five years later. The end of the holiday we passed in Paris where the Mancerons lent us their apartment on rue Medecis with a view of the Jardin de Luxembourg. I fell in love with Paris and everything French and when later I began to travel France was my first destination.


My friend Noël moved into the house in the back with her two kids, Eva and Babacar. Eva had her one year birthday party yesterday and we ended up on the beach where Babacar was buried in the sand.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Cat Story

In 1971 I was living in Lama Yeshe’s center in Kopan. Zina, the one who had started the center, had two young cats, Njima (Sun) and Dawa (Moon) who were brother and sister. At night she kept them in a cage. I thought that was cruel, for cats like to roam at night. When I mentioned it to her, she said that I could take care of them, and so they moved in with me.
Njima, the black boy-cat, followed me around, always running across my path right in front of me. He tried to make out with his sister, but she did not allow him; she had a boyfriend, a big red tomcat that was only glimpsed now and then around the house. One night I was sitting very stoned in my room with Frances, an English girl, and the two cats began their erotic play in front of us, or rather: Njima approached Dawa who was in my lap and tried to subdue her by biting her neck but when he almost had got hold of her she wrenched herself lose and clawed at him, and he jumped aside and sat, quiet and dignified, as if he had never even thought of doing anything. It was a spectacle, and it went on for a long time.
The red tomcat got Dawa pregnant. One night when I was asleep she came and laid on top of me. I tried to shake her off but she was persistent and suddenly I heard a bleat. I lit a candle and saw that she was giving birth on top of me. I arranged a pillow for her in the corner next to my own pillow where she could feel safe without bothering me. The first couple of weeks this was her nest and whenever I laid in my bed I became a member of the little family. It was totally clean; as long as the kittens drank mother’s milk she would take care of all their excretions.
Njima disappeared and for a month his fate was a mystery, but then something dropped from the roof in the room of the Buddhist monk, Zengo, and hit him in the face. A worm! A search in the attic turned up the source of the worm: Njima's corpse.
Dawa had three kittens and when they grew up and began to shit in my room I closed the cat door and denied them admission. One night there was a commotion in the attic where Njima had found his death. This was not the building that I lived in, but we all heard it. Later that night Dawa came by and begged to be let in, but I would not let her because of the kittens. Finally she gave up and left and she didn’t show herself for a couple of days. When the attic was investigated next day two of the three kittens were found dead. We realized that a bobcat hung out in the attic and had killed them and had also killed Njima. When I understood what had happened, I felt so bad that I had denied Dawa refuge in my room.
She was now alone with one kitten and this one was promised to Kelsang, the cook, who was a boy of thirteen. When he claimed it and the kitten was old enough I had to give it to him. After the kitten was gone Dawa was looking around for him, and then it happened that someone brought a kitten of similar size and looks a few days later. This kitten was in my room when Dawa came in and she obviously thought that she had found her lost son. She went up to him and they sniffed noses and she realized her mistake. She hissed and left, and since that day she would not be in the same room with the kitten; if he came in she would get up and leave. I felt terribly guilty, but before long both Dawa and the kitten disappeared and the bobcat had his territory to himself.
No more cats at Kopan.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Template for Vajrapani

In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition there are three main bodhisattvas: Chenrezig, Manjushri and Vajrapani embodying the qualities of respectively Compassion, Wisdom and Strength.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Friday, June 09, 2006


My friend Ebbe was a dentist. One Sunday he phoned.
“I picked this guy up the other day,” he said. “He had just come out of Vestre prison and had nowhere to stay, so I let him stay here. He asked me if I would fix his friend’s teeth, and they are coming today, and now I am a little nervous about being alone with them in the apartment, for I have quite some gold in the clinic. You know, I don’t really think they will do anything, but if you could come and be here I would feel better.”
“Sure, I can come. I’ll dress in my leather jacket and look tough, and I’ll be there in half an hour.”
In no time I was on my bicycle, but when I arrived at Ebbe’s apartment the guy, Ole, was already there. He was standing in the clinic looking out the window, and when I came in to say hello he turned around. He was about my height with pale translucent skin and a red mouth. His nose had been broken, but what caught me were his eyes: rich light brown irises in porcelain white, accentuated by dark surroundings and finely drawn arched eyebrows. Their expression was innocent with a dog-like sadness. He took my hand and smiled and I totally forgot to look tough! There was radiance about him.
His friend arrived, and while Ebbe worked on his teeth Ole and I talked. He told me what I already knew, that he had been in prison, but he told more about his life: his father was a criminal, his mother dead; he had lived in foster homes and had been a junky and a male prostitute. I asked him if he still would go to bed with a man, and he said: “Yes, if it was a really good friend.” Then and there I decided to become his good friend.
When the teeth were done, we all had tea together, and Ole said that he had nowhere to stay. I was leaving for Paris in two days, so I said he could stay at my place for two weeks while I was away. His friend gasped: “Oh, no!” That was disconcerting, but I had said it. It was too late to retract. We agreed that Ole should come the next day, and I would show him the ropes.

When I came back from Paris Ole was not there.
My room was in a state. Have you ever seen a junkie’s den? The dirty bedclothes were all over the floor with blood stains, glasses with white residue, sooted spoons and candle drippings, plates with old dry bits of food, ashes, and cigarette butts, - and everything of value gone: art books, records, and my best clothes.
I had hardly time to react to the sight when the phone rang. It was Ole!
“How does your room look?” he asked.
“Pretty bad!” I said.
“I was at the hospital for detoxification this last week, my friends must have gotten in. They must have found the key. Can I come and help you?”
“Yes, you can come.”
So, there he was again, and together we got the room back in shape. I wasn’t sure if he was telling the truth, but it didn’t matter.

I met him from time to time at Ebbe’s apartment. About a month later he came to me. He was caught up in drugs again and wanted me to help him get off. He had a bottle of opium tincture, and we measured it up in diminishing doses to withdraw over a period, and he moved in. We slept together; we talked for hours in bed, and then we curled up and slept. I wanted to help him, and I felt that I could only do it if I didn’t become his lover; otherwise, I felt, I would completely lose control. We played music together and went on wild excursions in nature, often in the middle of the night. The good moments were out of this world - but it was a roller coaster.
Ole was like a destroying angel. Did the spirit of the herb call him forth? He came shortly after I began to smoke for real. He initiated the process of the dissolution of my straight life. As I was caught in these rapids, all I could do was trying to keep afloat.

We were on a bus, going north out of Copenhagen, on our way to some adventure in the wild.
“It is good,” he says, “that when there are people like me, there are people like you!”
In the crowded bus he gave me this declaration of love.
He had to veil his bisexual feelings. He came home one day and told me that his friends had forced him to have my name tattooed on his shoulder. Now he wanted me to have his name on my shoulder. Tattoos were not at all fashionable at that time, but of course I agreed.
He always created a private sphere wherever we were. When I visited him in the mental hospital, where he always managed to be placed when his criminal activities caught up with him, we sat in a corner of the ward, on the floor behind his bed, and smoked weed, and the world outside this corner was void of existence. He was full of stories that opened up for sides of life I wasn’t too familiar with. I can still recall the feeling of harmonious excitement that the best moments with him generated.
Ole Strøygård, Jens Nordsø and Ole preparing ‘Sommerudstillingen’

What had seemed impossible did happen. Ole came clean of the hard stuff and lived like so many other hippies with the hallucinogens alone. At this time, he lived in a small apartment on Christianshavn (an old part of town where the free state of Christiania was later established on the former military installations with their walls and moats).
One time a gay friend of Ole’s was there.
“Let us all go out to your place and go to bed,” Ole said.
It was the only time we had sex. I think he could not give himself to me without giving to another at the same time. Of course he knew how we both wanted him, and even in that situation he made us both feel as if we had been alone with him. There is surely a balance between quantity and quality of sex and if I have not had as much as I desired, the best was always a perfect spiritual experience.

When I returned from Sidi Ali I moved in with Ole Strøjgård and his girlfriend Vera who were living in the countryside north of Copenhagen. Here the winter passed quietly while I nursed my health back. For several months all I could eat was plain oats or rice. I was thinking of building a cabin on their land and made preliminary plans.

Then something happened that broke the spell.
I invited Ole for a visit. As soon as he arrived it was clear that Vera disliked him and there was a palpable tension in the house. I, being the one in between, felt it the most. When we had bedded down that night, Ole was on a mattress on the floor next to my bed. I was laying on my back, stiff as a board, and unable to sleep. Then, suddenly, I thought: “What does it matter? He is my friend and I don’t care what anybody feels about it.” The stiffness went out of my body and a warm relaxed mood invaded me. At that very moment I heard a little chuckle from Ole and I realized that he knew what was in my mind, that maybe he was the one who had dissolved the tension.

After that weekend, the harmony in the house was gone and I decided to move. I saw Ole in his room in town and again the same thing happened: I was tense and he relieved me wordlessly of the tension and let me know with a little chuckle that he was aware of my states of mind. He was planning to go to India and asked me if I would come. After my recent experiences in Sidi Ali I was scared of going out in the world, not the least with this wild boy as my companion. I said I would think about it, but when finally I got my courage up, he was gone. That was the last time I saw him.
I heard from him. At first he was high and lived as a sadhu, but then he got into junk again and died alone in Karachi two years later.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Georges Braque

I wanted to own this painting and making this copy saved me thousands of dollars.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

"A Project in Balance"

A painting from my Cubist period - 1960, I think.

I am listening to Charlie Parker right now and I feel the connection to the Painting. I was also listening to Parker at the time I painted it.
There is a simplicity of form and a purity of tone in Parkers play that is at the same time complex in the detail. In Cubism as well. And the two artforms were concieved at about the same time.

I did a copy of a small painting of the French original Cubist Georges Braque instead of buying the actual painting. I shall post that tomorrow!

Monday, June 05, 2006

54 Pelicans

The pelican is one of my favorite birds. When you follow a flock of them with your eye they end up looking like a thin thread slowly waving in the air.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


I told you how I came out when I met Robert on the train going home from Paris.
Robert’s friend was Ebbe. Naturally he didn’t much care for me, but there was never any hostility between us. I think he accepted me because I never posed any real threat to his domestic life. My pains and needs as I struggled out of the closet reminded him of his own earlier self, of which he didn’t like to be reminded, but it must also have evoked his compassion and his intuitive understanding, that what went on between Robert and me was best left alone to run its course. It was not possible to be jealous of Robert because he was fully present and genuine with everyone. What more could you get?
After three years in Denmark, Robert left and settled down in Germany where he started a career as an actor. Alex, Ebbe’s friend, in whose room I had first known Robert in the biblical sense, was a guide and took people to Morocco. One evening he invited Ebbe and me to smoke kif.
In Morocco Kif is marihuana, the raw material as well as the finished product, cleaned, fine cut, and mixed with homegrown tobacco according to the traditional métier du kif. It is smoked in a sibsi, a pipe with a long wooden shaft and a small head of clay. I didn’t know this; I don’t think I had even heard about marihuana, and Alex just told us that everybody in Morocco was smoking this kif. He had a sibsi and showed us how to smoke the traditional way: each one stuffing the pipe and giving it lighted to the next person, who then smoked all of it. The pipe went around several times, and finally I said: “I can’t feel anything.”
“Neither can I,” said Ebbe, and then we began to laugh and laugh, and I had the most hilarious good feeling.
Since that day Ebbe and I began to take our lunch together and became fast friends.
Here are Ebbe and Robert together in 1950.