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Shari Roman

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Shari Roman always wanted to be a scientist. Instead, she has written about the nature of people for Filmmaker, Dazed & Confused and The Guardian. Roman made a documentary short which screened at Sundance and authored Digital Babylon—a Mesopotamian book on independent cinema with Bjork on the cover.

Roman lives and works in New York.


Official report: The Nobel Foundation. Nobel Prize Acceptance Speeches, Stockholm Sweden. (i) folder ) Andersson, P. 31/2007. Source: William Faulkner, December 10, 1950, Category: Literature. “I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. He is immortal.” Royal Historical Society. (ii) folder) Royal British Library. Source: Mary I, Queen of Scots, en Francais Marie, reine des Écossais; December 8, 1952 – February 8, 1587. Motto; “En ma fin est mon commencement” – “In my end is my beginning”, (ibid TS Eliot, Four Quartets.) Quoted by Jos Engelen, CERN’s Chief Scientific Officer, as he switched on the Large Hadron Collider, Switzerland, 16 May, 2008.

Dai-itoku Myo-o – The Pure West

May 4th

I make Mom come downtown to the East Village to bring me something, because I am too lazy to go uptown. It is raining, really hard. She is wearing a thin black t-shirt and slacks. She looks pale and can’t walk far; despite the downpour, she leans on me every few steps to catch her breath. The water bites her skin, but she won’t take a cab home. She doesn’t want to spend the money. I am afraid. I’m afraid she will get sick. We fight. She takes a bus. I walk home three blocks.

May 7th

I make an appointment for Mom to see the doctor. She says she knows she has cancer. She has been coughing and her left shoulder hurts and those are the signs. She says she is telling me to prepare me. I tell her she is crazy, a hurting shoulder doesn’t mean cancer. I shout at her to stop complaining. I pray for Mom before I sleep. I pray to see Dad appear before me, even though he is dead. That hasn’t worked either, but you never know.

May 9th

Mom’s doctor calls me. She has a mass in both lungs. I tell her the doctor says it is nothing and send her to another doctor three days later for a follow-up. They admit her that same day to the hospital. She has needles stuck in her everywhere. She has lung cancer. They tell me she has four to 12 months to live. I don’t tell her. But she seems to know. I hear that Coix seed, Chinese Pearl Barley—otherwise known as “Job’s Tears,” could heal her. I leave the hospital, I search everywhere, can’t find it. When I check in later, they tell me we can try radiation. I think of ‘Trinity’, of how Oppenheimer, who was a big man, dropped down to 115 pounds while working on the Manhattan Project. I talk to some people on the phone, about nothing. All words feel like hot ice. My skin and bones are rubber casing for a black hole.

Figure 02: Oppenheimer standing next to the Atom Bomb

Official report. Atomic Energy Commission. (a) Folder 4, “Trinity Test” July 7, 1945. Source: U.S. National Archives, Record Group 77, Records of the Office of the Chief of Engineers, Manhattan Engineer District, TS Manhattan Project Files. After 90 minute delay for bad weather, at 5:29:45, explosive force of 18.6 kilotons of TNT, Robert Oppenheimer cries, quotes Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. “…Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’” Resigns three days later. (b) Folder 5, “British Headline” July 18, 1999. Source: The Sunday Times of London Times Source: Record of a conversation with American theoretical physicist Frank Wilczek, [2004] Nobel Prize Winner in Physics, for the discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction. “The possibility exists that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest high energy particle accelerator, will create dangerous events as micro black holes or strangelets (tiny quarks) or magnetic monopoles, which could instantaneously evaporate existence, as we know it.”

May 16th

The Cannes Film Festival opens. I don’t go. I visit Mom in the hospital. She has an oxygen tank now, which they tell me she doesn’t really need. I don’t tell her I cancelled the trip. She holds my hand and we watch TV together. It is The Godfather. Over the next few weeks I see The Godfather 8 times. She will not let me change the channel. The young Al Pacino soothes her. I imagine that I am very young, that I am holding her hand on the day of my 5th birthday. But it is also a year in the future and they have turned on the Large Hadron Collider and discover that the Higgs Boson particle can cure her.

“They gathered, waiting at the coordinates; 46°14′N, 6°03′E May of 2008 for the Greatest Physics Show on Earth. Heads bowed, they clustered around IMAX sized computer screens built into the grassy vale in the countryside near Geneva not far from the foot of Mont Blanc. Beneath them, buried at depths ranging from 165 to 575 feet below the surface, was their very own Jumbo. A mandala of Godlike proportions. Dubbed the Large Hadron Collider, it was the biggest proton collider in the world. At 17 miles in circumference, the $4 billion dollar racetracked accelerator ring of the LHC was outfitted with two pipes, lined with 1650 superconducting magnets and cooled by liquid helium to a temperature of 1.9 Kelvin, frostier than deep space. Each pipe contained a proton beam, running in opposite directions, traveling at nearly the speed of light. Crossing the border into France at four points, it recorded the consequences of 800 million particle collisions per second in a pre-Nobel, coaxial psychedelia of time and space. The 2100 ton Tower of Babel rose once again in LHC and discovered many things, but sought the compassionate discovery of the One elementary particle (om mani padme hum), the Higgs Boson, the so-called ‘God particle,’ the building block for all nature, the gateway to the answer of the eternal question. Some may think god force may be found by looking within, to one’s own ‘inner light,’ but like most dramatic situations, even creation needs an audience.”

May 30th

They are doing lots of tests. Her skin is pink, she looks better. But that is due to the constant flow of H20 from the oxygen tank, which she seems to need all the time now. She still has no appetite. She says she is eating, but there is always most of her breakfast, lunch and dinner left on the tray. Her room has a stunning view of the river, which she says she loves, but I never see her look outside. She gives me this tiny box of Cheerios to take home, because she doesn’t think I eat enough. She is losing weight.

June 4th

They do an operation which puts a shunt in her lungs so she can breathe and they take out some of the mass. I pretend it’s nothing. I come to visit her, after the surgery, but just like in a horror movie, her bed is empty. The space has been cleared. They tell me she is in emergency recovery. I find her. She yells at me for being so late. I was supposed to be there two hours ago. She has pressure bands around her legs to make sure her legs don’t clot and give her a heart attack. I don’t understand why she is there or why I cannot get a nurse to give her water. They tell me there is an emergency and her nurse is busy. I see to my right, a crowded room where 10 people are trying to keep a woman alive. Someone else’s mother. I begin to hyperventilate, to vibrate. I imagine my body is entering another unseen dimension. One that could be visible when they find the Higgs Boson. I tell them I don’t care. I am hysterical, and I have no sedatives on me. And if they want to see a real emergency all they have to do is tell me no again. It reminds me of the time Mom wanted me to come home from California and I said, “why bother to spend the money on a ticket when I could commit suicide here?” The nurse comes. I watch TV with Mom in her post-op room. She asks me again and again about Diane Keaton in The Godfather. She wants to know what makes her so special, how she became a movie star. She holds my hand the whole time. She tells me not to cry.

June 11th

I take her home. There is a portable oxygen maker in the house. I sleep on the wire bed, not far from her. I make all of her meals, all of which she vomits up. It annoys her, because she says she is very hungry. She starts giving me her heirlooms. Her mother’s cameo, with the diamond. She tells me to be good to my sister.

June 12th – 26th

I imagine I am special. I am a Higgs Boson. In some way I am a Higgs Boson. In my body exists some form of that elementary particle. The God Particle. I often place my hands on my Mom like Burt Lancaster in Elmer Gantry and make healing sounds. She laughs.

Official report. The Akashic Records. (c) Folder 12, Rodman, D. “Reading 1650-1.” Source: Edgar Cayce.The Akashic Records referring to a universal Hindu filing system which records every occurring thought, word, and action. The records are impressed on a subtle substance called akasha. It is thought to be the primary principle of nature from which the other four natural principles, fire, air, earth, and water, are created. These five principles also represent the five senses of the human being.Cayce stated: «...Upon time and space are written the thoughts, the deeds, the activities of an entity – as in relationships to its environs, its hereditary influence; as directed – or judgement drawn by or according to what the entity’s ideal is. Hence, as it has been oft called, the record is God’s book of remembrance; and each entity, each soul – as the activities of a single day of an entity in the material world – either makes some good or bad or indifferent, depending upon the entity’s application of self towards that which is the ideal manner for the use of time, opportunity and the expression of that for which each soul enters a material manifestation.

Gonzanze Myo-o – The East One Who Subjugates The Three Worlds

June 26th

Mom goes back into the hospital: her lungs have filled up again. That’s what happens when you smoke three packs a day for thirty years. Mom keeps saying that as long as she’s dying, she might as well have a cigarette. She misses them. The Harvard Physicist Lisa Randall, who is also obsessed with the LHC, says in her book ‘Warped Passages’ says that in a place called Flat Land we would perceive round things as Flat, because we have no prior understanding of three-dimensionality, just like in those ancient Japanese scrolls which depict heaven and hell on the same plane. And once we find the Higgs Boson, we could discover there are alternate dimensions. Living just right by us. It’s all a matter of being able to see. You just need special instruments; those contained in the Large Hadron Collider.

June 28th

A few months earlier, nearly 63 years and 63 thousand miles from the birth of ‘Trinity’ I found myself jumping up and down again and again on the overflow of von Trapp family edelweiss which rimmed the front of the CERN lunchroom. Cafeteria de la Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire. I shouted at Jos Engeler: “Some of us simply want to know what the world is made of, and how. We just want to know what is in here. We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring, will be to arrive where we started, through the unknown, unremembered gate and know how these damn unseen particles constitute flowers.”

Like Stephen Hawking said, “for a hundred trillionths of a trillionth of a second, conditions will mirror the universe immediately after the big bang. From that brief genesis, though, a new universe will not be born. It won’t grow, and it won’t destroy the pre-existing universe, one we know and love. No Apocalypse, no Big Goodbye. We can [just about almost] guarantee that.” But when we unwrap that mystery, are we hastening our destruction? The need to break down to finite fractals what constitutes life, is an inevitable drive. But will our romance with life change once we know the exact proportions of love.

The Académie Française: the illustrious, centuries-old “cultural parliament” that governs the perception of excellence, and whose precepts Sweden’s Nobel Academy based itself upon. The 40-strong members are known as les immortels, because of their motto, “À l’immortalité” (To immortality); the official seal of the body (inscribed into every chair), as granted by Cardinal Richelieu. And the chairs were theirs until death do they part. What could it do to someone who longed to be an immortel (as we all do in some way), but could never be recognized by ones peers? It was that argument within the community that had brought forth the cry, “who shall occupy the 41st chair…?” In other words, who is the unrecognized genius, the one who will forever wait in the wings until a chair is available, and is that 41st chair a stand-in for the collective zeitgeist of the human spirit? And each individuated spirit molecule internally carries an invisible light (Tikkum Olam, make it whole again). Hail, the machine that will tell us so.

July 5th

I wash Mom’s hair for her. She tells me I do a very good job. Her skin is translucent. She still looks so pretty. I see the bones shaping her skull, underneath the slim pillars of flesh. My face is permanently swollen from crying. I will never get a husband if I look this way. And I need to get married and have a baby before Mom leaves me. I make a list of possible candidates. I think of getting my best male friend drunk and stealing his sperm. I don’t talk about Mom to anyone. Everyone around me has parents or friends that have recently died or are dying. They hadn’t told me. I have entered a club.

The Official report: CERN Commission d) Folder 6, Ivanov, G. Source: Nobel Academy Panel: The verification of the existence of the Higgs Boson would be a significant step in the search for a Grand Unified Theory which seeks to unify the four fundamental forces: Electromagnetism, Strong Force, Weak Force, and Gravity. Source: In the Standard Model, a suite of equations describing all the forces but gravity, which has held sway as the law of the cosmos for the last 35 years, elementary particles are born in the Big Bang without mass, sort of like Adam and Eve being born without sin.The Higgs Boson may help to explain why gravity is comparatively weak when contrasted with the other three fundamental forces. The Higgs is especially central to modern physics even though it has never been found.

Gundari Myo-o – The South will Battle Internal and External Evil

July 12th

I have dark bruises on my forehead from walking into poles. I have a ticket booked for London in two weeks. It’s a work trip. I’ve told Mom. I told her weeks ago. I tell my sister. She cries, then screams at me. I dream that night that my sister is sitting on my shoulders, has me pinned down, and is blowing smoke in my face. She keeps screaming, “Do you like that? Do you like that?”

July 14th

I had been working on a short story about a scientist. He is old and is afraid that he will never be recognized as being special. I listen to a lot of Brian Eno when I write it. The album is Before and After Science, which I think is quite clever. I don’t show it to Mom, but I tell her I have made a lot of money publishing it. And that it won a prize. She tells me how proud she has always been of me. I think of the times of I lied to her.

July 15th

I send the story to a friend to read. I don’t think he reads it, or ever will. His father has had a heart attack and I have a feeling he was put off by the title.

The Swainfider Stroke

I, Magnus Swainfider, am one of those rare men to become famous for my brilliance in physics. My admirers have said I have always been wonderfully overconfident, and others have muttered that old onion, “pride comes before a fall Swainfider,” but I believe I have proven more often than not that I simply have the knack for being right.

Twenty years and two months ago, when I was 57 years of age, I had developed a brilliant super-string theorem about vibratory elements in popular electronic music which people called the Swainfider Stroke. I had even been short-listed for a Nobel in 1985, but German Klaus von Klitzing got it for the quantized Hall effect, which was interesting, but worth a prize? He was also, as I recall, a pudgy, sweaty man with toothy self-satisfied smile. I myself had always been a singularly attractive man. In my youth, some say I looked a lot like Steve McQueen, but I was proud my absolute intelligence cast into shadow those natural, physical gifts.

There was no reason, however, even though I was now 77 years of age, and still a fine looking man with a full head of hair, that I could not formulate a theory that would once again bring me to the attention of the Nobel committee.

I also knew, had my path not led me into science, my natural understanding of music would’ve served to make me a preeminent musician much like the Englishman Brian Eno, who had sent me a letter after my Nobel loss, which backed my electro-pop oligarchy citations (Kraftwerk and their 1976 masterpiece Trans Europe Express were in our top ten) and of course praising the Swainfider Stroke. In fact, just before my wife Jean and I returned to Stockholm three months ago, Mr. Eno had sent me his newest LP. I was so thrilled, I found myself singing one of his songs during a superstring symposium at the Stockholm National Museum in July of 2006.

Great lines of numbers all bright and shiny all through the ether

some huge some tiny all through the ether from France to China

unite the people….

Jean said the Nobel Physics Chairman Per Carlson was especially moved by my performance. I thought I had noticed tears in his eyes. I was well pleased. I had been in excellent voice that day.

Relevant to this, I believe last week, I teased her that Per Carlson had a crush on her.

“You are pre-supposing the counterfactual concept of a romantic triangle, älskling,” she retorted.

She sat on the edge of the bed, and continued to slowly coil her thin hair into soft curlers. “The idea of three-sidedness is one of definition. It is actually the relationship of the three sides that determine its state as a triangle.”

“For now. Millions of plancks away,” I had joked. “Precis. Particles and particles of him. Vad grymt, as the kids say.”

She secured a net atop of the mound of hair. “Vad grymt älskling,” she smiled, moving toward the bathroom. “Nothing to worry about, tack?”

People will tell you, I have always been a brave man. There was the time I flew from Stockholm to Helsinki in October of 1978 to deliver a lecture on functional redundancy in scientific knowledge. It had been on a small plane – a puddle jumper.

While striding towards the exit, I suspected they’d not offloaded my luggage and I remember my colleague Gunnar Dyhlen’s surprise when I suddenly turned and leapt across the tarmac onto the runway in front of the plane which was rolling forward, ready for take off.

Gunnar was shouting, sweating as he chased me, “Magnus Swainfider! Du vill bli bena och blod!” He thought I was going to die.

Nonetheless, I needed my good grey suit for an official event that evening. So I ran in the path of the moving plane, put up my right hand and shouted, “Stopp! Stanna den här puddle hopparen eller Jag vill straffa du!”

The plane stopped, of course. It turned out that the real danger was the ferocity of the pilot, who was from Hämeenlinna and who severely threatened my life. Yet, one cannot be bothered by the Finns, they’re a moody people, and these had nothing further to say once they opened up the hold and saw my bag was in there.

This was the sort of detail I was to be recalling, as I am writing my memoirs. Yet, every time I would begin, I would fall into memories and from there into deep, deep slumber.

My memoirs needed of course to be very precise. So we had transported my 45 file cabinets filled with 3-by-5 and 4-by-6 cards, neatly typed, containing notations, reference material and articles and citing books of which many fill the libraries in Göteborg, Malmö, Stockholm and Uppsala and still fill the shelves in our home in Karlavägen which Jean had sublet to a young Arabic couple. I had my rubber stamp with the lemon-green finger, which pointed out reminders where to begin. I had everything I needed to write. It made no difference. I continued to fall asleep. I only knew I had fallen asleep, because when I’d awoken, I knew only then that I had been sleeping. Often I would dream I’d woken up although I believe I was still sleeping. In one dream I dreamt I was at Arlanda Airport. It was crowded. Two middle-aged Japanese males bumped into one another. Staring at the other man’s face, the shorter man began to shake uncontrollably. He said to his friend:

“Hiroshi, you gave me such a shock! I dreamt you were dead!”

Thereafter, without telling Jean, I put aside the memoir work and initiated a different empirical subset wherein I would rise early, leave the house to purchase a hot croissant with lite cream cheese, a cup of coffee, a newspaper. With these items I sallied forth to contextualize an omni-triangulated area, which would cover the greatest volume of humanity within the least surface area. The purpose was a new experiment I was very excited about, but had yet to discuss with a living soul.

If I were to explain to those who are not scientifically inclined, I would’ve said: the human brain emits an as yet unmapped vibratory sourced gravitational energy, which exists in each human being. The particle acceleration could surpass the Hadron collider. I knew, due to the expert divination of my exceptional skills, I would discover the possibility (factoring in M-theory and weak gravity) that each human being carried the potential to shift space-time dimensionality.

While walking home within the omni-triangulated area, this leafy street in Karlavägen, Stockholm, hoisting a plastic grocery bag, which contained large fresh eggs and newly sliced pumpernickel bread from the local market I passed by Subject #36: a woman wearing pointy, flat shoes. She was fumbling with car keys.

“David called and invited me over last night,” she said in Swedish, into her mobile telephone, “he brought out the chocolates, and that’s when all the trouble began.”

Perhaps the difficulty was of a sexual design. She was wearing a tight black skirt, which made her buttocks appear larger than need be.

It was cold outside, yet I lingered, rustling my grocery bag, and much like those new bluetooth devices, tilted my lobe towards her with pencil and pad in hand. Chocolates…what could it mean? I squeezed my eyes, yet I could read no data emissions, and soon after found myself grunting slightly, as I trotted after her, failing to follow her suddenly quickened pace.

I hoped Jean – wherever she was – was wearing the dark blue coat with gold buttons with the small collar I had purchased for her at an expensive store in the Södermalm last Christmas. It was a mixture of cashmere and wool, soft to the touch and long, meant to conceal her ankles, which were of an indelicate proportion.

I recalled this hours later, sitting on Scooter’s couch in the basement of his family home. I’d met Scooter one day when I’d fallen asleep at a local coffee shop. Seated next to me were three overly groomed young men and a woman with a Chihuahua dozing on her lap. I don’t remember falling asleep, or why my face was wet. The waitress with the nametag ‘Caitlin’ said it was because I was crying. I believe that to be impossible.

I protested, but she insisted on having her son Scooter escort me home. He was small, skinny, around 14-years old, with short hair, cut very close to his head. He wore a light t-shirt and jeans and kept scratching his bare arm with his free hand. He reminded me of Svante, the first boy I’d kissed. Svante was older than I, and adored jazz music and Cubism. Jean, I remembered, tasted like pencil rubber. I wondered about Scooter but became less interested in these ideas as the fine methamphetamine I’d just smoked (which I purchased from him at what he told me was a fair sum) was initiating the first stage elevation of my serotonin level.

Scooter, at first had shared the meth in a capsule form, which as a test, I’d secretly ground into Jean’s food. Just a very few granules to see how she would react, as she had always said, if you could zoom in and see space-time at its tiniest measurable scale, tinier than anything we can probe, it might look bitty and granular. Like dots making up a photograph, or sand on a beach, space-time would be grainy, with gaps in which there is absolutely nothing.

Today was the third time I’d been to Scooter’s, wasn’t it? It didn’t matter. He liked to laugh. His teeth were small, even and sharp.

Scooter chattered, “hey Magnus, have you ever been to Stockholm, New Jersey? Lots of crankers there, you’d fit right in. And watch it Magnus, you are becoming a 77 year-old cranked-out puddle jumper.” I ignored him as he’d recently pierced the base of his small neck with a decorative, thinly spiked metal rod and I was of the mind to doubt his judgment.

When I was younger, I attended the 1958 International Congress of Mathematicians. French mathematician Jean Dieudonné, totally exhausted with the intrusion of “new math,” had shouted: “Down with Euclid! Death to triangles!” I remembered I had loved teasing my Jean about that. Now, I felt renewed, fascinated by the blooming fullness of crank’s multi-triangulated crystallized form. Watch watch watch how it melts into shiny puddles.

“A bas Euclide! Mort aux triangles!” I said to Scooter, and sang some of the Eno song with which Per Carlson had been so impressed.

Some Brass some Paper some Gold some Silver some full of promise so full of anger in ranks of thousands we fall and stumble all bottom liners we make the numbers….

Scooter winked at me, made an odd chirping sound, then laughed. He was speaking into his blue mobile phone. It was the one with the faded Star Wars sticker on it.

“Hello? What you what, high, this is the captain, do you not know, what you are doing, hello what are you high?”

He scratched his neck piercing and began again. “No you, you’re high.” I thought I could hear the other voice repeat, “What are you are you, what are you high?”

Scooter sat on top of the phone, laughed and closed his eyes. I closed my eyes. I could see.

Even caged under his body, I knew it I heard it I knew it, muffled, grainy I knew it the voice, shining. Dearest Jean Jean Jean Jean Jean Jean Jean Jean Jean.

“Jean,” I shouted, “Is that you? Where are you? Please, please! I am not angry any more.”

“Älskling… Du är så indiankrigaren. It’s time. Sweet Magnus, min förälskelse. Fluga till mig. Oh kommer hem.”

The Official report: CERN Commission. D) Folder 61, Ghent, D. Source: The Indian Emperor Ashoka, Text: The Secret Society of the Nine Unknown Men. “The unknown power of the ego existing in man’s physiological makeup, a centrifugal force strong enough to counteract all gravitational pull. According to Hindu Yogis, it is this “laghima” which enables a person to levitate. J) Folder 62. Source: University of Wisconsin. String theory guides all other forces of nature in the universe—weak and strong nuclear forces as well as electromagnetic and gravitational forces. The postulation of these extra dimensions—up to 10 in all—explains why only the point-like tips of these particles are visible to humans: The rest of each particle could be spread through this multidimensional space. Their interactions in the other dimensions—akin to interference among vibrating “strings”—explains why quantum mechanics requires statistics to describe matter: Their tips could be jumping about like the end of a whip. Experiments conducted by EE Steve Lamoreaux at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The National Science Foundation, the Energy Department and the Research Corp. funded the research.

Konga-yasha – The North Gives Strength

July 31st – 12th August

I leave for London. The next day Mom returns to the hospital. My elder sister sends me increasingly agitated emails, some of which she pretends are from Mom. Some of them she gives up pretending, and writes like this:

Date:August 4 2007
Subject: unbelievable

I’m freaking out. I asked John to search for you now, and he is sure you are not in London. I have instructed him to find you at all costs, and not to stop until he has. You are aware of his ability to manipulate computers and information to get what he needs, you know the family secret behind his ability. Where are you? How can I help you if you are not responsive?

I cannot do anything to help you in Europe, and you must respond for us to be able to sort anything out.

I am sure you are not aware of the constant guard and care we must have over mommy, but we have taken care of her and watched her for 24 hours a day non stop.

I want to give you the benefit of the doubt but you are not helping me help you and you are not responding. I am going to make John continue to track you, find you, and help you to come home and if need be use his resources within the US Embassy and the government. Given enough time I have faith that he will find you. I have told him once he finds you to use his resources to get you home no matter what the cost.

I am starting to think you HATE me! I need your help and mommy needs you. Your mother is dying. All I can do is cry…and cry…and CRY…and cry…Respond to me now !!!!!

August 10th

I have developed a chronic cough. It sounds like Mom’s cough. I know it’s a neurotic cough. Or I have TB. So I go to the local Boots (the Chemist / Beauty store in London) and buy two bottles of 32 tabs of aspirin and codeine. The chemist asks if I know how to take them. I say yes. I go back to my hotel near Picadilly Square and listen to a couple wet-kissing in the hallway just outside my door. I take four. Every three hours with a glass of red wine.

August 11th – 19th

I know Mom is in and out of the hospital. She goes to get radiation every day. I have tea with a friend in Soho on the Greek Street. She finds out two weeks later that her friend died in a car crash.

Fudo Myo-o – The Protector The Immovable Center

August 21st

I said I would only be gone two weeks. I have been gone nearly three. I keep thinking if I don’t see her, then she won’t die. I know that’s stupid. Five senses and not a useful one amongst them. I email Mom. I tell her I am home and will see her on Thursday. She should be very angry with me. She sends me an email.

Date: August 21, 2007
Subject: Re: home

boy, am i happy now!!! my little baby is home. do u know when u will be over here on thursday so i can hug u?

It is raining, a lovely soft caressing afternoon rain, sweet as a puppy’s tummy. I begin walking uptown to Mom’s house. I buy a take away coffee, strong and sweet, stopping by a store that has baby clothes. I stand in front of the mirror’d window and slap myself until my face is red, push my knuckles into my eyes, until all I can see are sparks of light. And when I stop, I am where I first started, and know the place for the first time.

Official report. The Chinese Monk Wumen e) Folder, 7. Roman, S. Source: “Bodhidharma Pacifies the Mind: the Gateless Barrier Case/Koan # 41”: A collection of 48 Mandarin koans (Zen riddles to provoke awakening), circa 1228 AD. Many Zen masters felt to talk of the mind and the nature was sometimes seen as a waste of time. There was a story, for example, of the Second Ancestor, Huike, who always talked of the mind and the nature but did not understand them. “Bodhidharma faced the wall. The Second Ancestor stood in the snow, cut off his arm and said, ‘Your disciple’s mind has no peace as yet. Master, please, put it to rest.’ Bodhidharma said, ‘Bring me your mind, and I will put it to rest.’ The Second Ancestor said, ‘I have searched for my mind, but I cannot find it.’ Bodhidharma said, ‘I have completely put it to rest for you.’” Wumen’s Verse: Coming from the West and directly pointing, All the trouble springs from this; The jungle of monks at sixes and sevens, Is your fault after all.















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