Only barbarians are not
curious about where they come
from, how they came to be where
they are, where they appear to be
going, whether they wish to go
there, and if so, why, and if not,
why not.

—Isaiah Berlin

From the corner of a comfortable what-I-am-not,
I woke up from my reality-dream
and found myself working at the Museum of Philosophy
as a common custodian who shows people around
in the exhibition on everyday thoughts
when guests ask who they really are.

I mostly love Socrates, I tell them. The One.
Especially because he unstoppably picked
his ugly nose, which today is a rare public pleasure
custodians miss in their daily work.
No one even dares to think about it.

“Is it Kant’s thoughts hanging over there?” One visitor asks me.
(He is from Kaliningrad)
“Holy moly. True it is,” another says.
“Strange frame, by the way,” they agree.
What a wicked thing to say.

A small name tag on my left jacket pocket tells me who I am.
Yet the exhibition to the right constantly makes me alienated.
My shirt is green-blue-red
as a signal of the general confusion á la Roman Jakobson’s color vowels.
Pavlov is meant for the caged hens of ontology.
“No smoking in here, please,” I say. Bakhtin was in fact a busker.
Yet I have fallen in love with Soviet epiphenomenology:
all the kisses are missing transcendence.


Art by Jacques Louis David (France, 1748-1825)

Peter Graarup Westergaard

Peter Graarup Westergaard has published the poetry collection 'Nordvest' in Danish in 2017 and an English translation 'Danish Northwest' in 2019 (Translated by the author and poet Mary-Jane Holmes). Furthermore, he has published poems and short stories in several literary magazines and written literary critique in national and local newspapers. Januar 2020 he has been guest-editor at Anglo Files on an issue on horror literature. He holds an MA research degree in comparative literature with a minor in English from Aarhus University and works as a teacher at an upper secondary boarding school on Djursland.