Thursday, October 1, 2015

Michael Bishop’s Elegy for Philip K. Dick


Michael Bishop’s Elegy for Phil

Philip K. Dick is dead, a Lass
with dark hair said. Her tears flowed wholesale,
remember? Phil wrote like a relentless dentist,
drilling the pocked enamel of reality to expose
its beautiful decay. Midway through the wood
he popped fish-shaped paranoia pills, chewed
the holy fat of messianic redemption, & chased
the godly lot with pot after pot of hot black
coffee, all of it decanted from percolators whoop-
whoop-whooping their projective derangements. Beer
furred his tongue. Mars floated mauve in his
eyeballs. The smell of ozone-depleting aerosols
wafted from his armpits, ubiquitously. When Anwar
Sadat died, he scarred himself with a can of Orange
Crush in spontaneous homage. He took courage
when Linda Ronstadt sang “Different Drum” & no
bleak umbrage if a buddy crooned “Una cosa me da
risa – Pancho Villa sin camisa.”
He was fully sane
in Berkeley, Fullerton, & Santa Ana. He was crazy
in California. Kafka had nothing on either Philip
K. or the latest demented broadcast from Radio Free
Albemuth. (Oh, to be a Blobel!) If he wakes as
a Brobdignagian beefsteak tomato to orbit Papa
an angrily expanding sun, take cover. “Not ‘rekal’
but recall,” the receptionist corrects him. He
readies himself for Papa’s apotheosis with a jolt
of Nov(a)cain. He essayed suicide because Elijah
left him. “There is nothing worse in the world,
no punishment greater, than to have known God
and no longer to know him.”
To eulogize Phil
properly, recall from the post-apocalyptic junkyard
a menagerie of maimed automata – ersatz sheep, a robot
German shepherd, a naggish simulacrum of Secretariat –
and a crew of pertinacious little people, from Lumky
to Isidore to Tagomi, then set them singing until
they entropically abort. As calm as caffeine, Phil
fled aboard a talking taxi to Sri Lanka, suffered
in remainderdom, elbowed Norman Mailer for a side
of macaroni, was rediscovered, restored to print,
cultified, read, reread, & queried. If we want
him to digest it, we’ll have to eat his celebrity
for him. The ambulance that hauled him to hospital
babbled beneath its wailing like his long-dead baby
sister while a blue-zillion rusty percolators whooped
in aromatic chorus for the conveyance of his soul.
for Phil, dead on March 2, 1982
Copyright 1982—2015 by Michael Bishop
Published by permission of Michael Bishop
(Many, many thanks for sharing this, Mike.)

So there you have it, my friends. At the City Limits of Fate by Michael Bishop was a PKD Award Special Citation. Due to a publishing technicality, he was unable to participate in this bundle.

The Philip K Dick Award Storybundle includes Aestival Tide by Elizabeth Hand (PKD Finalist), Life by Gwyneth Jones (PKD Winner), The Cipher by Kathe Koja (PKD Finalist), Points of Departure by Pat Murphy (PKD Winner), Dark Seeker by K. W. Jeter (PKD Finalist), Summer of Love by Lisa Mason (PKD Finalist), Frontera by Lewis Shiner (PKD Finalist), Acts of Conscience by William Barton (PKD Special Citation), Maximum Ice by Kay Kenyon (PKD Finalist), Knight Moves by Walter Jon Williams (PKD Finalist), and Reclamation by Sarah Zettel (PKD Finalist).


The Philip K Dick Award Storybundle runs only until October 15. Once it’s gone, it’s gone! Download yours today at http://storybundle.com/pkdaward and enjoy world-class, award-winning reading right now and into the holidays.


And for more kick-ass sci-fi, check out my novel EYE CANDY. It's a sweet, romantic, daring adventure with an ensemble of characters you'll love. And follow me on Instagram for daily writing inspiration and sneak peeks of my work.

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