An Evening with Philip K. Dick — Jacob Borchardt



              “Watch,”
Dick said as he pitched a penny onto the sidewalk
though he spoke with a man’s voice, in the dream he wore a child’s face
and it smiled from his teeth to the edges of his eyes

              “The lake rises above the trees
                                         the image of Preponderance of the Great
          thus the superior man
                                             when he stands alone
          is unconcerned
                             and if he has to renounce the world
          he is undaunted”

he read from a leathern book
it looked heavy, too large for his hands

I don’t know where it came from
or what it meant but the words sounded ominous
on such a balmy afternoon
like a clown saying mass
or a fistful of black balloons

Dick sat down there
on the sidewalk and continued to read

              “Time is a child,
                                         playing at draughts”

and as he spoke the sky above us darkened
in the shadows I could see the old man Dick would become,
heavy browed and jaundiced

“I’m dreaming, you aren’t I?”
I was certain.

“That is a lie, the kind of lie a man tells himself
                                                         before he enters a courtroom, or a surgery.”

Dick was no longer reading, but I do not remember if he spoke to me,
his aged face loose and wrinkled in the dim light

“Ich bin geborn. Ich bin todt.
                                                         By Time I mean God”

Behind us, an ice cream truck tinkled to a halt
and without another word Dick raised his hand
a popsicle appeared in it
bright red
with two narrow sticks
the sky lightened
and so did the years Dick carried

              “Time is a division,”
he said, handing me half
              “And the universe is monate, atomos,
                                                                        that which is indivisible.”

He looked at me
his half of the popsicle
held like an exclamation point next to face

It ran down his arm in thin rivulets
then in the logical way of dreams
flowed back up again
“Do you see?” he said.

And that was the end.

***


An archaeologist by day, Jacob Borchardt is fascinated by dreams, the occult and ancient peoples’ garbage. Two of these themes are often featured in his work. When not pursuing these interests, Jacob is typically hiding from the near tropical heat of his native Columbia, South Carolina.