Another Perry excursion. He is an effigy—sometimes, one to be burnt. He is a caricature. He abides in a black comedy, a life lived askant. I write of Perry as he writes of himself, blowing smoke in everyone’s eyes. There is reportage, yet it is fiction. Perry is no Everyman, he is painfully someone (who exists without the labour of breath or the glory of it). If anything, he is something.
WHAT PERRY HAS TO SAY
On the Subject of Melancholy
O, such an unhappy man.
A talc-sweet, spittle-bubbling baby
is cot inside, all incoherent limbs
and suckling eyes; a thing
of balsa wood afloat on the seas of what is.
Sir John Everett Millais’ Bubbles,
as wan and fretful a child,
is there, within, knowing his bubble
will be burst, that it cannot be kept.
There’s Gainsborough’s Blue Boy too
(as wet and assured, this watery slickness),
he’s standing, languishing, defiant with ennui,
dressed as some over-flamboyance of an adult.
There’s a Rebel Without a Cause,
A Tim Roth as Trevor in Made in Britain,
A Benjamin Braddock from The Graduate,
and a Johnny Darko corralled within.
O, such a very unhappy man:
so full of it: made up by it,
by this Grand Guignol of nought-ness,
something¬hingness, of slump.
Furled like a dog turd, he rafts on a futon
(an increasing flatness he rollers over
he can feel its ribs, the slats of the base),
he relishes the bloody business of going nowhere.
The window frames the close-by treetops,
shuddering, muttering with leaves,
and he wants to make-believe
he’s The Wildman of the Woods,
to emulate one Anthony Aloysius Hancock,
who forsakes tawdry society for self-reliance
on Hampstead Heath, who fails,
who cannot overcome himself.
O, once a happy-go-lucky fellow,
who would curl up into himself
like a diurnal plant at dusk
to listen to the lad himself (but,
things just seemed to go too wrong too many times).
The beeches puff, swell like iron drops
through milk, against the cloud:
he cultures an image of mould spotting
the protein gel in a Petri dish:
the pilose greyness of the fungal hyphae
spreading, merging, Venn diagrammatic:
those down-like spores breaking loose,
falling away, becoming drizzle.
O, such a miserable fucker.
Closing shop, his eyes shut (each a bearded muscle),
he speaks to a God he doesn’t believe in,
to the psychiatrist he doesn’t have,
to those who will never care to hear, and he states
what is the sense of being awake when asleep we can dream.
O, unhappy man, how you so revel in your unhappy self! You twat.