“Jamais Vu is a hall of mirrors. In these marvellous and haunted new poems Perry observes a life that may be his or may be ours. Nothing and everything matters. Yet all is exactly as it should be, glimpsed and unanswerable. A startling, disorentating, and tender book of poems.”
Annemarie Ní Churreáin
author of The Poison Glen
“A mystical and epic collection of iridescent poems: within are smooth, arrow-shaped flowers of memory, story, and a darkly tilted earth.
Step into these worlds and pay attention to each word: they are all crucial clues to the sound of love.”
author of Finding Nothing: The VanGardes
“Acute and searching, Paul Perry’s gaze moves like the beam of a lighthouse, illuminating the contours of what was and what is, full of grace for the possibilities of what could be. Jamais Vu leads us on a spectacular waltz down halls both familiar and forgotten, with that most sibylline partner: time.”
Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe
author of Auguries of a Minor God
Whale and chrysanthemums
stale on the altar.
I save the wine, chop wood.
There’s a novel I want to write.
One thousand days sweeping the floor.
16 grains of rice and two tiny
crawling creatures that didn’t need to die.
I lost my voice,
couldn’t speak for two days.
After shovelling snow in the sunshine
I felt young again.
an old man pushing a black barrow
against the wintry fields.
Coming home in the dusk
The mountains breath my name.
You were saying
You were saying: how my life was.
We used to run. You were saying: I will start.
Then it’s, not at all.
Then one day I won’t. I guess.
My older sister. My younger sister. She doesn’t trust me.
What else? I suspect. You were saying: I need this tonight.
At least for an hour. Because we’re all obsessed with something.
And my dad. My dad has nothing to say to me.
Why don’t you tell me about it? You were saying.
I gave up my right to know.
Dublin was beautiful. I found a little cottage with a hole in it.
I need this.
To spend some time together. Line by line
You were saying: she would hate that.
I would love it. I will start. Everything, everything.
He is there. He can talk. We used to run.
You were saying: I know how to start
You were saying: I gave up my right.
No. No. Not at all.
Poets have multiplied more than the stars of heaven.
And a poet is an airy thing. Capeesh?
Sleepwalkers, cicadas, and moonlight,
Flying ants, that’s more my thing.
And the earth in the distance.
Taxi, taxi – take me there.
And if you talk to the tax man about poetry,
What will you do with the ombudsman
And her smorgasbord?
Tell me, do.
We’re going on a hike to the Hellfire Club.
Cards, and a drink with the devil, if you please.
And the trees will end up whispering all your secrets.
Just you see. The only way down is to take flight.
Can you do that? Are you ready?
Take the dead rabbit, its whole body,
as your emissary, if you like.
I don’t really care.
Here comes the dusk like a dark music,
Like the sound of a thousand knives sharpening in fact.
Poems Copyright © Paul Perry, 2022