On the plight of Louis Petit and his parents Chris Petit and Emma Matthews
With the music of each parent’s face and a tone
From his father’s voice, he calls to us; Louis Petit, a painter
Of promise and poise beyond youth, who after a handful
Of years has spent half his span in a landmine, borne
Not from bombs in the earth, but the body; with his nerves
And mind jarring in (dis)order to demonise his firth truth.
Nobody knows how to tame the bite to the brain this strain proffers;
Instead victims suffer as Doctors prescribe drugged pot-luck.
Young Petit first endured at age 12, removed at once from those moments
That all kids should be part of as memory was decimated
By dosage and the loss of cognition first struck. Hallucinations
Result, along with the disconnect of exhaustion. The young
Louis ‘deep Aliced’ as his former Wonderland winces,
And looking glass turns to knives. While his parents, Chris Petit
And Emma Matthews look on, horrified by his story,
As their son’s childhood is stolen by unplanned plot-spoiler
In the book they had wanted to write of their lives.
Louis has a form of epilepsy which strained each medical strand
Applied to him. The testing of one drug after another
Eventually addicts time to withdrawal and curse
As successive strategies are soon essayed and the cure
For a loved son as subject sits at the summit of a mountain
Of medical files still to climb. Louis was assigned seven drugs
In sixteen combinations, each one worsening size and seizure
As his particular variant was complex. As if his Film Editor Mum
And Novelist and Director Dad were now dealing with
Their prized love as project; a mystery without clear
Suspects. In Louis’ Story, their film, you see this handsome
Boy at all ages; carefree as a toddler and then removed
Later on. Before at Nineteen, the salvaged soul
Can start once more to speak to us showing how
‘the malignant choreography of his demons’ has rearranged
His pure song. After a thousand attacks, this grandson
Of a military man fought a warzone, happening to him
In his bedroom or in his mother’s car. As his body shook
To the beat of the Devil’s drum disease plays for,
And where the promise of peace was as distant as Alpha
Centuri’s last star. And yet as each removal wrenched him,
Louis kept painting. His earliest drawings are pictured
As are his finely detailed new scenes. Montaged and collaged
Scenarios etched with sophisitication and skill across paper;
Forms of two-dimensional sequel, if not to the films of his Dad,
Then of dreams. Characters collide in his art, floating like notes
On staved settings; a fine art for the future as his City and Guilds
Course allows. Won after long years of endurance and pain
And gothic experiment- after Shelley, from which one salvation
Was seen to emerge and carouse the survivors of a torn
Battlefield as medical cannabis came to kiss him, curing
As it has done thousands for decades, while receiving
No approbation, and taking no acclaim, praise, or bows.
It is what has saved this boy starved of the ease of youth.
He’s brow beaten. But as he looks at you in this sequence
From beneath his bohemian fringe he avows that his life
Could be saved for so much less money than it takes
To secure him in the Care home predicted by Doctors
Who told his mother to grieve for the childhood soon to lose
Itself in death’s house. His parents even left England for him,
Finding cannabis’ prescribed cure in Holland, as the Homeland
Houses little but the conservative curse on all things.
Deny and demur the soft word on which the counter-culture
Was founded, and from which so many vision makers
And musicians have learned what to see and shape
And then sing. But this isn’t the puff that might have primed
Leonardo. It isn’t Cezanne’s sun-spun suture that Van Gogh
May well have imbibed. It is not what Cary Grant took,
Or Tony Curtis. This is oil not weed rolled for the Beatles,
Or for Krautrock and co, or lost tribes. This organic assists
And does not align just with his lifestyle. It is this boy’s right
And the pigment placed within pen and paint. It is the sauce
And the source of hope for his coping. It is the fuel for his future
And the ease to quell all complaint. And now its denied
By an NHS pressed into service; as if the wound was subduing
The bandage for bleeds that soon taint and taint for life
Every suffering soul and each voice-stung victim. Sunak seeks
To cap it, as each cut delivered stabs ever deeper into
The drought of the stream on Christ’s side. We are all made
Martyrs by fate and by the odds stacked against us.
After nearly ten tears of struggle Petit’s prose and promise
Reveal care and cure’s true divide. Society too often separates out.
But we can all parent each other. We can look after this boy
And his Mother and his father too with one act,
Sent to restore and to enhance a new visionary who in excelcis
And in the health he should have can retract prior pain
And enhance the way we see and understand our condition.
As Soul and Society seizure, the young painter, Petit
Asks you to consider how can we now help each other
And by doing so, stay intact. Help him. Hear him.
House this PETITion. Your signature is a chorus that even
Those who play deaf start to hear. For the disconnect
And dream state in which a boy of twelve was once frozen
Can be thawed by sympathy’s summer and by a climate
Which in striving for stars stalls earth’s fears. Let one new
Artist become your own passion project. Artists are mirrors;
They show us what we survive and suffer and what it is
To hold dear. For if they are the art then we are the canvas.
We frame hope with our conscience
And then welcome the image which shapes
The medium and the message, from which
In an instant we finally understand
Why we’re here.
David Erdos, 24/12/22
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE
You can see more of Louis’ paintings and read about his story here.