"Always write your code as if the next maintainer will be a homicidal maniac who knows where you live."
That saying is not bunk at all. A completely unreadable source is of no use to anyone, regardless how optimized it is. What does it do? Do you know? How will you find an error if there is one? How do you know what is an error or not?
The foremost issue is writing legible code. The fact that you are writing Perl alone, as opposed to C or assembly, means you cannot be extraordinarily concerned with performance to begin with. So if you chose Perl over C, why was that? Now take the next logical conclusion and you'll see that code legibility being more important than optimization logically follows.
Makeshifts last the longest.