Do I dare
disturb the universe?
Recent Entries 
16th-Mar-2009 11:09 pm - ♔ Do I dare?
to_tell_you_all: (♖ among the porcelain)

i am not j. alfred prufrock; this is all illusion and allusion.

i do not own him; nor do i own mr. eliot, nor his fine poem.
this journal is entirely a work of fiction & i derive no profit
but my own pleasure from the writing contained herein.

Please consider this post an appropriate venue for the airing of all concerns, compliments or grievances you may have re: my portrayal of this character. To use the familiar jargon; how is my driving?

Anyone interested in drumming up some activity with the old fellow is welcome to comment as well; i am sporadic with his activity, but if his presence is requested, rest assured mr. prufrock attends your pleasure.
14th-Mar-2009 11:13 pm - ♔ I am Lazarus, come from the dead
to_tell_you_all: (♔ i grow old; i grow old)

              J. Alfred Prufrock is not an imposing figure. He is well-dressed, though looking at him, one might expect to find holes in his pockets, or threadbare patches hidden inexpertly by the fall of his tie; a kind of shabbiness, a touch of quiet desperation, is evident in his appearance. His hair is thinning, slightly; a pair of glasses perched upon his sharp nose suggesting that his eyesight is not what it once had been.
              For the purposes of having a visual aid, and because there's a certain lack of physical description in his canon, I am using as a pb the author of the poem, T.S. Eliot, as well as assorted stock photography. I am not [unless expressly noted] the owner of any of these images, though I am responsible for creating the icons. If you'd like to use them, I'd appreciate credit (and moreso, I'd appreciate a note left here, because I'm curious by nature,) but I won't hunt you down crying.

[under construction]

              If one were forced to describe him in one word, it may well be hesitant. While Prufrock would deeply, dearly love to form a proper connection with another human being, he's accustomed to a degree of social isolation. He feels estranged from his own society, and is preoccupied with the knowledge that his point of view differs from the dominant point of view held by those around him-- and his fear that he will be mocked for this difference makes it difficult for him to initiate or maintain conversations. Canonically, much of Prufrock's "song" hovers obsessively around issues of miscommunication, noncommunication-- do I dare, would it have been worth it, and so forth; his deep uncertainty and discomfort outweighs his desire to connect, to commune, to be emotionally and intellectually intimate.
              In practical terms; this means he will be uncomfortable starting conversations with other characters, and that tags from him will probably contain an uncomfortable amount of wordy narration and inner-monologuing. Sorry about that. But, well... He is who he is, and I wouldn't feel I was doing him any justice if he was too bubbly. Do feel free to react accordingly to his reticence, and to pick up on nonverbal cues about his behavior. They're there for a reason. He'd love to get to know your characters, he just isn't very good at it at all.

              Given the sparsity of his 'canon,' I don't really play him from a particular point in the poem; for the purposes of [ profile] book_dressing he's arrived in the Library after leaving the party hinted at in the earlier stanzas, though I presume that much of the 'action' of the poem is retrospective or imaginary, so don't be surprised if it is referenced.
              In writing Prufrock I also occasionally reference other of Eliot's works, particularly The Waste Land and Knowledge and Experience in the Philosophy of F. H. Bradley. I don't mean to imply that Prufrock is synonymous with Eliot, or with any of the characters in his other poetry; it's merely a matter of allusion for my own enjoyment, and for the expansion of j. alfred's palette of familiar metaphors. In other words-- none of Eliot's other writing [though i love it dearly] counts as prufrock's 'canon.'
25th-Feb-2009 04:27 pm - ♔ Oh, do not ask, "What is it?"
to_tell_you_all: (♔ no! i am not prince hamlet)

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
-T.S. Eliot

S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.

LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question ...
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go,
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
[They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
It is perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?
. . . . .
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?…

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
. . . . .
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”
. . . . .
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old … I grow old...
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
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