The Love Song of E. Elizabeth Prufrock
by Erin Elizabeth Muir
Amidst my avocations, distraction and demons,
and music, strains from another room.
Today the metamorphose is incomplete, and I have awakened as J. Alfred.
I am falling, again and again I am falling, you see,
and willfully, and against my will, an ancient pain,
sweetly, sensually, unrootable:
vines from a mobius strip wrapping round my body,
chains made of a flesh eating green, like a venus fly trap,
a nature, a desire. I want it. I fear it. It is me. It is he. It is all of us at once.
and words and words and words
and the poet sings
in dreams the message is perfect
but waking, she becomes ineffectual in her babel tower.
beautiful, and desirous, and possibly quite mad.
If ever I had known how to never
allow bitterness in my heart,
then I am child-like now, and so imagine my
shock at my own self-dismay,
as from all my shadows emerge, dusty, now dusting off the drapery,
the drudgery, engaging, on fire, a Demon.
like the brightest star that fell from the heavens,
plunging e’er deeper into the murky sludge, the far corners of paradise,
rising up now, the mists of eternity clearing way for that
truth greater than all facts and figures, the inhuman form
which whispering, places a single icicle of fear in my heart.
Oh, love! To be Juliet. To have died within moments of the first sweet lock,
to never know the other side of purity.
But I am not asleep, and nor am I awake.
I am breathless, I am all the breathing of the sky,
a billion stars shining in the heavens,
a single pebble on the sand.
No, I am no J. Alfred. Nor was meant to be.
And in the room, the girls giggle, talking of
I am not walking on the beach, trousers rolled. I am not standing on the balcony, I am not sculpting David, I am not whimpering and I am not banging, I am singing-
I am singing!
(Each to each.) Which means-
ah, drawing breath again, do I dare to be a human?
Emerging from this sea of crystal thoughts, wearing a crown of anemone and kelp?
Do you see? These waves are you dreams,
and these pink shells are recompense for your hopes that washed away
where once you wrote them along the beach,
and these glistening pearls within are made rarer, truer, more valuable in your eyes.
If you say so, I will remove my fishy scales,
lay down my cerulean triton, and emerge
And if I say so, too, then the human voices waking us shall be our own.
(and it will have been worth it, and we will never know what we meant.)