who is my prufrock?

A month or so ago ‘Anonymous’ left a comment on my About Me page. It read: I wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled. 

At first it seemed odd that anyone would leave a comment on my about me page because there’s nothing on my about me page. It’s under construction. 


Stranger yet that the comment would be a line from Eliot’s poem The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock. Sean said, “It’s just another one of your admirers.” But I suspected that someone was alluding to hiking up the bottoms of their trousers to wade through the shit of my online journal. I didn’t know whether to be flattered or wounded. 

But it didn’t matter; it was fun. 

Maybe Anonymous felt that I was exhibiting Prufrockian tendencies, hiding myself away in the room of my online journal in draft form. Maybe Anonymous hopes that there is time yet to consider whether we dare disturb the universe. He bares his ankles to the world. Maybe he imagines me cringing, half-nude, just a rough draft of myself, asking, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?” 

My “about me” page is blank (at least at the time of this writing) and Anonymous’ name is blank too. We’re twins in shyness. We want to wait for the perfect moment that never arrives, we need to believe that there will be

             …time yet for a hundred indecisions,
             And for a hundred visions and revisions


of our phobic identities. 

Ironic that Anonymous responded to my blank biography with a quote from a poem, a poem in which the narrator tries to muster the bravery to ask an “overwhelming question” that is never disclosed to us, in which the narrator writes: It is impossible to say just what I mean!

I love that Anonymous plagiarizes a fictional character in a poem who also doesn’t know how to say just what he means. 

It’s lovely. 


I haven’t dared bring the moment to a crisis this past month. I’ve been too socially phobic to post anything to my blog or Facebook page. Pushing the publish button has posed an existential crisis of Prufrockian proportions.

So who is my Prufrock? Take off your mask and say hello. We can have whole conversations using only lines from Eliot. 

The only other mysterious comment I’ve received on my online journal was: A Jay’s sperm annihilates. Which, after some puzzling, I realized is an anagram of “Jalina Mhyana pesters.”

Brilliant!

The anagram comment was posted in response to my WORDPLAY AT EVENSONG post about a leaflet of hymns I found in a pew at Christ Church Cathedral that had anagrams of all of the clergy’s names in it (most not very flattering). Perhaps the clergy didn’t take kindly to my posting a photo of the anagrams. The clergy’s names were turned into pseudonyms too, although many quite a bit more witty than the pedestrian ‘Anonymous’ – take ‘Ay, Lentil Bag,’ for example.’ 

So we have a masked ball here: Yours truly – The Wandering Poet, Anonymous, Prufrock, ‘Ay, Lentil Bag’ and her retinue of clergymen (including ‘Giant Rim Cork’  and ‘O, Trash Oaf’) as well as the nameless ladies steeped in Eliot’s pen.

It tickles me that someone was so bored during Evensong that they played little word games on the backs of hymnals.

Only in Oxford.

Back to my Prufrock, though; I love the idea that maybe, just maybe, somebody’s having fun and fucking with me. 

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