Eliot picture credit: Ellie KoczelaWikimedia Commons. First, they are the utterances of a specific individual not the poet at a specific moment in time.
Is it perfume from a dress That makes me so digress? And how should I presume? The smoke as a player in and of itself, animalistic but not malevolent, is an interesting characteristic. At this point, Prufrock almost seems to have raised his spirits enough to attempt to speak to the women at the centre of the pome.
Eliot, Perhaps both interpretations are relevant here. Despite knowing what to say and how to express his love, he is hesitant. He seems rooted in the present tense and this, according to Eliot and most Modernists, is an unhealthy approach to time. It is partly what helps to make him a modern poet, focusing on urban social alienation and the landscape of the city rather than on nature and the pastoral.