Pet Sounds: Zabrina Lo

Pet Sounds: A series in which teaching staff and students from the English Department reflect on a piece of music or song. [Read all entries.] [Revisit the “Headspace” series.] [Revisit the “Ongoing” series.] [Revisit the “Interrogative” series.]

La La Land.jpg

Shower Plays

was a robe I could peel off
as I slithered into the bathtub
to savour my inveterate predilection for
talking to myself like characters in plays.

Those were the conversations worth living for.
In girlhood
reality was a performance
whereas plays were real.
Epics were made to extol the lionhearted child
who directed her own odyssey and,
barefooted on a mouldy carpet,
recited grand proclamations
about conquering the world someday
as an actress on a carpet
with a different colour.

At that time, pretension
was a mist that covered the looking glass
on which my adolescent fingers drew two dots
and a curve. I let
the repainted, always smiling face
speak to—and for—
the face underneath.

Those were the moments worth living for.
I heard the water sloshing out of my hands
but also myself splashing it back on to my face
to, as if somehow possible,
stop it from dripping
into the drain.

Now delusion
is my adult skin laid bare.
I am naked in the face of realising
that I have always been
an actress
who pretends to be deaf to her life
pouring away,
and which someday will be

I step into the tub
to recall my inveterate predilection for
staging, with ungraspable vapour, a rusty shower head,
and palpitations for the unfeeling water bill,
the grandest childhood melodramas
that sound like
a farce.

The inspiration for the poem comes from La La Land‘s “Audition”. I watched the film with a childhood friend who shared the same dream (and who was also partially the persona of the poem). Back then in December when I was about to graduate, my friend and I talked about who we once were and what we were about to become and figured there were things we knew we could never realise. All we could do was to laugh about our foolishness.


ZabrinaZabrina Lo is a final-year student reading English Literature and Film Studies. She loves having her lectures on savannas, in the sun and pretty much anywhere but the classroom. She is one of the founding co-editors of EDGE. [Read all entries by or about Zabrina.]

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