Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My Aquarium

i used to admire my brother who had
aquariums of fishes outside the garage
and in our rooms, fishes that swam
through every phase of our teenage years
now another of his fruitful hobbies steals our sights,
breath and hearts
he keeps a garden of orchids, many he
fervently crossed breed himself with a secret
wish to name a few at least after his sweet heart,
special friends and luminaries in town
with also the hope some would make their
way into every florist's vocabulary
the blade leafy shrubs have started to
make a cut into the finer part of our life
showering us dainty fair ladies in their best wear

i am always at a loss of their names
those protrusions with an array of flowers
of subtle shapes, racy exploding colours and scents
carrying apt names such as slippers, tigers, spiders
monkeys, giants and lady Joaquim

and fishes, he had silver and gold arowanas
that flial in the aquariums with a grace
that you wish your girlfriend can match up to
and oscars that grew so big a solid orange and
black frame they carried the aura of a master
an air of authority and decisiveness you wish you
had cultivated to swim up the heart of your own boss

then there is the ikan parang, a worn curved chopper,
a steely mass of the Creator's fluid creativity
played out in crystal clear water

as i reflect on my own aquariums
i feel not slighted too though i have no real fishes or flowers
i see them in names like neruda, plath,
emily, angelou, ted, langston....
they too help send me to seventh heaven
with a few strokes of their heartstrings
filled with the vibrancy and gems of their grey matter

john tiong chunghoo

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