Saturday, October 7, 2017

And one night, all that was burning

Y una noche, todo estaba ardiendo
(And one night, all that was burning)
In homage to Pablo Neruda’s
I Explain a Few Things (1914-1973)

And you may ask yourself: where are the honey bees?
and the kopiko with their tired little faces?
and why so many hurricanes on steroids
and melting icebergs
pulling apart our worlds,
and pushing them together—and—
tear gas, fire hoses, blasting at liberty and justice
and peaceful protesters
Well. I'll tell you everything.

But first—
I lived in the green rolling hills
above Honolulu
and high schools and churches and parks

From there you could see Diamond Head
And for miles on trade-wind days
a sea of smooth sapphire
Our house was named Nu'umealani
the heavenly terrace, because it floated over paradise
with plumeria-scented air
a charming place with pink-cheeked children
rolling like chubby ohi'a'ai down manicured slopes

Do you recall
at night, how the lights silhouetted
green geckoes munching pale-winged termites
our lanai under which
the summer glow spilled down the hill like a suicidal angel

our breath became steam spiriting the sky
sated, we huddled together on that apron of emerald lawn
and tried not to touch those spindly horses
our legs, minds, hearts tangled—
our hair, nests of leaves and poky twigs

but elsewhere in our homeland, fracking and—
black gold flowed like a filthy-rich river
into deep pockets bursting with sin
and here, our fertile valleys swollen with sprawl, and yet
Homeless pile in the parks and streets
rents out of reach
the wide divide
humanity pushed from place to place
like so much genetic dust in front of a political broom

How life is stacked
like chips at a casino far, far away,
now laughter, now bullets, now bright lights—
the show must go on
and what happens in that city
does not stay in that city.

It’s everywhere—
Columbine, Colorado
Orlando, Florida
Sandy Hook, New Jersey

To name just a few

From our balcony we watched the green flash
and Waikiki fireworks
our blinds, they quivered and fell with every breath
glistening silver and ebony opihi
relentless crowds of tourists ambling toward the waves
And one evening everything was ablaze,
one evening people were slaughtered like cattle
screaming in terror as they fled
fire fell like hot rain from the sky
and then it was silent
but not really silent, no
there was sobbing and sirens
and confusion
and so much blood.

We fear ISIS and thugs with grills
along with burka-wearing women mumbling foreign prayers
that no one will hurt them and their children
while all our children’s blood soaks the streets
like it’s nothing, so simple
it happens every damn day.

Demons that demons would detest,
curses regurgitated as prayers
as we bite our lips
until we bleed
Snakes that the snakes would hate
we are the snake, we are the serpent
hate is a karmic circle that returns to us
we reap what we sow

Others—we see their fear
they see ours, too, and so—
eye to eye becomes
an eye for an eye
guns, guns
more guns
because guns don’t kill people
people kill people
but people do kill people
and isn’t that the point?

The American answer is always
to swagger and blast our way to safety
to bluster where we should be silent
to shield our pride, with a slippery trigger finger
rather than truly protect all that we hold precious
all that is only on loan to us

Perfidious politicians
see our dying house
our country on life support
hate, ignorance, and fear flowing like venom
rather than compassion blossoming from tolerance,
from every corner of our land
our country emerges a little less free
and from each murdered innocent
their blood soaks into the ground
and becomes seeds that will one day
be a tree with poison apples
and with every act more venom flows
into our rivers, our lakes

And you may ask yourself
why doesn’t she speak
of hope and peace and rainbows
and the once mighty volcanoes of her adopted land?
Look at the blood on our hands
as we pick that apple and take a bite
look at that water, glowing like lava
too toxic to drink
look long and hard—
© Sati Benes Chock

Friday, February 3, 2017

Interview by Claudia Quint

A huge thank you to Claudia Quint for interviewing the After the Happily Ever After contributors! 
Here is my interview: -sati-chock-tames-a-very-different-beast

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Candlesticks & Daggers Interview Series

Are you curious about what it is like to put together an anthology, or self publish? Want to know how other writers started writing, or how they've cracked certain markets? 

Please join me for the first in a series of interviews on Candlesticks & Daggers anthology contributors at publisher Kelly Ann Jacobson's blog:

Monday, December 19, 2016

After the Happily Ever After Anthology Available!

I've got a story in the After the Happily Ever After anthology by Transmundane Press:

The paperback version:

And, until the end of the year, a Kindle version is available for $6.99. Great value for a 536 page book!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Candlesticks and Daggers Anthology Available Now!

I'm delighted to announce that I have a new story, "Soon Night Will Press Upon You," being published in the Candlesticks and Daggers anthology which just became available on Amazon.

Lots of great stories to curl up with over the holidays!

Here is the blurb from the back of the book:

Candlesticks and Daggers is an anthology of short stories, poems, and personal essays that mix mystery stories with elements of other genres, including romance, science fiction, horror, fantasy, and more. Mystery solvers from Sherlock Holmes to the local cat lady must figure out not only whodunit, but cross time, space, and even reality in order to do so.

You can find the anthology here:

Friday, November 4, 2016

On Conquering Our Dragons

My guest post is up at the Transmundane Press blog. If you like fractured fairy tales, come check us out!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Fractured Fairy Tales

I'm thrilled to announce that a story of mine, "The Eye of the Beholder," was recently accepted into an anthology of fractured fairy tales entitled After the Happily Ever After.

But what the heck is a fractured fairy tale, you might ask?

Fractured fairy tales take traditional tales and either turn them upside down or change some of the elements significantly, so that you get an entirely different story. Humor is often an important part of the retelling. For example, The Three Little Pigs could be about greedy capitalist bankers confronting the Wolf of Wall Street, or Cinderella might become a man-- Cinderfella is a classic example of this. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves could be a woman who does animal rescue and is, herself, rescued by a litter of 7 puppies, or a sci fi tale about life on other planets (Well, ok, on second thought, either of those might be really weird. But you get the idea).

More info about fractured fairy tales:
Marilyn Kinsella's Fractured Thoughts

A wonderful source of traditional fairy tales:
Andrew Lang's Fairy Collection

Have you got any ideas for reframing a traditional fairy tale? Please share them in the comments!

Want to read some brand NEW fractured fairy tales? Get your fill by supporting our anthology! 70+ unusual tales of what happens when the traditional fairy tale recipe has some....substitutions:

Bonus: Here is a teaser for my short story. Which traditional fairy tale do you think inspired it?

Father has done something so, so foolish. He didn’t want to tell me, but I coaxed it out of him in the special way that only I can. He purloined a rose from a beastly lord for me and was caught. Now, either he must stay, or I must go as payment for his crime. Of course, I will go. I’d never do otherwise. But I confess that I am horrified at being handed over to a husband sight unseen, even if he does live in a castle. 

At least we won’t starve.