Monday, July 20, 2020

Venezuela In A Poet's Heart. Chicano Hot Dog, Origins and Development.

A Rosary for Venezuela
Lisbeth Coiman

I am a radical atheist relearning to pray.
Kneeling to conjure devotion, I hold my motherland between the palms of my hands, to protect her against all evils. My words, the beads of the rosary slipping through my fingers.

First Sorrowful Mystery – Agony

Lord, put the right words in my mouth.
I am not a journalist, just a scribbler who feels her native land between her rib cage and her seventh vertebrae. Not a refugee nor asylum seeker. A first generation immigrant with a peculiar diction. My identity contained in the expired passport of a country that no longer exists.

Second Sorrowful Mystery – Washing of the Hands

Allow me Lord to reclaim the ownership for my people’s uprising, to validate the courage of twenty years of struggle against the impostor hiding behind an outdated ideology, acting like the emperor he claims to fight in his robinhood fiction.

Let me write of Bachelet washing her hands in the pool of the Secretariat Building.

Third Sorrowful Mystery – Crowning with Thorns

Lord hear my prayer. End the usurpation of power, give us an interim government, call for general elections, and allow the release of political prisoners. Sacred Auyantepui watches in silence while the guardians of Angel Falls bleed to death in the jungle.

Fourth Sorrowful Mystery – Via Crucis

Lord be the witness. From a palace on a hill, the caricature of a man executes his only job, make martyrs of those attempting to survive.

Fifth Sorrowful Mystery - Crucifixion

Peace medicine burns inside trucks at border crossings of hope and despair.

Litany – Mercy
May those who have eyes see, those who have faith pray, those who have art create awareness.
May the hungry be fed, the sick be healed, and the desperate be comforted.
May Maduro leave to avoid more bloodshed.
May a period of reconciliation follow.
May Venezuela be free.


I am a bilingual writer and adult educator living in Los Angeles. My work has appeared in La Bloga, Entropy  Acentos Review, Lady/Liberty/Lit, Hip Mama Magazine, Rabid Oaks, Cultural Weekly, la and elsewhere online, and recently in print in the Altadena Literary Review, and Accolades: A Women Who Submit Anthology. My self-publish debut book, I Asked the Blue Heron: A Memoir, (2017) explores the intersection between immigration and mental health.

On controversy and one's patria...via email 
"The truth it’s difficult to take a political stand without touching somebody else’s sensitivity. My point is I don’t believe in ideological dialectics, but in humanity. A dictator is a dictator whether it stands on the left or on the right.

But on social media, which seems to be a no man’s land without behavior rules, I have received vitriol from both sides: the communists supporting Maduro and the Trumpzuelans supporting Trump for fear of the communists, some in private messages insulting me really bad. I have both been accused of being a communist and a fascist. Some Venezuelans call me Chavista."

The Gluten-free Chicano Invents the Chicano Hot Dog.
Michael Sedano

10-year old Miguel de las Costillas decided he’d had enough school this week after a long Monday with the awful teacher and the Times tables. "You have to wait for someone to catch up so just sit there," she commanded.

On Tuesday, February 2, 1956, Miguel opened the refrigerator and surveyed his prospects. The freezer compartment had Camp Steaks, breaded pork cutlets, and best of all, crispy breaded abalone steaks. For Tuesday lunch, Miguel fried one Camp Steak using two of the four pats of butter frozen to the top. Wednesday, Miguel fried one of the pork cutlets. He ate it with catsup. Thursday was his best day. Abalone.

Frozen abalone steaks in the waxy box fried up crisp and delicious. Miguel cooked all six wafer-thin steaks, doused them with juice from a lemon and salted the hell out of them. Miguel tilted the empty plate to his lips and let the salty lemon juice and abalone crusts slide into his mouth.

“Hooray for Hollywood,” Miguel sang along to the opening words of the Dorothy and Dick Show on channel 5. Irritated by Sheriff John's Bosco cartoons--no one saws logs to make sandwiches of nails and wood, then chews with their mouth open--the 4th grader's mood changed with the music.  Miguel relaxed singing the words he knew, “where any office boy or young mechanic, can be a panic, with just a good-looking something or other." The boy looked forward to lunch and today's movie.

Miguel didn’t panic when he looked into the freezer. Empty. The cold part had corn tortillas from Tommy’s market, machine-made instead of las de mano from Quatro Milpas in Berdoo, where little abuelita made tortillas for as long as Miguel could remember. There was mantequilla. Miguel was not that desperate. The only tortilla-with-butter worth eating was his mother’s hand-made tortilla de harina, or his gramma’s from the wood-burning stove. Miguel found weenies.

Miguel de las Costillas regretted his Thursday lunch. Fish was for Friday, but today he has only weenies for lunch. And tortillas. De maíz. Miguel fell into reverie.

The ancient Purépecha woman looked into her cocina and found only tortillas and meat. How will she feed her familia with only these ingredients? Miguel understood.

Automatic hands strike the blue tip match on the burner which springs into bright blue yellow flames. Reflexive hands slide the crusted black cast iron sartén over the flames. He pulls a single tortilla from the pink butcher paper and refolds the bundle. When the tortilla grows soft and flexible, the boy rolls the tortilla around the weenie. A dab of mustard and it's ready to eat. Not yet.

He gouges a tablespoon of lard from the red box and lets it melt across the bottom of the frying pan. Smoke starts to rise from the hot oil. Two fingers place the Chicano Hot Dog into the pan. The boy has patience and allows the aroma of toasted corn to join with the hot lard smell. He pushes the rolled weenie. Gravity lets the offround roll settle comfortably where it toasts in place. A third rollover and the Chicano Hot Dog has crisped all around and needs to cool.

Ten-year-old Miguel de las Costillas dipped the steaming Chicano Hot Dog directly into the squat jar of yellow mustard. He burned his tongue on the first bite, juggled the morsel on his tongue to cool. He burned his tongue on the second bite, too. And the third. The fourth bite was just right. The last bite left mustard on his fingers and Miguel de las Costillas licked them clean. 

On teevee, Wallace Beery was an ugly sloppy Pancho Villa. Miguel de las Costillas hoped the movies would be better next week.

The Gluten-free Chicano Hot Dog*

One kosher all-beef weenie
One good quality machine-made tortilla de maíz
Non-stick spray
Peanut oil/vegetable oil

Soften the tortilla in the pan, just a spritz of non-stick spray. 

A fast method is wrap the tort in a cloth towel and microwave 6 seconds. This works for bulk, too, when making enchiladas.

Wrap the weenie in the tortilla.
Set the roll on its flap on a plate.

Heat ¼" or more oil in the heavy frying pan. Let the oil smoke.
Place the roll flap down in the hot oil. Use a finger or fork or tongs to hold it for a few seconds to "set" the shape.
Roll and cook to brown crispiness.
Roll and cook to brown crispiness.
Serve with white and yellow cheese, pico pica or El Pato hot sauce, a dab of mustard for that All-American touch.

Garnish with pickles, fritos or potato chips optional.
Water or cold leche.

*Any dish cooked by a Chicano for that Chicano's consumption is Chicano Food. The Chicano Baloney Sandwich, for example, differs little from the Okie or Anglo Bologna Sandwich. The Chicano Hot Dog has a little less controversy to its status, what with the crisped tortilla and its origins now revealed, innovated by an habitual truant.

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