The Acentos Review May 2012
Corey Don Mingura completed his MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Central Oklahoma in May 2011. His works of fiction, poetry, and poetry analysis have appeared or are forthcoming in Westview, The Simms Review, The Writing Disorder, Red Lightbulbs and The Scissortale Review. His short story “Consuela’s Best” appeared in the June 2010 issue of The Acentos Review. He currently serves as the associate poetry editor for Arcadia. Mingura is a Mexican-American native of Hollis, Oklahoma.
3 Poems

Octopus Tacos

Helping my grandmother buy groceries,
we head to the ethnic section.
I load her cart with canned beans and chiles
and before we leave the aisle, she sees the sign
and asks,“ What is Kosher?”
“It’s Jewish food,” I say.
She clutches her crucifix
and points to the gefilte fish. 

“Read me what’s in there,” she says.
I do.
“Carp, pike, mullet, matzoh meal.”

“¡Ay Dios Mio!” she says.
“They took the nastiest fish
you can imagine, and mashed them
together with eggs and flour.”

She sighs. “That’s what happens
when you don’t believe in Jesus, mijo. 

You eat crazy shit.”

Later I go with her to the 
Mexican meat market
and see food with Christ’s blessing:
Pig heads, cow tongues, entrails, eyeballs.
Grandma grasps two hooves and says
“These would make a nice soup for Sunday
after church.” 

In the seafood corner,
I wonder what a man 
of Israel would think
if he walked in and
saw the dead octopus
behind the butcher’s glass,

purple suction cup
legs dangling out of 
A folded corn tortilla. 


You look like someone familiar,
Someone famous, if he were Japanese.
A Japanese John Lennon. 

But I am not Japanese.
I am a Mexican.

But isn’t your last name Mingura?
That doesn’t sound Mexican!
Let me think.
Maybe it’s short for Migurasfki.
It sounds likes it’s Slovakian
Or Russian perhaps,
Or even from the Czech Republic,
But not Mexican.

I assure you I’m a Mexican.

But your accent! 
What does it sound like?


No, no, no, Corey Don!
It sounds like it comes from somewhere else.


No, no, no.
It’s nothing Hispanic!
Your accent sounds like 
It’s possibly Polish,
Austrian or German.
But nothing Hispanic!

I’m positive I’m
A Mexican.

To My Chicanohood

They say you taste 
Like Rice and Beans.
You do. 
But that’s just one of
Your beautiful attributes.

You are a keg at a
Kindergarten Graduation party,
The five sticks of incense choking 
My grandfather,
The Virgin Mary and Jesus 
Air Fresheners.

One of your houses
Is the only place to see
A cow skull hanging next
To a crucifix or a picture of 
Saint Jude. Your decorative 
Taste is impeccable.

But all is not well with you.

I’ve seen the best minds 
Of my ethnic nation 
Destroyed by lard.
But the soup in the fridge
Remains congealed.

And at four, I hated you.
I cried when my mother told
Me I wasn’t white. 

Screamed, “Mommy, I don’t 
Wanna be a dirty Mexican!

But at ten, I adored you,
Filling myself with sheets
Of fried pork skins,
Begging my mother 
To broil another batch 
Of intestines and beef cheeks.

But still you and my peers
Called me a coconut—
Brown on the outside
White on the inside—
Because of the As
Smothering my report card.

But still I persevered
Into my adult years,
Frequenting the Ranchero 
Dance halls, drinking tequila,
Getting dead drunk, and
Sliding my feet all night until 
You finally accepted me.