Published on July 3rd, 2013 | by Julio Navarrete


“Cicatrices,” a poem

About the Author
Julio Navarrete - Head Shot1 Julio Navarrete was born in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico and migrated to the United States in 1992. Julio received a Bachelor of Arts in Radio, Television, Film and Theater from San Jose State University, and a Master of Arts in Education from the National Hispanic University. Navarrete is the Arts & Creativity Manager at Educators for Fair Consideration, a San Francisco non-profit organization providing holistic services to undocumented young people in the Bay Area.


Abuelito did not like to see me crawling
A baby boy should not be reduced 
To moving around the floor 
Como un perro
I must be carried
Carried in the arms 
Of my mother, my tías, or my grandmother

Arms that raised a generation
Cooking, cleaning, sewing and sowing
Sowing seeds of never-ending strength
In the innermost part of their children’s souls

Abuelito reminded everyone everywhere that I am a man
Un hombrecito
The firstborn grandson of the family
I should not cry
A man should show no emotion of pain or suffering
For my cries were weakness 
In his ears

A baby boy calling for attention
I should be given what I wanted, and what I wanted 
The mujeres in my family should already know
Carry me, feed me, change me
Abuelito would say 
For I should not cry

But for how long could the mujeres in my familia 
Keep this brown boy from crying?
For how long could they keep satisfying my every need 
To avoid disturbing abuelo’s views of masculinity? 

Mi tía 
Playing with a balloon
Does not see me crawling
My arms disappear from under my body
And my chin comes crashing down into the cement floor
That meets my face with blood and pain
I cry

Cry so loud that abuelito is awakened
Running toward her
Belt in hand
Ready to strike
The culprit of my pain

My mother screams
¡Fue un accidente!
The fire burning in his eyes

The first of many scars 
That adorn my body, mind and soul

Abuelito, I am a man
A man that cries
That feels and loves
A man that isn’t afraid to hug other men
Or tell his grandmother
Just how much he loves her

Abuelito, I’ve cried a million times
I cried when I got into college
I cry when I’m happy 
Or sad
Or when I laugh just a bit too hard
I cry during sad movies
I cried when that stupid guy broke my heart

I cry during sleepless nights 
When I can’t bear not being able to see my dad
When tío Jaime passed
I felt the tears would never stop
I cried the first time you came to visit
In this faraway land
Donde mil cicatrices me han marcado

I can’t explain the emotions I feel
When I feel
The warm embrace
Of your body 
Pressed tightly against mine
Your stubble
On my cheek
Your tears
Down your face

I can’t explain 
What I feel 
When I hear the sound of your voice 
Telling me how proud you are 
Of the man that I’ve become

About the Author

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  • Quote of the Day

    “One dies slowly who becomes a slave to habits, takes no chances, avoids passion, does not risk uncertainty . . . who quits before getting started, complains about bad luck, doesn’t travel or read or dream, does not trust, does not dare try, does not love . . . the opposite is to be alive.”

    - Pablo Neruda

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