A Collection of Poetry About Machismo Mindset in the Latin Community: What is Machismo?, If I Have a Son, Celebrate

It is difficult to understand the differences in cultures and the expectations that they have. In the Latino community the idea of “machismo” is often a topic of conversation. What does it mean? How do you get it? Where did it come from? Am I an outcast if I just don’t have it? This collection focuses and in some instances refocuses our lens on the topic. In “What is Machismo?”we listen as a son has a conversation with his mother about the answer to this topic soon realizing that she worries that she didn’t teach him this important aspect of his life but he puts her at ease, he’s a great man and she did that. In “If I Have a Son”we listen to all of the amazing kinds of acceptance that a man will have for his son should he ever have one and finally in “Celebrate”a Latino man reflects on the things that in the eyes of his father, could make or break him having “Machismo.” From the constant reminders that he’s not manly enough to the beatings to toughen him up. He finally turns eighteen and is expecting his reward, his one big moment of manhood and the day comes and goes with nothing. He looks in front of his mirror and has to decide who he sees himself as.

Machismo Mindset in the Latin Community

  • My mother asked me the other day,

    “I listen to you and all of your friends talk about

    what this means and what that means. All these words I have

    never heard of, things that don’t have meaning for

    someone as old as me. So, I have one for you. What does machismo mean?”


    From the top rim of her glasses she glares down at me

    As if she is the math teacher

    From that one 80’s movie

    Where all of the kids are stupid

    But you love the teacher anyway because

    Let’s be honest she’s a bad ass. So, I, in my infinite wisdom

    Of manly Mexicano-ness stand up

    Look her straight in her beautiful eyes,

    I puff up my chest a few times like I’ve seen my dad do,

    Took a few big broad manly steps towards her like I saw a

    Guy do in a western and said,
    “Mama, I have no idea.”


    Textbooks of information swirl in her head

    Like the floating numbers in the clouds of

    Knowledge, which I had none of.

    “But tell me what you think hijo.”


    Time stands still

    I stand still

    Deciding if I should come up with another off the cuff

    Comedic performance

    As I clear my throat and ready myself for a short standup routine-

    I look at my mother.

    Her brown eyes full of streams of wells

    Turning into the bottom of a Niagara that I have no boat to

    Save her from…

    A shiver comes over my brown skin making

    The hairs on my arms stand

    And ready- set- go




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