Sergio Martinez

by JD Debris

It’s a long walk home from the arena,
through backend streets of outer Buenos Aires,
a chintzy, provincial championship belt
slung over his shoulder, rhinestones almost already
falling, with the bounce of his sneaker-soles, on cobblestone.

The belt’s almost gold, 2 blank ovals beneath an eagle,
& if he wants it engraved with his nickname (MARAVILLA),
weight class, date & site of vanquish, he’ll have to find
an engraver’s storefront yet to be boarded,
or take up sharpened steel & do it alone.

2001 & the peso’s almost worthless,
hyperinflated through decades of Juntas & Peronists,
Dirty War & spiraling deficit. & Sergio, winnings
still being sifted by promoters, can’t afford
the bus fare home. (This is what I spent
my 20s for? False gold & soreness…)

& on through streets where Guevarists gunned
down foreign businessmen, & where military police
once made leftists disappear, he shifts the belt
from shoulder
                          to shoulder & walks.


JD Debris writes poems, songs, and prose. He held the Goldwater Fellowship at NYU from 2018-20, where he completed his MFA; in 2020, his work was chosen by Ilya Kaminsky for Ploughshares‘ Emerging Writers Prize, and he was named to Narrative‘s 30 Below 30 list. His releases include the chapbook Sparring (Salem State University Press, 2018) and the music albums Black Market Organs (Simple Truth Records, 2017) and JD Debris Murder Club (forthcoming).

1 Comment

Filed under Poetry

One response to “Sergio Martinez

  1. Bonnie Billet

    Once lived in Buenos Aires, reminds me of my time there, Loved the poem

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