Dirty War Fought Clean

ramon jimenez

In the district of Palermo, Buenos Aires

I could feel European walking through cobbled stone streets

enjoying a crisp red wine with a spread of cold cuts

relishing on empanadas of red minced beef,

with shiny yolk tops and scorched up bottoms.


But could I enjoy my trip like the others?

Walking around in cargo shorts and fanny packs

taking selfies by the obelisk

loosing myself in the embers of the asado

while letting the sorrowful sounds of the tango

erase a dirty war fought clean.


The shanty towns of burgundy bricks and metal sheet roofs,

awaken memoires of Plaza Mayo.

Militant students and their renegade teachers on strike

only to be swept up at night

detained, bruised up and dumped live  

into the same sea that I splashed around in.


To be in South America,

drinking Fernet with fizzy coke

while sparking up flimsily rolled joints.

Only to be reminded of Savannah, Georgia

where generations of Argentine killers

were trained to beat down their own people

through doctrines of freedom and torture.

The pleasures and privileges of travel with a blue passport

quickly dissolved by the infamy of Operación Cóndor.






Roman Jimenez a writer and educator who resides in Seattle, WA. I teach language arts and I run a summer youth poetry program. He writes poetry that focuses on immigration, culture and travel. He is interested in exploring locations and how they connect to memories. His poems are published in Rigorous Magazine and the Anti-Languorous Project.