Brandon Melendez


Brandon Melendez is a Mexican-American poet from California. He is the author of home/land (Write Bloody 2019). He is a National Poetry Slam finalist and two-time Berkeley Grand Slam Champion. He was awarded 'Best Poem' at the collegiate national poetry competition (CUPSI). His poems are in or forthcoming in Ninth Letter, Muzzle Magazine, the minnesota review, Sixth Finch, and elsewhere. He currently lives in Boston & is an MFA candidate at Emerson College. Source

I Feel Most Like Myself With Painted Nails

Rouge sunset battered

atop each finger


a small galaxy

of comet & solar flare,


I am a god

of these two hands


& today let there be

unapologetic light.


Let there be an origin

story that is not bruised


fruit lodged in the throat

like a knife with no hilt.


When someone says

man [     ] up, they mean


what breathing thing

have you made


into a wound? What wounds

have you worn as trophy?


I try to name

a masculinity


that is not a wolf

masked in the body


of a wolf

& I end up howling


at the white fist pressed

into the night’s soft cheek.


I’m sorry I’m not

sorry I undressed


myself of knuckles today.

I imagined a universe


not dipped in blood

& made myself drip


with starlight.

I walked out


the front door

& marveled


at the way everything I touch







Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Body & Body Image

Literary Devices:


an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference


the attribution of human characteristics or behavior to a god, animal, or object


a person or thing that is the direct opposite of someone or something else


two lines of verse, usually in the same meter and joined by rhyme, that form a unit

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”