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

Standing at The Mirror, The Author Writes A Poem for Himself in Which the Word Hate Is Replaced with The Word Forgive

& while I wait for my eyes to relearn open  I [forgive] myself      for the slow rise
the deep ache in the crane of my neck               from bowing down inside myself

I [forgive] the surrender the swollen knee the bruise on my rib  shape & shade
of an August sunrise    I [forgive] the fence I could swear was the horizon or at least

a way out     I [forgive] myself for imagining     a way out is a place I could visit
like a corner café   or ex-lover’s thigh I [forgive] myself for loving

those who have harmed me    for cooking them dinner & burning the rice    forgetting
to add pepper    or make myself a plate I [forgive] myself for staying I [forgive]

myself for staying      until I left my skin another blanket on the bed until the sound
of a door opening    turned each room into a reason to leave I counted each second

alone as a tiny victory      until I lost count   which is the only victory that matters
please let healing be not a season but the body that still belongs to me & every day

I remember to buy bread to hide the keys beneath the window succulent
or walk along the road dreaming of anything other than traffic      is a day I get closer

to a future made better by how I live through it I [forgive] myself for failing
today for falling back into bed & drawing the blinds give me time

I’ll get up I promise I know it doesn’t matter where I go every direction is forward
I just have to get there      I take a step & step naked into the shower the water

so cold I forget to breathe my body yearns to follow the pearls      falling through
the metal grate to become not quite a ghost but a shadow just out of frame I say no

I [forgive] I [forgive] myself      with my body right in front of me





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Body & Body Image

Mental Health

Poetic Form

Strength & Resilience

Literary Devices:


The repetition of similar vowel sounds that takes place in two or more words in proximity to each other within a line; usually refers to the repetition of internal vowel sounds in words that do not end the same.


a break between words within a metrical foot


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic


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