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

In Defense of Hella

Praise this relic of an endless California

summer housed in my throat.

How it spills over like a fist


full of gold coins & refuses to apologize

for its excess. When I say hella

I mean I dipped my feet


in the San Francisco Bay

& watched a mountain

of doubloons rise up


& glitter around my waist. Hella

is how I measure Telegraph

Avenue from Fox Theater


to the empty lot on Haste–

the one with the word stolen

graffitied over a sunset.


Hella redwoods outlived

Columbus & Cortés

& hella people buried beneath


the roots did not. Hella

is the count of ancestors

who blossom across California


& Mexico & how many cities

have been built

from their bones. Hella is each


new brick & cobblestone street

I am not native to

but still call home. I know it’s better


I left for Boston, for somewhere

that snows. Here–I can walk

through a cemetery & only notice


the flowers. I am tired of mourning

ancient thievery & there is enough

displacement happening


without me collecting avenues

to fill my pockets.

When I say hella I mean here


are all the people I carry with me

made of gold. 





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Poems of the Everyday

Pop Culture

Literary Devices:


a line break interrupting the middle of a phrase which continues on to the next line


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic


a recurrence of the same word or phrase two or more times