Redefining north.

Shouts to Scene Kids by Brandon Melendez

Shouts to Scene Kids by Brandon Melendez


Associate poetry editor Kenley Alligood on today’s bonus poem: Brandon Melendez's poem is for everyone with a patch-covered jacket in the back of their closet and boxes of homemade CDs from punk bands who never got famous.  "Shouts to Scene Kids" moves beyond stereotype and the hallmarks of teen angst to capture something deeper. It dives into the personal and the painful, emerging clutching a glimmer of hope.

Shouts to Scene Kids

& the early days of Myspace, pic4pic
& perfect angled photos, eyeliner  

we applied on the morning bus
with no mirror. buccaneers  

of the black band-tee, black
nail polish, black hair bleached & dyed

back. shouts to Hot Topic, sanctuary
of all things goth & ghost. home

to every goat headed boy in a goat
headed costume. Jack Skellington sang

this is Halloween & October didn’t end
instead we dressed drop-dead gorgeous

all year. ripped our fishnet gloves & gauged
our ears, laced our boots for the show. shouts

to every garage turned punk rock turned
moshpit, spinkick, windmill, spit lobbed  

in the air like dislodged teeth. We kids
of tusk & antler, animals of strange

rage & a particular brand of sadness.
shouts to sadness as a fucking brand.

a badge, a band where every member
is someone you hope makes it through

high school. first period junior year
I remember alex saying she wanted to die 

& I laughed & she laughed
but she left lunch in an ambulance

with sixty pills thawing in her stomach.
for four days no one played a single song.

when she finally came back to school
she wore her favorite black jacket

the one with patch of a girl pulling
herself out of a pond by her own hair.

I didn't know what to ask so I asked
are you okay & she said yeah.

she said I outlived who I was yesterday
like if you live long enough to forgive

yourself you’ve won the game. & shouts
to that. shouts to survival—a mirror 

that looks the most gorgeous
clad in black.

Brandon Melendez is a Mexican-American poet from California. He is the author of Gold That Frames The Mirror (Write Bloody 2019). A recipient of the the 2018 Djanikian Scholarship from The Adroit Journal, and the 2018 Academy of American Poets Award, his poems can be found in Black Warrior Review, Muzzle Magazine, Ninth Letter, PANK, Shenandoah, and elsewhere. He currently lives in Boston and is an MFA candidate at Emerson College.

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