this sticky summer night is a beet stain – let me paint your skin & clear my schedule, sit in my room until you call me back. I imagine you struggling with a jar of marinara sauce in your kitchen – let me take it. here, I’m haunted by prayers before dinner & boyfriends […]
MAYDAY is excited about poetry that surprises us, that introduces images and ideas in new and strange ways. Poetry that isn’t afraid to break traditional forms, that is expansive and bold. We want poems that you’ve sweated over, poems that have achieved a balance of both craft and story so seamlessly that we cannot look away. Give us work that justifies its point of view. Give us a lyrical narrative that makes common language feel foreign/unique but remains coherent enough to transport readers to a new space. Let it be surreal; let it be uncomfortable; let it be gorgeous; let it be unforgettable. Send us the poems that consider the range, limitations, and influence of place, the poems that reveal and give voice to identities or perspectives born from the strange world we live in.
Some of our favorite poets are Maggie Nelson, Ruth Awad, Hanif Abdurraqib, Danez Smith, Jamaal May, and Nikky Finney. We enjoy found or erasure poems, visual poetry, linked poems, long poems, short poems, form poems, expansive poems.
We will reject poetry we perceive as degrading towards marginalized individuals or groups—including but not limited to: people of color, queer and trans people, people with disabilities, and others who have suffered systemic discrimination.
Across the dry creek bed, in drifts of silver snow, a frozen yearling doe reclines against the mountain slope. Her little legs splay spindle-straight, the memory of standing gone frost inside them. Though the snow below begins to thaw, I want to think her frozen, kept. A final resting place, as if any body rests, […]
Once, I carried all my thoughts in my head. Now they live on a flash drive or in a cloud. I am a turtle, I contain terabytes. Do not confuse me with the armadillo, which still requires human touch. Scientists say that our culture has become one of information on demand. This means our brains […]
In the photo on Facebook, Janine’s dead mom is wearing a t-shirt that says jeans! jeans! jeans! Her mom has been dead for eleven years, two years longer than I have known Janine. We tend to horrify polite company with our banter, her saying my dead mom and me saying, Oh, is your mom […]
It was done in an hour, and the aftermath was a red light sinking behind a line of bodies, nothing like a bread line or staying up all night to get the best seats. My cut was waiting in a box by the door while a man stood outside my window looking at the house […]
Peaches overflow the given bowl: a gift from two lovers no longer in love. One remarried a restaurant hostess. The other found new life in Connecticut. It’s cold for the first time this October. My coat fails my neck— I clutch its collar close and slip my fingers through the knit, […]
amidst my deadlines death circles closer / shifting from internet strangers to friends of friends / everyone is angry this week / the novelty of it all gone completely a thin impenetrable film of tension left behind / little things piss me off like why can’t I open a goddamn piece of […]
years of immersion have taught me: there is nothing more jewish than to commemorate great suffering in a new era of great suffering / eating globs of horseradish as ritual so there’s a new and exciting reason / to break down in tears why is this night different from all other […]
Most nights I don’t think of it, the blood on my teeth, my white dress, stained with soot and wet grass, how the mud hugged my feet like bedroom slippers. I hid in the bush until the storytellers found me. They enjoy the music of split-open things, stretched my skin into […]
I exhale fogged frost, trying to mimic the way smoke slid from your chapped lips. goosebumps rise like braille across my back. I look over my shoulder, as if you might have come back for me, as if we might be together once more— me; caught like a mouse between your arms, you; snapping your […]