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 […]
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.
1 We rented dentist chairs & got possessed. Listening to paratroopers suffocate, I was like a guesthouse swelling with performance artists, the skinny cigarettes, abyssal bathwater. Now I’m snarling in gyms, at Xerox servants. The secret to a super PAC: get a bigger ghost, hurl bourbon into an abyss. The campaign needed baubles, so we […]
They sold at auction Wilde’s cellblock key, the one for C wing in Reading Gaol— Wilde’s name was his cell number: C.3.3. Wilde was convicted of “gross indecency,” got two years hard labor and the treadwheel— they got £15,000 for Wilde’s cellblock key. Wilde and (his lover), Lord Alfred Douglas (“Bosie”), would pick up “rent […]
Barren wheat-fields are quite exquisite in winter— just one clear night the wind slants the snow to smooth blue—another morning rises. Clipped long to disused skis, I carve rickety tracks, like fontanelles, over and across subnivean layers where lower-animals—a mouse, a vole— can only survive and not deliciously live such a winter as this. […]
Nearing affective death, imagination builds, like Lantern’s ring, two grappling hooks. It fires one to the past’s islands of misfit toys, where joshua was winged king leonine. Fires the other to a future where atoms still dream of collisions to lift spray of waterfalls on new islands, new misfit configurations. […]
You do not have to choose. At least not in any ultimate way. If I unpack the poisonous black seeds wine, menthols humming in their tray in the dark it has grown late. If we are sitting at a kitchen table waiting, talking our one life deeper into evening. If we broadcast […]
The day Challenger launched, we watched CNN from the bar at Canaveral Pier. Mist rose from icy water. Tourists sipped Piña Coladas with pineapple and paper flags. Giddy voices chanted time in reverse: Twenty-one seconds till liftoff. Or—Did the announcer say we’re down to twelve? My husband’s lips turned blue in the uncertain morning light. […]
Her drawn on eyebrows will stay put with setting powder until the blaze crawls up her body. She had drawn herself with flames at her feet in her sketchbook many times. She first knew danger as a child. She wore it like a stolen dress. Precocious children are often alone. Margaret […]
Women with platinum blonde hair, cream colored sweaters, light tan pants, lie on beds with white sheets, no blankets. Brunettes wear thong bikinis, have their nails done, do handstands. The redheads are slim with large breasts. 1 in 4 people are vacationing in Bali. It’s been five years. You overslept again. Style an overhead […]
I guess there is ecstasy here. The rhythmic hammers echoing through slick marble and tall ceilings. The song of men thumping their feet all the way up. On the rooftop garden, a fire once blackened and charred. My God, how did they ever get out. If I cup my hands over my ears, curl into […]