Post-birth my mother needed to bathe three times a day After each I was to blow-dry the rupture with cool air roving over her blue translucence We […]
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.
What must I say to speak to you, God? Hell awaits me, but what can I do, God? Fallacies and many men’s phalluses have occupied my mouth, but look at how many scriptures and quotes my mouth knew, God. On my hands and knees with an arched back taking in all of these […]
Was there always moss hanging from those trees? Did they purposefully hang themselves from the highest, sturdiest, most supportive branch? Did they make sure to leave enough room to let their underside dangle, waiting for passersby to touch them, free them, see them? The wind brings life to these stationary bodies. The […]
Elkhips leaning any way they want since up to the day of discovery, their word is pivot. There’s a reason bones are like books, and why you breathe your air and live in them. Or elk stomach as a church where charms help once blood ties to blood and genes go to […]
All the news is talking about the lack of surgical masks and ice cream trucks for the dead, how many grandfathers need help to breathe, but today, I can’t seem to stop wondering how oranges smell when they’re burning. For that, too, is something I’ve never known, having missed my one chance to walk a […]
Strangest of all was the knife, how gingerly she pushed it through the soft raw crust of the pie freshly-formed on the oven’s surface, preheat already rising in waves, her glance warning me not to touch— the same woman who decided, a week before my seventh birthday, to have me circumcised […]
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 […]
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 […]