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 […]
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 a shitty life. Papa says. And lifts himself, crooked, like the balloons we set free after the celebration. We scrawled messages, crude tattoos on their bodies. Bibi tells me they will reach my mother and brother, orders me to watch carefully else we should lose them in the fog. They don’t visit me in […]
Outside is the rain half the world waits for as much as we hate it at times; it gives us whatever we can gather from the energy that is frozen and makes up the world I swore I’d never live in. But like everything else it passes on its way to teaching me which way […]
It’s getting worse than I thought it would, as I fade into the old man with the cane and bedroom slippers. This one is stuck in the history he can’t let go, while trying to clear the streets in the city he’s still lost in. I’ve spent my life imagining the next city or the […]
resting on concrete on a plank of wood an old woman counts herself lucky * absurdities manifest themselves a boy runs naked up the street a heron plucks white feathers from its plumage weather vanes spin erratically * time is a wooden god is the gull shit on its head is lichen creeping time […]
Thousands of days turning the engine, striking a match, backing the old Mercury out of the driveway. Thousands of errands to the grocery store, the post office, with the window cracked open, heater rattling, winter’s chill rushing in. My mother cradles a cigarette between her fingers, taps ash into the street with her […]
When he takes the other woman to bed, does he think of his wife? Her goodness trailing soot, eyes ringed and fringed in black? She stays up all night, clips coupons from old letters, unlicks the envelopes. They are weathered and damp. A waste of postage. Shoes untie themselves in his absence. […]
I’m in Orlando, the magic kingdom of every thing. Magic tricks God out of taking what can’t be remembered As boredom’s least expected twin sister. Please read While listening to Madame Gahndi’s “Yellow Sea.” The magician reveals a piece of you, you didn’t know was there. One of the most beautiful tricks of fall? […]
If you are not in a hurry I will make a pot of coffee too. The riptides pull at the coast speaking in the tongues Oceans speak. The gulls rip their way through the lift And account for the folk sitting inside their Toyotas, V.W.s, Chevrolets, in the lot at the corner of x […]
Somehow the sapling bears it. Bears it and beautiful. Doubled over with its load of fresh snow. All things being in its favor today— velocity of the wind, water content of the flakes— today’s storm will not break it. But how close to the edge, the snap, the crack? What […]