Archives for category: May Poetry


The lovely month of May is here! While many (or most!) of us are sheltering in place and missing many of spring’s delights, we hope to offer a remedy — a FREE KINDLE version of our May Poetry Anthology (available from 5/1-5/5/2020). Originally issued in a full-color paperback version in 2014, this 84-page collection features 31 poems about May in its many forms, along with thirty-one full-color paintings by Gustav Klimt.

BACKGROUND: The May Anthology is a response to our previous call for submissions requesting poems where the word “may” appears in the text. In the collection, many of the poems speak of May-related subjects  — flowers, birds, and spring  — while others range in topics from dark to light, with the word “may” buried somewhere in the text. Some of the poems display sly humor — and more than one poet has fun with the word “mayhem.” The collection also features four erasure poems and one found poem.

It’s always fascinating to see the type of material that evolves from a random starting point — and the word “may” has the kind of ambiguity that sparks the creative mind to action. It’s a noun (a woman’s name, a month of the year) and a verb (“expressing possibility or opportunity”). It’s part of other words (Mayflower, mayor, mayonnaise, Mayan). Scramble the letters and it spells Amy. Read it backwards, and it’s yam. Yes, May is meaningful, versatile, mysterious, and fascinating. And it has its very own collection of 31 poems — one for each day of the month!

Featured poets (in alphabetical order): Thom Amundsen, Brinda Buljore, Joan L. Cannon, Mary-Marcia Casoly, Allison Chaney, Subhankar Das, Daniel Patrick Delaney, Deborah DuBois, Paul Fericano, Adelle Foley, Jack Foley, Philip Gordon, Benjamin Grossman, Donna Hilbert, Clara Hsu, Mathias Jansson, J.I. Kleinberg, Roz Levine, Tamara Madison, Karen Massey, Catfish McDaris, Victoria McGrath, Marcia Meara, Paul Nebenzahl, Gerald Nicosia, D.A. Pratt, Hayley Rickaby, Disha Dinesh Sahni, Joan Jobe Smith, Caitlin Stern, Jacque Stukowski.

Find your FREE Kindle version at (You don’t need a Kindle to read the book — if you have an Amazon account, you can view it on your computer.) 

Happy spring!

by Mary-Marcia Casoly

Mother, may I sleep with danger?
To be sure, you shortchange me at every chance!
Mother, may I grow parlance with flowers?
Not until the full moon umbrella steps on parsley.
Mother, may I kiss every knot of the wild?
You’ll come to make the very trees crabwalk and commit to arson.
Mother, is your whim for your seven daughters always so impartial?
No arousal is ever without risk.
Mother, may I be with child?
When you’ve trusted your own thin larceny, and not before opening
and shutting the Book nineteen times, jumping forward with feet apart,
then again, bringing your feet back together.

Mother, may I swim the ocean in order to find love?
You must wait an hour after eating before taking to water and
you must lamppost: lie face down and stretch arms forward, bring your feet
to that point reached by your fingertips.
Mother I have spoken in tongues!
For naught, you did not ask!  Walk backwards this very minute, return to
the starting line.

Daughters you will age me before my month is due.
Mother may I sing your song of mayhem: I love him. I love him, he is my frog.
Mother, may I may I may I may I may I may I —— eye May?
Son, wherever did you come from?

IMAGE: “Madame Meerson and Her Daughter,” pastel drawing by Mary Cassatt (1899).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “The Song of Mayhem” came from memories of the schoolyard, the children’s game: Mother May I. The movie title Mother, May I Sleep with Danger (1996) spurred along a sense of It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature and the Seven May Sisters.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary-Marcia Casoly is the author of Run to Tenderness (Pantograph & Goldfish Press 2002) and the editor of Fresh Hot Bread, a local zine of Waverley Writers — an open poetry forum based in the San Francisco Bay area. Her chapbook Lost Pages of Bird Lore was published by Small Change Series, Word Temple Press (2011) Her chapbook Australia Dreaming is included in the The Ahadada Reader 3, published by Ahadada Press (2010).

by Hayley Rickaby

Many a man had died that day
For a woman who had deceived them all
Helen of Tory the savage beauty Queen
Leaving a sea of blood in her wake
As many a man laid slaughtered on the battlefields

Many a sacrifice to the gods were made
Of sheep, goats and lams
Though nothing could stop the
Death that was all done in Helen’s name

So drink your wine
And sharpen your spear
Hope that Hades may be merciful
To all the Men who lost their lives
To a lady that is so fair and fine

PAINTING: “Helen of Troy” by Dante Gabriel Rosetti (1863)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Hayley Rickaby will attend her fourth year in the Bachelor of Arts Creative Writing program at Vancouver Island University. She also plans to earn her Human Services Certificate in the School and Community Support Worker program. Her short fiction piece “A Walk in the Park,” along with a book review of Stuart MacLean’s Revenge of the Vinyl Cafe was published in the 2014 edition of VIU’s literary magazine Portal. In 2014, she was also Fundraising and Events Coordinator for Portal magazine.

by Deborah DuBois

friends I’ve just met
or known a lifetime
or two, maybe a day
sad, confused, longing
for what, no idea
maybe no jazzy blue
I reach out to clinch
the emptiness
and hear the echo
fading back
they’re falling fast
blinded by the past
but I see it, I do
here, take this hand
it’s not strong
but sincere
I won’t let you slip
urgently unflagging
a steady please
they wave instead
smile it away
joyride on pride
in a headlong slide
clamber and climb
scraping the sky
they can do it
they and their shadow
just gloom in the dusk
waveless and still
me and my hope
may be unwanted
not unneeded
will still be here
in spite of
the inevitable

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Deborah DuBois is a writer from Washington who lives outside Seattle in the most glorious green mountains ever created. She has published one novel — Your Time Is Over — and has the prequel and the sequel in production, where she’s used her poetry as chapter prefaces. She has strong beliefs in God, and most of her poetry reflects this. On her blog, she’s published poetry and stories, where most are a reflection of her life and experiences. The blog also showcases the stained glass that she creates in the true antique fashion.

PAINTING: “The Starry Night” by Vincent van Gogh (1889)

by Donna Hilbert

The stir of the curtain
past my face as I sleep:
my mother imagines dancing.

A turquoise goose
and a white goose
visit me in a dream.
The goose of marvelous blue
coaxes my ear with his bill.
Because I can’t follow
this magnificent bird,
I allow him to follow me.

The child is taking a bath.
Her mother is on the bathroom floor, crying.
Her father leans on the doorjamb.
He smells of old sweat and mown grass.

Mrs. West, who looks
under the bed and inside the closet
for witches; Agnes, who pulls her hair
and scratches her; and a fat girl
who her grandmother says is
as lazy as the day is long.

The stir of the curtain
past my face as I sleep:
the cellar, the math room,
little Kathy Fiscus in the well.

Hibiscus, bougainvillea, tulips, iris.
She favors the blue hibiscus
for its ranginess and sensual control.

Some days he drinks iced tea
from thick jelly glasses.
Other days, beer from tin cans
he can crush with one hand.

On warm afternoons
the child makes mud babies
then lines them in neat rows to dry.

The stir of the curtain
past my face as I sleep:
I’m going to find me a hole,
crawl in
and let the dirt fall
in after me.

All the spring bulbs had come up.
The child and her grandmother May
make a May basket for the mother
whose husband has gone.

Beautiful girl,
don’t cry.
You’ll soon grow
just what you need.

The child sits on the blue divan
eating her father’s cigarettes.
Her mother says her eyes are blue.
Her grandmother says they’re hazel.
Her father sings
beautiful, beautiful brown eyes.

My mother imagines dancing
dreams of flying
longs to grow fat
under tropical flowers.

She walks the three blocks
to her grandmother’s house,
avoiding the cracks,
avoiding the horny toads.
She helps her grandmother feed
the chickens and geese
and water the flowers.
How does your garden grow?

May basket, May day,
a prayer that her father
will stay away.

The stir of the curtain
past my face as I sleep:
poor Kathy Fiscus
a bedroom of witches
pretty little maids in a row
From this deep well I am pulling
a woman.

IMAGE: “Wild Geese,” stencil by Henny Donovan available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Donna Hilbert’s latest book, The Congress of Luminous Bodies, is availble from Aortic Books or at The Green Season (World Parade Books), a collection of poems, stories, and essays, is now available in an expanded second edition. Donna appears in and her poetry is the text of the documentary Grief Becomes Me: A Love Story, a Christine Fugate film. Earlier books include Mansions and Deep Red from Event Horizon, Transforming Matter and Traveler in Paradise from Pearl Editions, and the short story collection Women Who Make Money and the Men Who Love Them from Staple First Editions (published in England). Poems in Italian can be found in Bloc notes 59 and in French in La page blanche, in both cases translated by Mariacristina Natalia Bertoli. New work is in recent or forthcoming issues of 5AM, Nerve Cowboy, RC Muse, Serving House Journal, Pearl, California Quarterly, and Poets & Artists.Her work is widely anthologized, most recently in The Widows’ Handbook, Kent State University Press. Learn more at

by Tamara Madison

There you are at last!
I’m sure it’s you –
I can almost see you
there, waving at me:
my twin, my soul mate
my lover. Now
I can give up my search.
It’s only a matter of time
when we’ll be together
my love, my perfect
love. At last
someone who sees me
who knows me
who understands me
without words,
someone whom I too
will see and understand –
someone I can devote
my life to.
It will not matter
that our arms
may not match
that our bodies
may not fit
that we have no
common language
but the language
of desire
pulsing from your heart
to mine
over the mere 600 light years
that lie in the vast
and hopeful darkness
between your balmy
juicy world
and mine.

IMAGE: Artist’s conception of Kepler-22b (Credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech).

NOTE: Kepler-22b is an extrasolar planet orbiting G-type star Kepler-22, located about 600 light years from Earth in the constellation of Cygnus. Discovered by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope in 2011, it is the first known transiting planet to orbit within the habitable zone of a Sun-like star — the region where liquid water, a requirement for life on Earth, could persist. The planet is 2.4 times the size of Earth. (Read more at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tamara Madison teaches English and French at a public high school in Los Angeles. Raised on a citrus farm in the California desert, Tamara’s life has taken her many places, including Europe and the former Soviet Union, where she spent fifteen months in the 1970s. A swimmer and dog lover, Tamara says, “All I ever wanted to do with my life was write, and I mostly write poetry because it suits my lifestyle; I like the way one can say so much in the economical space of a poem.”

Flavours of May
by Brinda Buljore

blending textures of
seasoning sunshine
together with winter hues
tall filaments become
seeds of luck and
petals of fate
kneading the dough
of fright and faith
into malleable stars
substance thin
like muslin yet
resistant as silk
May morning brings
stamina and vigour
rolling down the stairs
bridging the taste
within the flavours of life
to the pestle of destiny

ABOUT THE POET/PHOTOGRAPHER: Brinda Buljore is a writer and artist who lives in Paris.

PHOTO: “Muguet, French Moments” by Brinda Buljore, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

NOTE: King Charles IX of France received lily of the valley (muguet) flowers as a lucky charm on May 1, 1561. He liked the gift and decided to present the flowers — known for their delightful scent — to the ladies of his court each year on May 1. Around 1900, men started to bring their sweethearts bouquets of lily of the valley flowers as a symbol of springtime. On April 23, 1919, the eight-hour working day was officially introduced in France, and May 1 became a public holiday. May Day was not observed during World War II, but again became a public holiday in 1947. May 1 officially became known as La Fête du Travail (Labor Day) on April 29, 1948. In France, May 1st remains an occasion to present lily of the valley flowers to loved ones.

by Disha Dinesh Sahni

For my eyes were bright
And the Sun blinked away
While, it was May.
My blue cloak was busy painting the sky,
The green mantle shading the grass.

For my eyes were still
And the trees went away.
While, it was May
My cheeks were blushing the apple red
My heart filling the semblance with love

For my eyes were raining
And the world rejuvenated away.
While, it was May
My tears dewed the grass
Tenebrous tresses embroiling with the empyrean

For my eyes were opened
And the night henced away!
While, it was May!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Disha Dinesh Sahni is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial and Production Engineering from Jabalpur Engineering College in India. Currently a poetess at Keynotes Poets and writers, Sacramento, California, she is an author at Creative Talents Unleashed.

PAINTING: “The Maypole” by Peter Miller. Prints available at Read more about the maypole at

by Paul Nebenzahl

(Forth from pen the plan unfolds
I am mapping the light fantastic, the
End of April teasing me with cool
Nights and teary-eyed dream-pen days
Calming out air-traveling thoughts + a dew-stalking lens)

May’s start

Running to Vienna down
Streets transferred buck to sole
And into the yellow fields, a black cloth over hidden murder camps
Listening to the Gypsy wind, standing with
Fired clay in pockets, with hands outstretched

by May mid month

I’m moving east packing enchanted boxes my fingers tapping
Head laying astride up old Hudson River, water flowing south
Jimmied out Nyack across the water steady rocking
Our light travels water west to Edward Hopper’s house
Gifting ‘round our world Rex-ly miracle color-y eyes

I Hope May

To plant two gardens, to elongate splashed flair hues @ waterside Sleepy Hollow
+ Plant in Asheville, North Carolina what needs my hands, there
Where the road to nowhere
Has never been more determined
To end up somewhere

As May ends

All my dreams will come true and still where is the vanished, vanquished plane?
June will unfold we’ll be looking ‘neath ocean for that plane on the floor, then
I will be the water thundering the rocking boats under your willows
Whistling up the ever windy ‘long craggy Palisades aft fore
That comes my pretty penny way


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Nebenzahl is a writer, musician, and painter who lives in Evanston, Illinois, and Sleepy Hollow, New York. As a performing multi-instrumentalist, and composer, Paul has created works for film and television, and has performed extensively in theater, stage, and club settings. In 2012, Paul’s poem “Gusen Station” was published in English, Italian and German by the International Committee for Mauthausen and Gusen. His poem “Charles Bukowski” appears in the Silver Birch Press Bukowski Anthology (2013) and “Here’s to the Singer of Songs” is featured in the Silver Birch Press Summer Anthology (2013). He is the author of Black Shroud with Rainbow Fringes: Poems 2010-2013 (Silver Birch Press, 2014), available at

by Mathias Jansson

Write a book
First live, then write
Fulfill your mission
Immortalize your name
I will!
Now for the way
First a hopeful race
Wear spectacles
Lineal aerial architecture
An hour’s conversation
Set the enthusiasm
Fill the pod of futurity

SOURCE: “Advice to a young writer” by Mathias Jansson is based on page 1 of Civil War Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott. Find the book online at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mathias Jansson is a Swedish art critic and poet. He has been published in both Swedish and English speaking literature and visual poetry magazines as Lex-ICON, Eremonaut, RetortMagazine, Anatematiskpress, Presens, and Quarter After #4. Visit him at his homepage or Amazon author page.