When doubting about a page/poster layout, there are some visual exercises that can help like:
See it smaller
More than layout problems I see (or perceive) color problems, too many color variables in a very simple design, actually you are using the three color variables: ink, bright and saturation.
See it upside down
While vertical alignments work correctly, horizontal alignments fail when combining elements
- See the number four horizontal stroke, end cap and the the baseline.
- See the image end and the top th from the
Those are minor details, but personally I think... as you said
I like the concept; it's not the problem
If you are 100% sure about it, why you don't show it well?
In your original design I had problems with reading, I've asked myself why the e has a different color... I did not distinguish the 4th. That's why I put a point below in the redesign. Lowering the color contrast of MAY, which has already a weight contrast, makes the 4th. stronger, and, in my opinion, the legibility improves.
Making the e, may and be with the same gray it's applying the Gestalt principle of similarity, in this case by color. The e stops being a single object, visually becomes part of a group.
It would be good to get some visual information from the 70's Typography Layout when the use of phototypesetting in design allows to make many typographical size combinations, before the digital editing.