The poetry of Mickey J. Corrigan

Dance Dance Revolution

Look at me.

He liked to go to the movie theater
and play the dance step game
or World of Warcraft
in his dark bedroom
in the basement
black garbage bags
over all the windows.

Look at me.

Diagnoses and therapy
medications, special ed
homeschool, homebound
isolation, frustration
a house full of guns.

Look at me.

Gun safe, 1400
rounds of ammunition,
6 firearms, a vest
5 miles to the school
for kindergarten through fourth.

Help me! I don’t want
to be here!

In 5 minutes
156 shots
at first graders
curled into balls.

Look at them.

Parents and teachers
testifying to legislators
suing gun manufacturers
protests and lectures
marches and interviews
those left behind
in their not so quiet grief.

Look at them.

Same dance, same steps
over and over
faster and faster
more and more tragic.
Some states pass
the assault weapons ban.
Congress refuses.

Mommy, I’m okay
but all my friends are dead.

Look at me.
Look at them.


On December 14, 2012, a disturbed 20-year-old killed his mother. He brought some of her cache of arms and ammunition to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where he murdered 20 6- and 7-year old children and 6 staff with a military grade weapon. After the tragedy, global protest and near universal support for the banning of assault weapons in the U.S. was met with resistance from Congress and the gun lobbies that support their reelection campaigns.




13 Minutes

Dear sir: we regret to inform
you are ineligible
to purchase a firearm
in the state of California.

So you build an AR-15
from parts you buy
and a tactical
vest, black
clothing with pockets
for the ammo you carry
40 magazines
with 30 rounds
to your dad’s house.

You are not ineligible
to light a fire and you set one
shoot your brother
shoot your dad
out of town.

Out in the street you
carjack a stranger
make her drive you
to the college
you dropped out of
shoot the woman
who intercedes
shoot the bus
that passes by
shoot the SUV
the campus groundskeeper
his young daughter.

You are ineligible to enter
the college library
you shoot the old woman
collecting cans, open fire
on students
on library staff.

In your bedroom
a letter from California
Department of Justice:

Dear sir we regret to inform
you are ineligible
to purchase a firearm
in the state of California.


A 23-year-old man went on a 13-minute killing spree in Santa Monica on June 7, 2013, after setting fire to his father’s house and shooting to death his brother and father. He carjacked a vehicle and shot bystanders on the way to Santa Monica College, where he opened fire on students and faculty in the library. Since President Obama was in town for a fundraiser, specialized tactical resources were in the area and responded rapidly, killing the shooter. Ineligible to purchase a gun due to a history of violent threats and bomb making activities, he built one himself.




Future Mass Shooter

drops out of high school
works at a gas station
lives at home
trolls alt-right sites
roots for Trump
praises Hitler
asks where to find
cheap assault rifles
to kill a lot of people.

Work sucks, school sucks, life sucks.

The future mass shooter
jokes about Columbine
jokes about Sandy Hook
buys a semi-automatic
mingles with the students
at his old high school.

8:00 a.m. die.

The future mass shooter
gears up in the boys room
shoots a football player
shoots a cheerleader
shoots up the computer lab
shoots up and down the hall
shooting, reloading, shooting
reloading, shooting, reloading
shooting himself.

I just want out of this shit.


On December 7, 2017, a 21-year-old dropout from Aztec High School in Aztec, New Mexico, trespassed on school property with a loaded handgun. He shot 2 students and tried to kill more before committing suicide. The previous year he had been investigated by the FBI for his posting on an online forum about buying weapons for a mass shooting. He did not own a firearm at the time, but bought one legally a month before the shooting.




Hurt in 42

He oversleeps,
Mom drives him
drops him off
a kiss for a good day
at school.

Don’t Panic.

Band room’s packed
with friends, all safe.

In the common area
his experiment begins:
shoot to kill.
How will students respond?
How will school react?
The public, the world?

So long and thanks for all the fish.

He’s interested
in science, reads
fiction, plays
the trombone.
He’s 15, kills 2
wounds 14 more.

This gun has a right end
and a wrong end.

He wanted to break
the monotony.
He stole it
from his parent’s bedroom.
He hid it
in a basket of laundry
his book bag
his plan.

A gun for going out
and making people miserable with.

His life had no purpose
nobody’s does. All
of this:
an experiment.

He looked for an answer
to the ultimate question
of life, the universe

and everything.

He hoped and prayed
there wasn’t an afterlife.


On January 23, 2018, a Marshall County High School student in Benton, Kentucky, opened fire on classmates, killing 2 and wounding 14. He told investigators it was an experiment. In his bedroom they found books and other materials related to weaponry, violence, and the military. Six months before, his online post referred to the popular novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, stating, “Sorry for the kids that I may hurt in 42.”




School Strong

Another day in paradise
blue sky cloudless
spring in the air
valentines in their hearts

and then it begins…

another senseless rampage
boy with soldiers’ weapons
hate in his heart
shooting from above
children scatter
in the courtyard below

17 dead
17 wounded

Those who survive
their lives
forever changed
millions watching
the horror unfold

to be
the last

And the governor
signs a bill
to raise the age to 21
and secure more guns in schools.


And the school orders see-through
backpacks and more screenings
and the legislators say to pray
and do nothing and continue
to do nothing…


At the school
at other schools
in the streets
in the parks
around the country
students protest

and register to vote
against the gun legislators
and the gun lobbyists
and the gun manufacturers
and the gun retailers
against the killing fields
in US schools

Around the world
the people rally
millions gather
brave young voices
fill the spring air:


On February 14, 2018, a 19-year-old student expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, arrived on campus with guns and ammunition. He killed 17 people and wounded 17 more before escaping with evacuating students. He was identified and arrested soon after. Local law enforcement had received multiple calls about the disturbed young man’s constant threats to commit the very act he carried out, yet he was able to legally purchase firearms. Surviving students organized protests, walkouts, marches, and demonstrations demanding gun control and getting out the vote against legislators who receive political contributions from gun lobbies. Note: quotes are from Emma González, a student leader from the school.

Originally from Boston, Mickey J. Corrigan lives in South Florida. She writes hard-boiled pulp fiction from a female point of view. Her novellas and novels have been released by publishers in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. Poetry chapbooks include The Art of Bars (Finishing Line Press, 2016) and Days’ End (Main Street Rag, 2017). Project XX, a crime novel, was published last year by Salt Publishing in the UK.

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