Mickey J. Corrigan

Link to home pageLink to current issueLink to back issuesLink to information about the magazineLink to submission guidelinesSend email to misfitmagazine.net


She's sixteen
five-two, bright
red hair in the window
inside her house, single
mattress on the floor
shared with Dad.

I don't like Mondays
she says
aims out the window
at the school across the street
a BB gun, then
a semiautomatic rifle
scans the little kids.

I don't like Mondays.
This livens it up,

she says and
the principal dies
saving the children
the custodian dies
saving the children
a policeman lies bleeding
eight children on the ground.

I asked for a radio
and he gave me a gun,

she says later
blames her father
the whiskey and beer bottles
scattered around the house
her epilepsy
her bike injury
that single mattress
on the dirty floor.

I don't like Mondays
shoots out the windows
shoots up the children
shoots down her future
spends Mondays
in jail.

On January 29, 1979, a 16-year-old girl shot 10 people from the window of her house in San Diego. The children were lined up at the gate to the Cleveland Elementary School, waiting to begin the day. Later, Bob Geldorf and the Boomtown Rats wrote the song "I Don't Like Mondays," which became a top hit in the UK.

Hatfields & McCoys

The kid had a reason—
maybe he did
maybe he didn't—
to shoot a man—
maybe he did
maybe he didn't—
leave him
in the street.

The people in the neighborhoods
don't want us here.

Payback came in
through gaps
in the school fence
morning gym class
kids in shorts, running
laughing, flirting
young in the sweet spring air.

Payback had an AK47,
a semi-automatic pistol,
aimed and fired
multiple times
at the kid—
who maybe did
or didn't
kill someone else.

They don't speak our language.

Three girls shot
others injured
in the stampede,
the kid on the ground
dead at 15.

Police asked everyone
at the school
what they saw—
maybe they did
maybe they didn't—
kids shook their heads
shrugged, looked away.

They won't talk to us.

Payback never sleeps
and the kid's friends—
maybe they did
maybe they didn't—
took their weapons
shot some relatives
close friends
of the school
in the street.

This went on
and is going on still.

On April 14, 2003, 2 men entered the campus and shot a 15-year-old student during gym class at John McDonogh High School in New Orleans. He died on the scene, and 3 other students were wounded, while others were injured trying to escape the gunfire. None of the estimated 150 witnesses would provide information to investigators. Eventually, the perpetrators were caught and incarcerated. But revenge was taken on behalf of the victim, with relatives and friends of the shooters also shot and killed.

New Hope

Fall light tumbles fast
across rich green grass
fat trees fading
to gold and burnt umber
full uddered cows
grazing by red barns.

Live separately from the world's sins.
The milk truck driver
stops by the Amish
one-room schoolhouse,
asks the teacher, her students
about a clevis pin.

Salvation is not guaranteed.

He holds a handgun
on the boys
as they unload
his pickup
he boards up
the door.

You must show your faith by how you live.

The boys are released
a pregnant woman
parents with infants.
The girls must stay.

Always be modest, reserved, quiet.

At home he's scrawled
four notes
for his wife and children
who don't understand
will never understand.

Submit, obey, be humble.

Lined up at the chalkboard
waiting to answer a question
recite a poem, a prayer
die by a stranger's hand
the girls beg for death
first, to spare the others.

Blood and flesh
blood and bone
spatter the classroom.

Salvation is not guaranteed.

Six months later
New Hope School
opens its doors
to all who pass by.

On October 2, 2006, a milk tanker truck driver stopped his pickup at West Nickel Mines, a one-room schoolhouse in Amish country in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. When he brandished a gun, the teacher ran to a nearby farm for help. After boarding up the door, the driver dismissed some of the occupants, but held as hostages 10 girls ages 6 to 13. The police tried to negotiate but he shot 8 of them, then killed himself. After the massacre, the Amish people spoke of the need for forgiveness, offering comfort to the killer's widow and family.

Originally from Boston, Mickey J. Corrigan writes tropical noir with a dark humor. Novels include Project XX about a school shooting (Salt Publishing, UK, 2017) and What I Did for Love, a spoof of Lolita (Bloodhound Books, UK, 2019). In 2020, Grandma Moses Press released the poetry micro-chapbook Florida ManThe Physics of Grief puts the fun back in funerals while taking a serious look at the process of mourning (QuoScript, UK, April 2021).