by Mickey J. Corrigan

Texas Tower

You set your sites on
the highest point in town
with a maximum range
and full inaccessibility
for the enemy below.
Who is the enemy now
you wonder as you drive
to the university and rise
to the tower top
your footlocker full of guns
700 rounds of ammunition
the tumor in your head
the size of a full metal jacket.
Who is the enemy now
you lock and load
you, the sharpshooter
in the Marines, top gun
at home
at a loss
the wife you killed
and left behind
and the marksman in you
takes over, perfect aim
from the deck of the tower
aim true, hand steady, you site
the enemy
who is the enemy
you shoot to kill
you shoot to kill
you shoot to kill
you shoot to kill
you shoot to kill you shoot to kill you shoot to kill you shoot to kill you shoot to kill you shoot to kill you shoot to kill you shoot to kill you shoot to kill you shoot to kill
the enemy
you, who
shoots to kill.

In one of the deadliest school shootings in US history, a 25-year-old veteran transported a cache of weapons in a footlocker to the University of Texas at Austin on August 1, 1966. From the observation tower in the main building, the former Marine shot random people on campus, killing 14 and injuring 31. On autopsy, a tumor was found in his brain, which some experts say may explain his violent outburst.

13 Seconds

And bombs dropping overseas
where the war continues killing
the people and young soldiers
lose time, limbs, their minds
and the heroin’s cheap
on campuses the students
in torn jeans smoke weed
talk revolution, form lines
around buildings, chained
to the ivy-covered walls
and the bombs drop
in Cambodia and students
at Kent State and everywhere
stand up and march, chanting
to the universal gods
peace in our time
and the National Guard
Ohio’s young soldiers
lose their minds
destroying lives
like other shattered soldiers
at VAs across the country
four students
nine people
sixty-seven rounds
in thirteen seconds

no peace in our time.

On May 4, 1970, unarmed college students were gunned down by 28 members of the Ohio National Guard. Some of the students were participating in a protest against the bombing of Cambodia by the US military, others were merely walking across campus. Four were killed, 9 others injured. In response to the unjustified violence, hundreds of American schools closed as more than 4 million students went on strike. The tragedy was memorialized in the popular protest song by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, “Ohio.”


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
aimed at 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. In 1989, another shooting occurred at another Cleveland Elementary School, this one in Stockton, California, with 5 killed and 30 wounded.

Zero Equals Infinity

When he pulls up in the van
he can smell the pines
fresh needles in spring sunlight
and the gasoline bomb
in the back seat.
His manifesto says:
Threaten one and all are at your mercy!

His crew has bailed
the others refuse to help
create a brave new world
full of brilliant children
like Cokeville Elementary.
This is a revolution!
His loyal wife lures
them down the Pine-Sol hall
a job applicant, the UPS man, teachers
and children, laughing children
following like baby ducks
to the first grade classroom
finger paintings on the walls
little toadstool desks.
Zero equals infinity.
He corrals the hostages
with the bomb
in the classroom
where the children
sob and curl up
watch TV, read stories
sing happy birthday and pray
to the women in white
floating overhead.
Two million per child and an audience with the president!
He ties the shoelace
to his loyal wife’s wrist
the touchy trigger
but she twitches
smoke and fire fill the room
so he shoots her
then himself
the children screaming
the angels urging them out
the open window
to the sweet smelling arms
of the thick green forest.

On May 16, 1986, a former policeman fired for misconduct arrived at the Cokeville Elementary School in Cokeville, Wyoming. He and his wife held 136 children and 18 adults hostage with guns and a gasoline bomb. When the bomb accidentally exploded, the man shot his wife and killed himself. His manifesto stated his plan to start a brave new world with intelligent children. Some of the children claimed angels in white floated overhead, urging them to go to the window to avoid getting hurt. Although 76 were wounded, all of the hostages survived.

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.

About the Author:

Originally from Boston, Mickey J. Corrigan lives in South Florida and writes noir with a dark humor. Books 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 Publishing, 2017). Project XX, a novel about a school shooting, was published in 2017 by Salt Publishing in the UK.