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Thursday, August 27, 2020


by Mickey J. Corrigan

Illustration: Craig Stephens, The South China Morning Post, August 16, 2020

The night descended
an oiled slickness
thick black sludge
and it stayed on
not draining itself
into the blue day

we didn't know why
we had to wait
wait, fight, wait
we were all boxed up
and boxed in
piled up in stacks

and in the silence
that lasted for years
we all had to shut
ourselves down
breathe through holes
sometimes killing
choking someone
for their air
for their silence
the cruel darkness
like a hard migraine
full of daggering jolts
of lost sunshine
so much existential pain
we stuck to shadows
'til all light was gone
and nothing
to see

for ourselves
the energy it took
to shepherd ourselves
and everyone else
to come close
to conspire
to fling ourselves
out of the dark nest
the safety boxes
we had been placed in
like blind chicks
we didn't know why
we knew
we had to decamp
breaths held
the countdown:

November 1
November 2
November 3…

and we decanted
a vast gushing
pushing us all out
every single one of us
free flowing
from a fogged dream
of lonely sleepwalkers
unable to see the depth
skating on the surface
like insects, pond skippers
but now we dove deep
into our inventory of loss
the trappings of despotism
saying no, no
no more

and we were cresting
in violent surges
flooding our grief
hammered out
the cheap walls
the stockade of lies
the prison of secrets
the years of self-harm
bursting seams
breaking up
shattering, scattering
into the brightness
the blue sky world
we had always known
as American

Originally from Boston, Mickey J. Corrigan writes Florida 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, 2019). Kelsay Books recently published the poetry chapbook the disappearing self.