Poetry from Mickey Corrigan

Small Hands: 5 poems

Bachelor of the Month

After dropping out at sixteen
after dropping out at eighteen
after working with his hands
on the hot tar flat-roofs
of the war-era buildings
of downbeat Brooklyn
the view of Manhattan
too far, too far away

he cleans up nice
he charms the headmaster
of an uptown school
he’s hired
to teach the children
of the über elite.

A boy without background
man without a college degree
an eye for the youth
he talks his way inside homes
the rich, celebrity, power
brokers of the City he loves
woos their daughters
wins their confidence.

A few years of Wall Street,
Rolex and Armani, silk
ties and a fashion model
on each arm, man about
town, wealth, women
he’s living loud until
he’s quietly fired
for insider trading
for stealing and fraud.

He moves on with plans
for his own company
to help the rich
get richer
—and himself
to women, they come
and come and go,
they always go, ever
the flavor of the month
every single month single
for the rest of his life.

They shared a brain, an eye
for the beauty of the pure
fresh spring and budding
unopened blossoms
almost ripe and so sweet.

They shared a house
largest residence in the City
the power of attorney
the yacht, private planes
and the action that comes
with unlimited access.

On a handshake
he took the mansion
made it his playground
his man cave, his den
of iniquity, of cameras
hidden in high walls
in the glossy bedrooms
in the mirrored bathrooms
in secret spaces all around
watching, filming 
his partner, his friends
all the famous guests
in an unlimited springtime
fresh flowers just opening
their delicate petals
under his appreciative eye.

Body Alarm

Roaches and rats underfoot
he longs for a toilet seat
a crystal flute of champagne
small hands on his flesh
kneading out stress.

A cinderblock world
of dark gray concrete
metal table, Metal bunk
to the mold-damp wall
a future in debt
to the system he tells
he’s done nothing wrong—
and he believes it.

Eight hours a day
under fluorescent lights
in a tight white tile
jailhouse conference room
with the best attorneys
that much money can buy
and he’s going for it
bail appeal on Monday—
and he believes it.

But instead of winning
yet another round for the rich
he hangs loose
from the empty top bunk
by a strip of orange jumpsuit
no cameras working
no guards checking
no no no
for a full eight hours
nobody hears him die.

The autopsy asks questions
regarding the body:
red ligature marks
where they shouldn’t be
three broken bones
that shouldn’t be
no bunkmate, no night watch
and that shouldn’t be
the crime scene disturbed
the body is deemed

then oh so quickly
the media reports
the medical examiners’ reports
he’s a suicide—
and we believe it?

Joining Forces

In a surge of passion
a sweetheart huddle
a spasm of unity and energy
they create something new
a time-bomb, an ear blast
that is giving birth
to the wonder women within.

The girls are older, wiser
they are free, they are mobile
so easily mobilized
into formation, reformation
into a show of force
into a mob seeking justice
from those they blame
for all they expected
that did not happen
and never will.

Girls hand over photos
their journals, their scars
a long list of grievances
and they’re off to the fight
finally, the good fight
the call to action
they’ve been waiting for
years in a pink room
before a blue screen
locked in a life
with no future
but this.

A show of small hands:
they were too young
and he was wrong, sick
protected, overlooked,
a creep and a con man,
guilty, guilty, guilty.

Parsing Bill

In the entry to the largest
single family residence
on the Upper East Side
where the upper crust
comes to dine, preen, gloat
small hands hung up
an oil painting
a mock portrait
of the former leader
of the free world
in a little blue dress
sharp red heels
a telling smirk
seated seductively
in the oval-shaped office
of the most important home
in America.

The art makes the man
the man makes an art
of the seduction of power
and the portrait serves
as a warning
to all who enter
this upside-down world
about who holds the reins
and who the noose
in small hands.

Originally from Boston, Mickey J. Corrigan writes tropical noir with a dark humor. Her poetry has been widely published in literary journals and chapbooks. In 2020, Grandma Moses Press released Florida Man. Her novel The Physics of Grief puts the fun back in funerals while taking a serious look at the process of mourning (QuoScript, UK, 2021).