Michael McQuillan

Michael McQuillan is a former US Senate aide, Peace Corps Volunteer, and history teacher for 19 years. He also chaired the NYPD Training Advisory Council’s Race Subcommittee in the aftermath of the killing of Eric Garner. The Write Launch has published Mike’s poetry and Creative Nonfiction.

“Cry of the People”

The netherworld’s sordid secrets, disclosed,
brook no remorse for the dead nor regard for
those barely alive. Brutal eruptions

punctuate detention’s boredom. Nor does night’s
darkened cell ease despair. With 6000 not 3000
confined to have a cell is rare. Read more.

Issue 76

Meditation’s Coda

The window’s tree is a friend. Its limbs pulse with rain as Sabbath meditation sifts preoccupation.
The living room corner, home within home, contents me. The sill’s cup of French Roast stimulates my molding words as poem and essay phrases on what seem urgent social concerns. Read more.

Creative Nonfiction
Issue 75

Sparks of Hope

Mind discerns God’s glory in sublime dawn’s slanting sun. Stiff legs spring toward fleeting sight. Arrival evokes awe, till tears at fading light. Glass pane frames what I perceive, renews what I believe, what Hebrew Prophets fervently conceived, as Christ’s Sermon on the Mount decreed: God’s work on Earth is ours. Read more.

Creative Nonfiction
Issue 70

Paradigm Shift

Holy light fills window’s tree at dawn. Autumn leaves as angels embrace our white-haired God. There is peace as people sleep. I pray. May heart’s compassion bridge mental walls to unite and not divide. The youthful idealism mourned in my bones with Gandhi’s maxim to “be the change you wish to see in the world” mandates clarity: what values dear to me must I enact to infuse good where I can? Read more.

Creative Nonfiction
Issue 67

Conscience Calls

Jesus lived and died in vain if he did not teach us all to regulate the whole of life by the eternal law of love, the Mahatma Gandhi said. Solidarity with the poor set both men’s moral conduct beyond mortal norms, but we placed them on pedestals rust-crusted with age. Read more.

Creative Nonfiction
Issue 62


Do your eyes discern my halo? The world at large seems blind.
Affluent obsess on phones, poor scramble to survive.
One group calculates its commerce, one simply stays alive. Read more.

Issue 56

Why We Should Synchronize With the Sea

We can delve into pictures as we would with a text. This one shares insights. To find them I shed sneakers, drag toes through moist sand and breathe deeply. Eyes face the horizon. On a weekday there is no one else here. I drink in the air, sights and sounds, a healing balm for the chaos of our so-called civilized world. Read more.

Creative Nonfiction
Issue 52

What Inspired My Social Justice Journey

“I want them to see this,” Mom cries, her body booming through as she hits Dad with a lamp. He, no angel, drags her by the hair from the car where I coil arms around my sister at another violent time. These episodes ignite lifelong trauma. I am now sixty-eight. Read more.

Creative Nonfiction
Issue 50

“The Stranger in the Storm is My Brother”

Is it failing eyes or conscience
since we seem not to see how
Rodney stands alone exposed

to torrential rain in wind
teeming masses hurry past
umbrellas clash like swords Read more.

Issue 48

Why I Couldn’t Embrace the Catholic Church

Childhood trauma and immoral exemplars in teen years pushed me from the Catholicism that meant much to my mother. The above-altar crucifix with blood dripping from the tortured body of Christ at the Church of Saints Philip and James in the Bronx where I often spent Sundays lies vivid in memory. Read more.

Creative Nonfiction
Issue 46

Where is Love?

An aspirational God is manifest in an infant’s birth, the sun’s warmth, a shoreline’s rippling waves. It appeals to conscience, evokes compassion, succumbs to the primal force of base behavior. Order and chaos, hope and longing, love and indifference recycle themselves. Read more.

Creative Nonfiction
Issue 44