Whisky Thoughts, by Irene Cunningham

They say brain matter is pale grey. We’re all
the same colour, though stupid might be
shades of yellow/orange. Remember when

Shirley Bassey sang If I ruled the world,
belting out that what-if in the sixties
in her sparkling dresses, spreading fancy

while Vietnam hosted desolation?
Britain watched black&white TV, I Love
Lucy, Rhoda, Come Dancing, distanced,

busy preparing the metric-shoogle,
grabbing some American colour on
Top of the Pops. So, who’s fit for the post…

tests if the pale grey matter’s present?
Apparently it’s assumed but later reported
missing – not in action, just disappeared.

What post? Presidential, Ministerial…
Soap-box Tenors, Tyrants & Toe-rags,
the diabolical-wish-merchants-in-drag.

If I ruled the world I couldn’t trust even
a woman because the heart of darkness
lives in all the houses and humans flail

against rip tides and sucking black holes
packed with moneyed eels who don’t sing
out loud, or whisper in speech bubbles.

What colour is sense and honesty…how
do they survive when madmen whip
colours into mud? Catch the bloody eels,

feed them to polar bears. There will be
no days of wine and roses, but nothing
to stop us singing, with whisky in the jar.



Cut on the Bias by Irene Cunningham

They’re not national, any more,
don’t typify British…aren’t worth
the license-fee or radical enough
to see or over-see oceans marching
the streets as anything more than ants.

They’d rather we paddled our feet
in wedding drivel – go compare royals
as dashing sergeants flutter by when
weather goes lightly. We’re heading
for divorce, unravelling the cloth.

They’ll fabricate, knit non-existing
threads together to build another
fairytale but the world is wearing
glasses…can see for miles and miles
that nothing runs true to the weave.


Irene Cunningham has had many poems published in lit mags, including London Review of Books (as Maggie York), New Welsh Review, New Writing Scotland, Stand, Iron, Writing Women, Northwords Now, Poetry Scotland and others. She lives at Loch Lomond. Website:   http://ireneintheworld.wixsite.com/writer 

Instant Karma by Irene Cunningham

There’s a man I thought I knew, oh slightly;
he lived with my daughter and my grandson,
ate cake with me, laughed, hiding the madness.
Now, I’m growling and prowling world cultures
for voodoo: how to disembowel a man,
to set his mother’s table with his tripe…
I’m sharpening my knife, can feel it trembling
at the thought of cutting into more meat.
The old bucket brightens in its corner
remembering me, and my forty whacks.
Men are not always husbands; friends can cross
a line of no return too, and suffer
the axe in a world where trust is a part
of anatomy, and empty heads roll.