Three Poems

By Irene Cunningham


Every day the same, sleep running
a numbers racket.

Wild cards scream Yahoo in empty landscapes.

Giantess Me lurches awake.
Dreams – body buried in sand.

I crawl into the shower, water
splashes off forehead, nose,
burbles under my chin,
onto crookback shoulders…
courses swollen breasts.

How come I’m an ogre all of a sudden?
I bend my head, lean forward,
let the torrent beat on my arse.

I am where I bloody am.


I fancy strolling
up long rows of lilac, or
cooling my ankles
in a lush bluebell wood…smell
the earth’s clever art.
Titus believes Tantric sex
a prospect – sounds like
religious masochism.
We learned The Charleston,
shook the house, knackered ourselves.
It’s Merengue next.
We’ll be productive…emerge
with degrees. Mostly
he’s a pirate, high-jacks me.
Tantric Sex is slow,
almost dreaming the journey,
explosive endings. Massage –
All touch and feel; muscle, blood
bodies burning in oily
desperation, but
deadly relaxed. I dream of
dancing in a field
on a midsummer midnight –
could happen soon, charmed
adventures in fairy rings.
But Titus might spoil
the mood with Punk Rock jumping.
Merengue makes me
roll my aarrrs, accelerates
swing, tantalises tight thighs.


Put on a face, a play…
dally days off the calendar.

Every wrinkle will tell time, like
a tree circling out.

Cracks and parasitic life bloom
whatever you do.

Irene Cunningham has poems in many magazines, anthologies…has three collections on Amazon. Hedgehog Press published poetry conversation between her and Diana Devlin – SANDMEN: A Space Odyssey. HOME | writer ( 

She lives by Loch Lomond, but is moving to Brighton as soon as possible, looking for a last big adventure and to delve into a new poetry scene.

Lockdown suits her…except for all the weight gained and the writers’ bum issue…and the fact that she prefers reading/writing/drama to walking by the loch. Since last March she has scribbled a whole novel in June, and possibly one in November (she’s forgotten), built three poetry collections, written Poem-a-day for 3 months at the end of last year…so there are about five new pamphlets being edited now.

These poems are part of a new pamphlet written in February and now being edited for submission somewhere soon. The project began with a theme of being UNDER, and 28 associated lines on the top of a page as prompt. Immediately two characters leapt out at her: Titus and Isabella living together in a basement flat. Most of the poems are about their relationship and what they do with their time during lockdown – there’s a lot of crazy in the mix.

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