My Poems

Having written and performed as The Big J in the 1980s, Janine started again in 2014, after a brief interlude of around a quarter of a century.

Froms sonnets to villanelles, limericks to ballads, the occasional rap and plenty of straightforward rants, serious and humorous and sometimes both, here is Janine's verse.

Janine's poems have been published in numerous poetry and other journals and websites, including Algebra of Owls, South Bank Poetry, the Daily Mirror, PUSH, Hour of Writes, Proletarian Poetry, Confluence Medway, Screaming Violets, Poetry24, Solidarity, Stand Up and Spit, Hastings Independent, Freedom, Women’s Fightback, Rising and TenFootCity; and in anthologies Spies4Life, Poems for Jeremy Corbyn and (forthcoming) Dark Bones.

Requiem for Carillion

Once Thatcher sold our silver for a song
Our telephones, our water, power and steel
The vultures were not satisfied for long
They wanted snacks to follow up their meal

The public body's stripped, its clothes torn off it
So next they chopped its limbs off piece by piece
And tossed them to the hounds that sought to profit
And let the corporate speculators feast

Busted

Carillion’s
Made its billions
Now its debt is so big, its account’s in vermillion
With coldness reptilian
It dumps on civilians
Rides off into sunset; the Tories ride pillion
If it were not so serious, it would be vaudevillian

On Shitholes

A place becomes a shithole
when someone digs a hole and shits in it
Someone like you, Donald Trump,
and all the rulers and raiders
and tin-pot dictators
the speculators and devastators
the extractors and the malefactors

A Grenfell Nativity

Expectant families
in temporary digs
waiting for a miracle
Led here by a burning star
and a government demand
to be counted

Drawing the short straw
bedding down in the stalls
Because there's no room
in the inner workings
of the political economy
for them

Watched over by
donkeys and sheep
Interrupted sleep
Silent night
Keeping the light on

Telling Time

My body is a timeline
with every thick and fine line
marking a milestone
time-grown
Each tract and fracture
captured
and preserved
a chapter
in each roll and curve

Eyes on the Prize

The Pfizer guys are haggling with the NICE
And while they talk, the cancer spreads again
You’ll get your pills when they’ve agreed a price

You’ll get your answer when they’ve rolled their dice
And dealt your hand out in their counting den
The Pfizer guys are haggling with the NICE

Scales of Injustice

Pick up the leaflet
pick up a pen
Rate on a scale of nil to ten
how broken is your heart
how much your life is rent apart
Rate your mental state
Is it three or six or eight?

Rate on a scale of nil to ten
Where nil is
I don't give a toss about them'
And ten is
'I'll never feel intact again'

Transnational Anthem

God save one's gracious tax
Long live one's noble sacks
God save one's tax
Send it on holiday
Make sure the proles all pay
I own the islands anyway
God save one's tax

One has to be much shrewder
Deposit some in Bermuda
And some offshore
Take all the dosh one's got
Fill up one's golden pot
And stash it on the Royal Yacht
Then get some more

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