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, 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.


The fragments from a previous wound 
Dance around and wait their chance
To shoot a sharp reminder

That they have never gone away
And that which does not kill me does not
Always make me stronger

Ev'ry step brings pain but still
It beats just sitting feeling less 
Distressed but more defeated

Roses and Bread

The house is getting dirty, she can't face it
The vacuum cleaner's burnt out, lying dead
She knows she'll have to save up to replace it
She wants a life of roses not just bread
And sucking up the dust from crusty carpets
Is never going to give her quite the pleasure
Of thumbing dusty pages at the markets
To clear the cranial cobwebs finding treasure


I couldn't be Leia Organa 'cos
I could not pull off 'Princess'
I could not do the pucker scene
With Luke - that's on-screen incest!
Queen Amidala's not for me
She's hardly proletarian
I couldn't be Katniss Everdeen
'Cos I'm a vegetarian
I couldn't ever kill myself
However high the fees
So I am not Louise or Thelma
From Thelma and Louise

Benefits Street

Channel Five's schedule
For most every day
Benefits Street cesspool 
And Welfarers Way

Ramsay Street Scroungers 
Then Home and Away
They're idlers and loungers
In old Summer Bay

Then Stateside US
For our afternoon treat
It's NCIS:
No Current Income Street

Lights, Camera, Sanctions
A click of a mouse
Audience reactions
From the Big Benefits house

This I Know

Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so
And if it's there in black and white
Then heaven knows it must be right
But if this weren't the only book
That I so literally took
Then dragons fly and this I know
For JK Rowling told me so.

Push the Button?

We have a fearless leader we can trust
Who's proved to us already that he would
Destroy communities for their own good
Burn shadows into pavements, flesh to dust
He flaunts the firmest finger, face that fits
A leader who can make that tough decision
Personifies the stone-heart politician
Choose yes or no to blow the world to bits
- When button push one day will come to shove

Turn On The Heating

Turn on the heating
We're coming round 
We're wearing jumpers 
But it's nippy this time of year
I guess some just feel the cold more than others.

Turn on the heating
We're coming round
We know you don't like to burn money
And even though you can afford it now
Old habits die hard.


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