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.

Missing

How, my heart, can it be true
I mourn a man I never knew?
Though he was gone before I came
I love and miss him all the same
I did not know but can't forget him
I mourn the fact I never met him

Pro Patria Mori

Dulce et decorum est
As Owen wrote, the ancient lie
Inscribed upon the soldier's breast
And told to men when sent to die
But tell me, for commemoration
Below the flag that's raised to fool us
Did they really die for nation
Or rather for the nation's rulers?

Photo: Wilfred Owen

Sandbags and Gladrags

These are the banks that need to be propped up
These the square miles that could do with some bailing out
This is the high street where floating stocks are mopped up
Defences that fail when they're cut and left flailing about
Those on the ground floor as always will suffer the worst
While one level up they look downwards in trepidation
But those in the penthouse were safe when the banks were burst

London

Follow the links for a shocking story of a Stalinist anti-semitic purge.

London is loyal, London's a comrade
London has toiled through many a bomb raid
London's a leader, London's a fighter
London is feeling the noose closing tighter

Those in London's seats of power
Are sending suspects to the tower
London's former champions sense
There's too much foreign influence

The Girl with the Briefcase

Some girls wear dresses
And some girls wear skirts
This one double-breasted
In a suit and a shirt

The girl in the trouser suit
Had scabs on her knees
Cos she loved playing football
And liked climbing trees

Kicked a ball 'gainst the wall
From early till late
Cycled for hours
Around the estate

A Sonnet for Saga

'Sonnet' means 'little song'; Saga Noren is the (autistic) lead character in Swedish/Danish crime drama The Bridge.

A little song across a Bridge to link
A multi-neuro-lingual Tower of Babel
Two tongues, two countries, varied ways to think
On fire not cold, you're different not unstable
Unmentioned spectrum's focus, dedication
Not held up by romantic hero's arms
Your single mind concludes investigation
No need for verbal foreplay, social charms
Embittered colleague, hostile boss and mother
Atypical emotions still run true
The problems you have understanding others
Are no more than their problems knowing you
Subtitle this if our sort still seem foreign:
I think perhaps I love you, Saga Noren

Healing

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

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