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.

From Alex, 6 Years Old

On 21 September, the White House published a letter that President Obama had received from six-year-old New Yorker Alex, offering a home to Omran, the Syrian boy whose photo had circulated widely.

Please tell the boy in the ambulance
To come and live at ours
And we will greet him in the street
With flags, balloons and flowers

Beneath that dust I know he must
Be frightened as can be
But when he's washed the bloodstains off
I think he'll look like me

Where Has Everyone Gone?

Move to the ground in the centre, you said
Nobody likes a dissenter, you said
Victory hinges
On leaving the fringes
Let us move to the centre, you said

Come down from the high ground, you claimed that we must
Move from town to the plains, this is shit or it's bust
You would find the location
With triangulation
Just there, where the ground's laid with dust

#LABOURPURGE2

You've voted Labour all your life?
We don't trust you, pal, or your wife
I've made an entry in my casebook
You posted something rude on Facebook

You want to know: what did you do?
Well guess what? We're not telling you!
Left-wing stances you're absorbing
Seen your Twibbon - voting Corbyn

Trains out of London

Rhythm tapped out by the
flats of the wheels of the
train with its steel drum re-
frain, past allotments and
rubbish heaps, rubble and
people in trouble, past

ivyed embankments where
knotweed grips coke cans, di-
gests the degradables,
strangles the cables and
chews up elastic bands,
spits out the plastic bags

Bodily Fluids Interception Team

As London Underground launches all-night running on two lines at weekends, a special squad of cleaners has a special task ...

​The Tube's come up with a spiffing scheme
The train stays in service and the bosses beam
But it's not as fun as it might seem
For the Bodily Fluids Interception Team

21 October 1966

villanelle about the Aberfan coal mining disaster, in which 144 people, including 116 school children, died when a coal mining waste tip collapsed. There was a lot of anger at the National Coal Board for its neglect of safety, and at the inquest, one father insisted, "I want it recorded – "Buried alive by the National Coal Board." That is what I want to see on the record. That is the feeling of those present. Those are the words we want to go on the certificate."

The miner insisted the coroner record
The Pantglas School building a homicide scene
They were buried alive by the National Coal Board

The Strike Train

... with a nod to W.H.Auden's The Night Train ...

 
This is the rhythm of wheel along steel
It's the soothing and comfort that passengers feel
From the safety of knowing the doors only close
When the guard says it's ready, that's when the train goes

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