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.

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

Hettie Gets Out

She’s safely shut in and yet Hettie gets out
And she goes to the places she cares most about

Hettie gets out under cover of dark
And she pushes the kids on the swings in the park

Hettie meets Beryl who moved out last June
And they chat about old times and tap out a tune
And then Hettie tells Bel she’ll be joining her soon

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

Hill Fifty

Step up to the hilltop
take in the view

Look! There in the distance!
the places you played
as a child, where your journey’s
foundations were laid

And there is the path
which led you from home
Growing as you went
coming out on your own

And there in the foothills
where I joined you to walk
The soft, easy road
then the rocks, then the fork

Because

I asked because I didn't know
I stayed because I couldn't go
I told because I couldn't show
I wilted when I couldn't grow
Said yes because you won't take no
I'm high because I can not cope with low

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