Marxist. Trade Unionist. Socialist-feminist. Author. Poet. Speaker. Tutor. RMT ex-Exec. Workers' Liberty. Autie. Bi. PUFC fan.


In East London. Where I used to live. Great place.


Submitted by Janine on 20 July 2020 at 17:11

One last time before we split
let's go and sit
in the grassy bit
in the churchyard astride the log
throw sticks for the dog
and look at the playground
and the place where the nursery stood
Before we're gone for good

Labour Heartlands

Submitted by Janine on 21 December 2019 at 11:13

Isn't this a heartland too?
We have poundshops, pawnshops, boarded-up shops
and industries replaced by social services
We too have schools with leaking roofs
and youth in gigs and gangs and anguish

Isn't this a heartland too?
We have hearts and we have lands
Hearts that beat on rundown streets
and lands blemished with landfill
and corporate-municipal scandal

Hackney Gardens, London E8

Submitted by Janine on 29 January 2019 at 23:15

This site was a nursery
next to the municipal mortuary
Council care from the cradle to the grave
with alphabets and sing-alongs and rhymes
Once upon a time

Then they closed it.

Next it became a unit where the students
the schools had driven up the walls
were taken to be straightened out
or at least kept away from trouble

Then they closed it. And sold the site.

Speaking about Autistic Adults at Hackney Health and Well-being Board

Submitted by Janine on 07 February 2016 at 20:49

On 13 January, I addressed Hackney's Health and Wellbeing Board as part of its Patient Voice agenda item, discussing provision for autistic adults in the Borough. Rather belatedly, Hackney is now considering a draft plan to implement its duties under the Autism Act. Here's what I said ...

N38 To The World

Submitted by Janine on 17 November 2014 at 21:18

A Petrarchan sonnet (yesreallyon getting a night bus to catch an international train ...

I used to but I haven't missed this bus
At 5a.m., a half-full cart to take
The staff who clean and guard before you wake
Who start the engines 'fore the rest of us
From brief repose unwilling exodus
Hold open half-mast eyes on work-worn faces
Resignedly wishing they weren't going places
No chat, no caucus, nothing to discuss
But then I disembark and change my routes
And switch dimensions through a boarding gate
Some two hours later morning, bright debate
White, coffee-charged commuters sporting suits
While most of those on night bus 38
Were black and wearing hi-vis, smocks and boots

The Ballad of Gibbons Corner

Submitted by Janine on 02 September 2014 at 14:31

Since Eighteen Ninety
In all of its finery
Stood Gibbons the furniture sellers
London’s last such attraction
With cash-only transaction
Until plastic caught up with the fellas

They eventually gave in
To modernity’s whim
With a sign saying ‘We accept Visa’
Through bombings and raids
Gibbons still stayed
Hackney’s very own Tower of Pisa

The State of Our Estate

Submitted by Janine on 12 January 2020 at 13:22

Badly kept, back swept
Cracks crept along the paving
and the window panes
Split plastic seats hung from rusted chains
in the playground we found
next to the car park with the gate on its hinges
where tyres were punctured by tossed syringes
Metal doors sealed vacant flats.
There were rats