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

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, the Morning Star, Rising and TenFootCity; and in anthologies Spies4Life, Poems for Jeremy Corbyn, Justice: Poems for Grenfell Tower.and Ashes to Activists

Share of the Pie

Submitted by Janine on 06 December 2022 at 14:41

Long long time ago, I can still remember
How winter snow would make me smile
And I knew when I had my chance
We’d come inside to warm and dance
And maybe we'd be happy for a while

But February made me shiver
With every bill that they delivered
Bad news on the mat
How the feck can I pay that?

Trickle-Down Economics

Submitted by Janine on 24 September 2022 at 09:57

Give handouts to the City not the town
Award the top the most, the bottom least
and in the end, the wealth will trickle down

So feed the finest to the howling hound
The sparrow pecks the droppings of the beast
Give handouts to the City not the town

Allow some crumbs to tumble to the ground
Please overload the table for the feast 
and in the end, the wealth will trickle down

Rage

Submitted by Janine on 22 September 2022 at 14:02

I want to pour my anger into a poem.

I want it to drain from my scorched throat and flow down my arm, into my fingers, through my pen and onto the astonished page.

I want my anger to desert my body and become art, even if it leaves my fingers, my arm and my throat as cold as my heart already is.

If my anger became a poem, it would be the fiercest, hottest, largest, most vicious and powerful poem ever.

Villanelle: A Step or Two

Submitted by Janine on 17 September 2022 at 15:31

Autumn falls and storm clouds brew
The post each day brings season's chill
The queue moves on a step or two

The last demand is overdue
It stands unopened on the sill
As autumn falls and storm clouds brew

They stand in file to give their due
A strung-out wait to pay their bill
The queue moves on a step or two

The Queue

Submitted by Janine on 15 September 2022 at 10:18

A fortnight back, complaining about
having to wait behind two others
to use the cashpoint

Now, happy to stand all day and night
to file past a box
with a crown and a cushion on top

and inside, the body of
someone you never knew -
it's the nearest you could ever get to her

It's the ultimate display of Britishness:
an awesome combo of
queueing and deference

To Show Due Respect ...

Submitted by Janine on 09 September 2022 at 10:00

Companies have suspended polluting the air
Governments have suspended cutting our care

Energy firms have suspended price rises
Landlords have suspended nasty surprises

Employers have suspended exploiting our labours
Lobbyists have suspended cashing in favours

Bosses have suspended giving the sack
Oh, they haven't? So, why have we suspended fighting back?

 

End of the Line

Submitted by Janine on 01 September 2022 at 17:11

Walk down locked and empty streets alone,
arrive for start of shift, it's bear-the-brunt time
to serve some others' families not your own
Going from the home front to the frontline

Frozen pay, now tiny, ice-cold 'offers', 
red-bordered bills alert approaching deadline
The firing line ignites key workers' coffers
Going from the frontline to the breadline