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

Lighting, Rigged

Lighting rig

Thirty-five years ago, I was sexually assaulted at a gig. I never told anyone. But over the last few years, some stuff has prompted me to finally address it - by writing this poem.

 

 

Standing by the ticket table,
flogging run-off, stapled zines
Hold as much as I am able,
twenty pences in my jeans

Responses

Janine at The NHS vs The Big C, Hackney, 17 October 2019

How do people respond when you tell them you have breast cancer? Janine Booth's poem considers some common reactions.

Performed at The NHS vs The Big C, organised by Hackney Keep Our NHS Public and Hackney South and Shoreditch Labour Party, 17 October 2019

Telling Time

Janine at The NHS vs The Big C, Hackney, 17 October 2019

Janine Booth performs Telling Time, a poem about the marks that life has left on her body. the event took place in Hackney, hosted by the local Constituency Labour Party, to help build the campaign to save the NHS.

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This Place

I come to see you in this place
A train, a bus, a longish walk
A mask of growth veneers your face
We picnic, catch up, laugh and talk

A train, a bus, a longish walk
They brought you here to make you well
We picnic, catch up, laugh and talk
You've questions, jokes and tales to tell

Imaginary Poetic Justice

Imagine if every time someone died
on an NHS waiting list
A scar appeared on
the skin of a Tory MP

If every time an MP failed to turn up
to an inconveniently-arranged appointment
They were sanctioned
​their state handouts stopped

Imagine if every time a person went to a food bank
a Tory MP had to go too
Not for a photo opportunity
but because the cupboard was empty

Why can't you just be normal?

Autistic screeching

Why do you like that tuneless music?
Wear your hair the way you choose it?
I think you get it it, then you lose it
Why can’t you just be normal?

Can’t you make yourself conform?
Do anything that’s near the norm?
Don’t you know there’s a uniform?
Why can’t you just be normal?

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