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

Video: Raging

Bushfire Australia

'ScoMo Must Go!' chants demand the end of Scott Morrison's tenure as Australian Prime Minister. But Janine's poem argues that it is not just ScoMo who must go, but "Every climate change denier, Neoliberal vote for hire ...".

Raging

Bushfire Australia

"I believe in a fair go
for those who have a go ...
If you're having a go
you'll get a go."
Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia, 2019

Everyone must surely know
That Sco- Mo- must- go!
Liberals reap what Liberals sow
Sco- Mo- must- go!
The winds of change will surely blow
Sco- Mo- must- go!

But so must ...

Labour Heartlands

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

Nowhere to Hide

Tory win

I contemplated emigrating
or moving out of town
I'd spend my weekends walking dogs
my weekdays knuckling down

My grandmother was Scottish and
my great-grandma a Jew
And while some borders still stay down
perhaps they'll let me through

Or I could hump my tucker bag
and pitch up in Australia
(Though on that points-based entry test
I'd probably score a failure)

Gloating Voter

I’m stockpiling for harder times
I'm panicking and hoarding
But I won’t vote for Labour 'cos
I don’t like Jeremy Corbyn

Of course I’d like to see more help
for those who face adversity
Of course folk shouldn’t have to pay
to go to university

And rent controls would be so good -
the costs that they’re absorbing
But I’ll not vote for Labour 'cos
I don’t like Jeremy Corbyn

Get Out Of Here

I’d like to get out but the lift doesn’t work
And my knees are too weak for the stairs

I meant to get out but the telly keeps telling me
People like me should be scared

I was going to get out but the place that I’d go to
Has signs saying 'closed' on the door

I’d still have got out but the lady who went with me
Doesn’t come round any more

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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