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

Why can't you just be normal?

Autistic screeching

Why do you like that tuneless music?
Do your hair the way you choose it?
I thought you’d got 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?

Flowers Beside the Line

RMT on Port Talbot

When workers leave their homes to graft
by muscle or by brain
The least they need is safety from
the dangers and the strain
So those who wave their loved ones off
can wave them home again

Flowers will lie beside the line
where working people fell
For those who keep our railways safe -
they must be safe as well

Stonewall Was a Riot

It wasn't the Stonewall focus group
or Stonewall business case
It wasn't the Stonewall let's-present-
our-most-acceptable-face

Years of asking nicely hadn't
got us anywhere
Our rulers did not hear us when
we whispered: it's not fair

So if re-writers tell you that
we won by being quiet
Remind them of our history -
that Stonewall was a riot

Awareness Awareness

awareness ribbons

I'm declaring World Awareness Awareness Day
on 1 April every year
We need more awareness of our awareness
and of our lack of it.

How many people are even aware
of how aware they are or are not?
Not enough!
This must change!

I ask you all to wear my
Awareness Awarenss Day
badge and/or ribbon
and/or wristband and/or lanyard

Ban the Booth!

Ban the Booths campaign logo

Inside a cell three-walled in fears
kept separated from their peers
A throwback to the Dickens years
the pride and joy of Wackford Squeers
Victorian values raw in tooth
So Tories, damn you - ban the booth!

Recommend Acceptance

white flag

Every year we send our tribunes
to knock upon the golden door
and take our just demands there with them - 
place our claim, our case for more

The masters let them ask and close
their eyes and sigh that times are tough -
They can't afford to share with those
who made their wealth; there's not enough

Rootless Cosmopolitan

Jewdas Rootless Cosmopolitan

Edward lived in Hoxton
boxed in
Stitching boots
digging roots
Labouring his load
on the neighbouring road
to new arrivals
migrated for survival 
from Poland, from Russia
to the holy crush of London
Under the same sky
came together, made ties
meeting in the streets
Tars and bars and beats
tasting gifts and eats
More than metropolitan

Middle Aged Woman Starter Pack

Starter Pack

Clothes in colours other than beige
A Railcard for the middle-aged
A T-shirt saying 'Mind Your Own Business'
An entry form for TV quizzes
Quiet and peace for channel hopping
Someone else to do the shopping
A Fit Bit and a healthy snack
In my Middle Aged Woman Starter Pack

The Interpretation of Dreams

The interpretation of dreams

I dreamed last night of being chased
By enemies I could not see
I opened throttle as I raced
They kept on throwing things at me

I swerved round potholes, filled with dread
And drove as quickly as I could
Ensured my son was safe ahead
Rode three times round the neighbourhood

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