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

Duchess Departed

An alliterative ode on the occasion of the passing of an aristocrat

Deborah the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire has died
Did ever a life-end alliterate with such alarming aloofness?
The chatelaine of Chatsworth, champion of chutney, Charles' chum
The Prince's pal passed away peacefully, apparently
In leaving your life, you leave your eulogist loads of licence for lyrical soliloquy
With the death of Debo the doughty, dashing duchess, a dynasty dies
The malodorous Mitfords, mates with Moseley, friends with fascists, hosted by Hitler
Who, she chastised, lacked Churchill's charisma
I'll do the eulogy if they like - but it's unlikely they'd like it a lot
Or even a little. What a loss.

Death Row Diner

Get this! Hopelessly unthinking about the barbarity and injustice of state executions, we have a "pop-up restaurant" themed as "death row dinners". Pass the sick bag.

Her Name Is Reeva

Her name is Reeva
Reeva Steenkamp
Not 'Oscar Pistorius' girlfriend'
Not 'model'
Not 'reality TV star'
Her name is Reeva

Her name is Reeva
She was not just a model
But also a law graduate
She was not just a reality TV star
But also a campaigner against violence
The story is about her killing
Not about his fame
Or it ought to be

The Housewife's Trial

An oldie from the 1980s, a decade of Thatcher, Reagan, crap haircuts and appallingly sexist washing powder adverts. They are not exactly bastions of feminism now, but in the 1980s we were subjected to images of women descending into hysterical panic because 'The dirt says hot but the label says not' (Ariel), their whites had failed the 'window test' (Daz) or were not 'bluey-white'.

The Ballad of Gibbons Corner

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

Lost Consonant

Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions - and therefore chief benefit-cutter and witchhunter of disabled people and other claimants - and Conservative MP for Chingford, where his predecessor was the equally loathsome Norman Tebbit:

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