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

If

A rewrite of Rudyard Kipling's 'If':

If you evade your tax when all around you
Are paying theirs and saying you should too
If values like integrity confound you
But ruthlessness comes naturally to you
If you can live off other people’s labour
And add their output to your growing hoard
And still proclaim yourself the wealth creator
That massive bonus is your just reward

If It Weren't For ...

If it weren't for hangovers, I'd get drunk every night
If it weren't for employers, employment would be alright
If it weren't for delays, the train wouldn't be late
If it weren't for the state, the welfare state would be great
If it weren't for the puncture, I'd be riding my bike
If it weren't for the job cuts, we wouldn't need to strike
If it weren't for the sick people, the hospital could cope

My Friend Hush

I wrote this poem in support of Hush Ainebyona. You can read her story and donate to her fundraising appeal here.

My friend Hush is good and kind
And fair and just – and going blind

Horseplay

This poem is about the murder of 18-year-old, gay, autistic student Steven Simpson - and the appalling miscarriage of justice when his killer was prosecuted. You can read a news report giving more information here; and the resolution adopted by TUC Disabled Workers' Conference here. The poem imagines what might happen if the tables were turned on reactionary judges!

I heard the local judge was having a party at his flat
I thought that sounded tasty, I'll have a bit of that
There'll probably be some posh nosh and a bit of legal chat
I hadn't been invited, but who cares about that?

Knives. Forks. Spoons. Obviously.

Knives. Forks. Spoons. Obviously.
What other arrangement could it possibly be?
There's a reason that cutlery drawers have three distinct spaces
So we can place our utensils in their correct places
It's forks in the middle, knives and spoons to their border
How could you entertain any other order?
And the little slot, sideways, at the front of the drawer

Mood Swings

An attempt to put the ups and downs of depression into verse ...

Bright skies, natural highs,
Summer haze, happy days,
Good things ... mood swings
Dark cloud, not proud
Guilt, shame, down again
Life’s shit, deep pit
Break down, sink, drown,
Gasp for air, nothing there,
No hope, can’t cope
Tunnel light out of sight
Ranting, railing, falling, failing

Feckin Fifty?!

Mick's 50th

For Mick Duncan ...

Some say that Mick is vulgar
Some say his puns are rotten
Just cos he likes towns called Sandy
Balls and Soggy Bottom

We would have met on Titty Hill
but it doesn't have a pub
Or p'raps in Shittington but we feared
you wouldn't eat the grub

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