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
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.
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
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
Written on the occasion of the death of Margaret Thatcher in 2012.
Today I mourn the passing of those who deserve our tears
The many many victims of Margaret Thatcher's years
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
Suddenly, a splash
What made water leap from glass?
Well-aimed seagull shit
May has a sore throat
See her Noes running the show
And her Ayes dry up
Janine joins an array of other poets in an event to support campaigning against homelessness and to raise money for Crisis.
You will also be able to buy the Poets Versus Homelessness anthology, including some of Janine's poems.
Roses are red
Violets are blue
If you're a Tory
I'm not snogging you