Marxist. Trade Unionist. Socialist-feminist. Author. Poet. Speaker. Tutor. RMT ex-Exec. Workers' Liberty. Autie. Bi. PUFC fan.

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

Leaving by Degrees

Submitted by Janine on 01 March 2021 at 13:31

The first gestation period was nine months
The second nineteen years

Friends of a certain age
post restrained emotions on their page
or wall. No, those aren't tears at all

All we can do is wind you up
Point you forward and set you on your way 

I haven't wiped your backside for many years 
And you don't have to wipe my tears

History Lessons

Submitted by Janine on 27 February 2021 at 14:38

after Eventide by the Faith Brothers

At the first opportunity, I dropped history -
lists of dates of kings, queens and gilded greats, handed
out from books by teachers who looked just as down
about it as we felt. It spelt boredom. But I like
it now. Dig, and history is more broad and big
than that. Now I seek out my sisters' and brothers'
stories, walk their streets and wear their clothes

Ribbons of Scarlet

Submitted by Janine on 20 February 2021 at 10:09

- a golden shovel after 'Scarlet Ribbons', for Cush

At the peal of the bell, they don’t tell you there’s
a field that not everyone comes back from. The survivor’s been
fearing that he’ll never stop hearing the gunfire
even when the bunfight has stopped. And there’s
a sight you don’t come back from. He’s been
seeing his mate in pieces and only the drinking
At the peal of the bell, they don’t tell you there’s
a field that not everyone comes back from. The survivor’s been
fearing that he’ll never stop hearing the gunfire
even when the bunfight has stopped. And there’s
a sight you don’t come back from. He’s been
seeing his mate in pieces and only the drinking

Opinionated

Submitted by Janine on 19 February 2021 at 21:03

You expressed your opinion.

In response, I expressed my opinion,
which was different from your opinion

In response to me expressing an opinion
different from your opinion

You shouted
I'M ENTITLED TO EXPRESS MY OPINION!

as though by expressing an opinion
at variance with your opinion

I had been denying your right to express your opinion
which, of course, I hadn't.

Self-Isolation in a Single Hostel Room

Submitted by Janine on 15 February 2021 at 17:43

Day 1 confined to room - no going out

Day 2 do push-ups, Netflix, clean the floor

Day 3 phone friends and scrub the tiling grout

Day 4 a breakfast bag outside the door

Day 5 phone friends and tell them how I'm feeling

Day 6 lean out the window for some air

Day 7 sit-ups, Netflix, clean the ceiling

Day 8 phone friends to tell them I still care

Triolet: Just a Dusting

Submitted by Janine on 08 February 2021 at 12:25

Just a dusting's not enough
There's barely ample white to fight
It's floating free like frozen fluff
Just a dusting's not enough
No handful for a snowball - tough!
This winter's snowfall's far too light
Just a dusting not enough
There's barely ample white to fight

The Prime Minister Speaks on the Occasion of One Hundred Thousand U.K. Covid Deaths

Submitted by Janine on 01 February 2021 at 17:46

Boris is sorry - deeply sorry -
for every life that's been lost

Johnson is worried - deeply worried -
about the political cost

He takes responsibility - full responsibility -
for all of the government's actions

Johnson is possibly - in all probability -
counting financial transactions

Silent Night

Submitted by Janine on 17 January 2021 at 21:00

It's Thursday evening, eight o'clock, no sound
No passing cars or footsteps on the ground
No pots or pans or cheering to be found
As nobody is clapping this time round

When this began, we clapped them off to war
Then came reports that we could not ignore
Low pay, long hours, no P.P.E. in store
Now no-one claps for carers any more