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 and Justice: Poems for Grenfell Tower.

That's a Tory

(To the tune of Dean Martin's That's Amore)

There's a knock at the door
Then a snort, a guffaw
- That's a Tory
With a suit, blue rosette
And a snarl, you can bet
- That's a Tory
When they hurt the disabled
Say they're strong and they're stable
- Some story!
When they tell you to blame the distressed and the lame
- That's a Tory!

Janie's Drones

The Clash's Janie Jones from another point of view ...

 

She's saving up for a college course, whoa
She gets the cash and her boyfriend scores, whoa
She isn't helped by the vice laws, no
She don't mind her whoring job, no

Bystander

Bystander. Standing by.
Something in my eye.
I didn't see it. I couldn't say.
Not my business anyway.

Maybe he hit her.
Not really sure.
And I don't think I saw
what happened before.
Maybe she provoked him.
What's a bloke
supposed to do?
I didn't see.
I never knew.

This Poem is Sponsored

This stanza is sponsored
by a weekend bonanza
of two-for-one deals
on our easy-cook meals
from the town's happy eater
which has paid for its meter

All of its sponsors
have generously given
a big wodge of dosh
for their brand on its rhythm

A local disk jockey
has sponsored a trochee
(That's a tum-tee-tum beat
with some well-branded feet)

Know Your Rights

This is a public service announcement
With Poets on the Picket Line
Know your rights
All three of them

Number one
You have the right to strike
Withdrawing your labour is a fundamental principle
So long as you get not just a majority in a ballot
But a 50% turnout and a 40% threshold
This right is brought to you by a government
elected by 24% of the electorate

Disaffected Middle-aged Women

A new sociological category to scare the establishment ...

Somewhat like the angry youth
But rather longer in the tooth
We're gobby, feisty, loud, uncouth
We're Disaffected Middle-aged Women

Kicking our heels against the wall
Plotting in the shopping mall
Go tell them we're not playing ball
We're Disaffected Middle-aged Women

Warming His Coals

My (unsuccessful) entry to the 2017 Stanley Spencer Poetry Competition run by the Cookham Festival, celebrating its 50th anniversary and Spencer's 125th. It is about Spencer's 'Shipbuilding' paintings.

 

Frank was the Furnace Man, earnest and warm
The firebox of Shipbuilding, heat where there’s cold
He’s Chalmers by name and embraced for his charm
Stoking the fire made him strong in the arm
His gift to his workmates whatever their roles
Was letting them dry with a seat on his coals

What We Want

I thought the pay
Was quite OK
When I first came through the door
Then I paid my rent
And it was spent
And now I want some more

The company's board
Say they can't afford
They've got no more to give
But like Olly Twist
More than subsist
I want enough to live

Rachel

In memory of a young friend ...

There's chaos at the centre of the classroom
a big huddle, loud voices
Teenagers talking politics
Rachel making choices
Labour member, Corbynista
Feminist fighter, socialist sister
Equality champion, bigotry battler
Opposing racism, Black Lives Matter
Canvasser and whistle-blower
Demonstrator, meeting-goer

How Leonard Learned

The true story of how Leonard Cohen learned his guitar style ...

Leonard walked in Murray Hill Park 
And heard a young man play
Circled by listeners and courting them
In some mysterious way

With black hair and acoustic guitar
By the tennis courts stood he
Picking out a lonely-sounding
Spanish melody

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