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

Beirut, 4 August 2020

Beirut explosion

First came the plume from hangar twelve
Cellphone cameras swung around
and pointed to preserve, for fear
that even worse might happen here

Next there came the second blast
Flattened buildings, shattered glass
raining pain on those not dead already

Flounce

Flounce

Why should I give the time of day

to folk who take their ball away

Especially if that taken ball

is punctured, flat and very small?

Funny Not Funny

Charlie Elphicke

Charlie Elphicke:
a gift to the comic
Fancy the fun for
the writer of ribald rhyme

Lampooning his lechery
and wittily wagging his words
Absolutely absurd!

But no laughter lines from me
Sexual assault is serious,
is virulent, has victims.

Sordid story:
Naughty Tory.

Cats and Dogs

cat and dog

Why can't dogs be more like cats?
Scare off mice and drive out rats
Don't sniff bums when folk come round
Make that lovely purring sound
Don't break your stuff or chew your shoe
Dig a proper hole to poo
Or maybe use a litter tray
Cope alone for several days
Don't flood the floor each time they drink
Clean themselves so they don't stink
Wipe their paws on welcome mats

Farewell

goodbye

One last time before we split
let's go and sit
in the grassy bit
in the churchyard astride the log
throw sticks for the dog
and look at the playground
and the place where the nursery stood
Before we're gone for good

Coronavirus Has Caught Bolsonaro

Jair Bolsonaro

He was socially close, untamed, unmasked
His magic medicine uncasked
He didn't care so he never asked

He'll brush it off, he's so athletic
The tough guy, leading man aesthetic
No chance it makes him empathetic

He'll rise above like Kilimanjaro
Always survive like the Cult of Skaro
Covid can't hurt Bolsonaro

Your Place

Joe at his flat

Last year, I wrote a poem (a pantoum) called 'This Place' about visiting my son in the adolescent psychiatric unit where he spent four months (read it here).

He now has his own flat, living independently with support. So I decided to write a follow-up poem of the same length in the same style, hoping that this will illustrate the wonderful progression.

Free Osime Brown!

Osime Brown

Teenage, British, black, autistic
Prosecuted by the Crown
Against the evidence, convicted
- Free, oh free him: Osime Brown

From care to care, from place to place
Twenty-eight times moved around
Neglected, let down, failed, displaced
- Free, oh free him: Osime Brown

Fearing exile to Jamaica
Left at four, it's unknown ground
Prison cell a spirit breaker

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