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, Rising and TenFootCity; and in anthologies Spies4Life, Poems for Jeremy Corbyn and (forthcoming) Dark Bones.

Winter of Love

Rather to my surprise, this little poem of mine won a place as a 'featured entry' on Hour of Writes for the theme Winter of Love, and will be published in its magazine, Ephemera:

'Tis the season for reckless folly
To deck Mr Hall from Accounts
For showing you how his sausage rolls

'Tis the season for making out
You've a large and loving family
With perhaps the odd eccentric

Liberation

An acrostic poem ie. one in which the first letters of each line spell out the key word:

Looks like this, does it, liberation?
Isolated from supplies, routes closed, blown from the skies
Barrel bombs bowled along alleys
Enclaved civilians tweet from their graves, farewells from beneath
Rubble, the stones where their homes used to be
Aleppo cries, crumbles, defeated, they see
Tyranny returning, triumphant, burning
Inhabitants gathered, culled, or running for their lives
Out of the city, fleeing as they wouldn't if they had actually been freed
No, this is not what liberation looks like.

Big Breast Cancer

While identical in its pathology to general breast cancer, Big Breast Cancer has its own peculiar symptoms and foibles.

Big breast cancer:
Basically, biologically, clinically
Bog-standard breast cancer
But brings complications

Bad bastard cells
Build big clumps
Burrowed, buried, concealed
Beneath buxom cover
Before being caught

Another Country

The NHS is not another country
Going to clinic's not a trip abroad
Its purpose is for treating not for hunting
No frontiers from reception to the ward
I have to cross the town not cross the oceans
A hospital's no tourist trap now, is it?
Rather than the needles, stitches, lotions
So many other sites I'd rather visit
Not smuggling drugs nor medicines nor pills in
The staff are healers, they're not border guards
I've nothing to declare except my illness
I don't send postcards, I get Get Well cards
- They treat my sickness not my shade of skin
- Why should I need a passport to get in?

File Under Self-Harm

She's marked her again and the scars will preserve it
​She's causing her pain 'cause she thinks she deserves it
She isn't a file on a case worker's shelf
She isn't self-harming, she's harming herself

Hyphen, inversion may make it sound neater
Straight like the burns from the bars on the heater
She's the subject, the object, the hurter, the hurt
The rejecter, the reject, the victim, the perp

On The Show Today

"If a man ever raised his hand to me
I'd be gone."

Roars and applause from the studio audience
Put the shame-faced guest in her place

And the waves of clapping 
Wash the blame
From him to her

Hallelujah President Trump

Once more with apologies to Leonard Cohen ...

It never was a secret plan
The rise to power of Macho Man
He never used a subtle schmooze to woo you
Behold the hero of the hour
The billionaire who fought the power
The phoney rebel called out Hallelujah

Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah

Ode to SuBo

The media is reporting that Susan Boyle may never perform live again, and that this is because of her Asperger Syndrome - implying that it is her autism that is the problem rather than the barriers that the entertainment industry puts in the way of autistic artists.

From struggling years her star had come to rise
When those judgemental judges were surprised
A frump like her could have a splendid voice
The admen and accountants full rejoiced
But putting on that mask was such a drain
Now Susan may not sing on stage again

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