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.

How to Cover Up the Evidence

Concealer hides the redness and the bruises
Long sleeves disguise the marks along her arm
A bangle covers twisted wrist contusions
A bandage shields her fractured thumb from harm
Dark glasses screen her puffy eyes and tears
Uncertain smile conceals the broken tooth
The scent he bought her drowns the smell of fear
A well-told story masks the brutal truth
The curtains shut out busybody neighbours
Just punching her emotions leaves no mark
His patronage buys sympathy and favours
Control her movements, keep her in the dark
- His hand across her mouth ensures her silence
- His public image veils his private violence

We Are Not Heroes

We are not heroes, not the valiant sort
We let them take us, fell in to survive
The heroes are the ones who stood and fought

Our bodies packed together frail support
The nudging of her foot kept me alive
But we're not heroes, not the valiant sort

Our best fought underground, our martyrs caught
Resistance from the shadows, fire and strive
The heroes are the ones who stayed and fought

Railway Woman

I am a railway woman, love my job
I take you there and back, I take your fare
Sometimes behind the scenes, sometimes you’ll see me
I fix the track or operate the signal
I clean the station, guard or drive the train
And when you need me, here I am to help.

Sophie's Dad, Kevin

Kevin Gadd's a splendid dad
But last week Kev did something bad
When cleaning daughter Sophie's room
He used a mop, he used a broom
He swept enthusiastically 
But plastic pieces did not see
He vacuumed up her Lego bricks!
Not one or two but five or six!

A Way Through the (Concrete) Woods

Brush off the litter
and kick through the papers
They rush round and flitter
by bricks and skyscrapers 
Serve canapés, canopies
crowd out the sunshine
Apartment blocks, apple trees
loud dappled grapevine 
Dark undergrowth, underground
misunderstood
You touch in and touch out
on your way through the woods 

We've Got Something for That

Your breathlessness feels like asphyxiation
You've missed a deadline for some bureaucrat
You're sighing, crying, busting with frustration
I'm sure there is a therapy for that

The lights and noise and pressure make you dizzy
The heat is burning up the thermostat
I'm sorry but the therapist is busy
I'm sure there is a medicine for that

Somebody's Mum

The sixteenth of May
That was the day
When my name changed (cue: roll of the drum)
My name which had been
Previously Janine
Now became Somebody's Mum

Somebody's Mum!
Put this gel on his gum
It'll help ease his pain when he's teething
Somebody's Mum!​
Aw, he's sucking his thumb
And he twitches his nose when he's breathing

Zac and the Whistle that Blew Back

Zac was smart and Zac was cool
Zac had learned at boarding school
That boys like Zac were born to rule

His minions said, "Oh Zac, in May
Be lord of all that you survey"
Just one small thing stood in his way

Before Zac took his rightful place
He had one minor trial to face
He had to win a running race

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