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.

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

Anxiety

A stretched-out band's pulled thin and pale with tension
This wretched land is fertile for portension
Its far-fetched plan is born of apprehension
Turns breath-snatched panic past my comprehension
My rough-sketched sanded smile is just pretension
And level-handed mantras get no mention
Anxiety
Is anguish plus society

Queen Vic (Let's Do It)

Today is Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday, and the media is awash with fawning coverage. Yesterday, queen of entertainment Victoria Wood died. This is a respectful reworking of Victoria Wood's classic Ballad of Freda and Barry (Let's Do It).

Freda and Barry sat one day
Debating the issues that came their way
Freda thinks equality's the way ahead
But Barry likes Harry and so he said ...

Man in the Border Post

With a nod to The Jam's 'Man in the Corner Shop' ...

Turns the closed sign does the man in the border post
Rejects his last and says goodbye to her
He knows it is a hard life
But he has to follow orders really

Walks back to camp does the last applicant
She's not angry with the man in the border post
She is sick of struggling so hard
She says it must be nice to have a home to go to

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