Marxist. Trade Unionist. Socialist-feminist. Author. Poet. Speaker. Tutor. RMT ex-Exec. Workers' Liberty. Autie. Bi. PUFC fan.

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

Trickle-Down Economics

Submitted by Janine on 24 September 2022 at 09:57

Give handouts to the City not the town
Award the top the most, the bottom least
and in the end, the wealth will trickle down

So feed the finest to the howling hound
The sparrow pecks the droppings of the beast
Give handouts to the City not the town

Allow some crumbs to tumble to the ground
Please overload the table for the feast 
and in the end, the wealth will trickle down

Rage

Submitted by Janine on 22 September 2022 at 14:02

I want to pour my anger into a poem.

I want it to drain from my scorched throat and flow down my arm, into my fingers, through my pen and onto the astonished page.

I want my anger to desert my body and become art, even if it leaves my fingers, my arm and my throat as cold as my heart already is.

If my anger became a poem, it would be the fiercest, hottest, largest, most vicious and powerful poem ever.

Villanelle: A Step or Two

Submitted by Janine on 17 September 2022 at 15:31

Autumn falls and storm clouds brew
The post each day brings season's chill
The queue moves on a step or two

The last demand is overdue
It stands unopened on the sill
As autumn falls and storm clouds brew

They stand in file to give their due
A strung-out wait to pay their bill
The queue moves on a step or two

The Queue

Submitted by Janine on 15 September 2022 at 10:18

A fortnight back, complaining about
having to wait behind two others
to use the cashpoint

Now, happy to stand all day and night
to file past a box
with a crown and a cushion on top

and inside, the body of
someone you never knew -
it's the nearest you could ever get to her

It's the ultimate display of Britishness:
an awesome combo of
queueing and deference

To Show Due Respect ...

Submitted by Janine on 09 September 2022 at 10:00

Companies have suspended polluting the air
Governments have suspended cutting our care

Energy firms have suspended price rises
Landlords have suspended nasty surprises

Employers have suspended exploiting our labours
Lobbyists have suspended cashing in favours

Bosses have suspended giving the sack
Oh, they haven't? So, why have we suspended fighting back?

 

End of the Line

Submitted by Janine on 01 September 2022 at 17:11

Walk down locked and empty streets alone,
arrive for start of shift, it's bear-the-brunt time
to serve some others' families not your own
Going from the home front to the frontline

Frozen pay, now tiny, ice-cold 'offers', 
red-bordered bills alert approaching deadline
The firing line ignites key workers' coffers
Going from the frontline to the breadline

Price Rises

Submitted by Janine on 28 August 2022 at 19:10

We've put our products' prices up,
that's what we chose to do
The power firms are doing it,
so we can do it too

We're going to charge a fair chunk more
to everyone who buys
If they won't pay our higher rates,
we'll cut off our supplies

We need the extra income for
the bigger bills we get
And that's how we will justify
the tariffs that we set

Useful Tips in a Cost-of-Living Crisis

Submitted by Janine on 11 August 2022 at 13:31

Heat less, eat less, fry less, buy less, waste less, taste less, nosh less, wash less, bath less, laugh less, phone less, own less, chance less, dance less, rave less, save less, drink less, think less, smoke less, be broke less, shout less, go out less, keep less, sleep less, groom less, consume less, pay less, holiday less, need less, breed less, give less, live less …

Summertime

Submitted by Janine on 13 July 2022 at 15:58

after Gershwin's song from Porgy and Bess

---

Summertime 

and the cost of livin' ain't easy

Bills are jumpin'

and prices are high

Oh, the bosses are rich

and the workers are strugglin'

But hush, little baby

don't you cry

 

One of these mornin's,

you're going to wake up strikin'