We barely recognise ourselves

We barely recognise ourselves

Years of running wild

Too poor to get the right kit

Rubbish waterproofs

Letting in bog water

But having fun anyway

And here we are

With our proper outdoor threads

With a real good rucksack

And we can’t stop giggling

Because now we are proper

Real total fraggles

Oh yes

Fraggle sticks for us

Fraggles marching uphill

With the right equipment

We’re flying along

And we barely recognise ourselves.

© Jennifer Wilson

Curtis

Curtis

Your young life mirrored grandads

Whose mother left father and children

You both had an older sister Jennifer

You both had nothing but you did have love

Neither of you knew what to do with it though

Grandad was rescued by Nanna

But you would be abandoned again

Grandad gave love like secret gifts

He’d say come here, look at this

And pull from a pocket an Old Penny

A piece of string a pound coin

A quick burst of hug and a hair rub

But you give love like a tsunami

Like a close range blast full force

Leaving shards of shrapnel deep inside

Like you couldn’t get enough

To feel real and complete and safe

When you played up as a kid

Grandma would call you Careless

She couldn’t have been more wrong

Frustration and anger you had

From losing your mother protector

You cared too much

You still do

You love too quickly

Too much and too deep

And this life is so hard

And so full of hurtful people

It will keep punishing you

But the one thing that matters

Not money, a job

Not houses and cars

Is the love you push out

Trying to balance the pain

This world caused you

I always wanted to save you

But it was you who saved me.

© Jennifer Wilson

My brothers and sisters

My brothers and sisters

Are my best friends

Among them are some of the most dedicated

Professional wrestlers

Well-meaning hair dressers

Thieves and benefactors of

Food, clothes, toys

Highly trained combat

Personnel and the deadliest

Ninja ticklers on the planet

They can stick their foot right in

And make everything better with a hug

They are tour guides, nurses,

Rock stars and paparazzi

Teachers, snitchers,

Button stitchers

Pillow,

Water,

Fight.

© Jennifer Wilson

Nany

Nany, Babcia, Julia

Polish Grandmother

Not mine

But ours

Then to be loved by

And to love

Now to miss

A painful space

Your face

Soft soft cheek I kissed

Soft soft hand I kissed

Your blessing at my back

Your smile

Hard come by

But joy burst

Your giggle

Cheeky humour

Your life

Hardship with glamour

Impossible to sum up

But such belief

Who will pray for me now?

© Jennifer Wilson

JENNIFER-REFINNEJ

When it happened the J dropped

The J-em J-oy gone

Slowly layers were taken from me

The EN-ergy ouch

Then my mind

That IF of life

That happy wondering

Thinking thought

Words and wisdom

Dreams and desires

And so abrupt

The fur the FER

Lost my coat

Worse than shorn

Eyebrows and lashes

Are human are living

And then comes time

Time

Tick tock

Day month year

Time

Life time

So I start to rewind

The tide of time

And it goes the same way

Easing in

So slow

Slow

And so the return

The fur the FER

Looking more healthy

Less weird day by day

The IF is more subtle

Grasping at what…

The EN-ergy is rising

Like a disco hit

I don’t know what’s coming next

But the J is elusive illusive

Aloof and

In hiding

In storage

Safe keeping

But I think that with

Time

Life time

The J will return.

© Jennifer Wilson

My Dad

My dad

It’s hard to explain

How much I care about him

His life is for mine

He sacrificed

So I would not

He made space and time for me

He made me an equal to my brother

I can do anything because my dad says so

So I do

And it works

And I am because of him

And the sacrifices he made for me

So young when I came along

So brave and hardworking

So strong and silly in equal measures

Made me laugh till I cried

Made me laugh when I cried

Made the pain a little less

Distracted me

Made me fearless

He says he is proud of me

But he should be proud of himself

It was funny when my hair fell out

And I looked in the mirror

Wow there’s my dad!

Button nose, blue eyes

Blinking back

If I can be a parent like my dad

Hard working and strong

The way he keeps growing

Always learning

And if I can give myself

And make my child

Feel so secure

I will be proud

And thank my dad.

© Jennifer Wilson

Campervan

Box of dreams

Wardrobe to other worlds

Part of the gang

We wave at our own

Like crazy people

Because we know

We share the joy

Perfect joy

Of freedom

On wheels

Where every day is perfect

Every meal the most amazing

Every moment with you

In that perfect little place

To keep us together

Trapped in the same room

Never bored

Always happy

Happy like

You can’t remember

What sad feels like

Just filled to brimming

With joy.

© Jennifer Wilson

Bethany is my sister

Bethany is my sister

She lives in my old room

She’s messier than I was

Even though she’s got a vacuum

She likes to sit alone there

In the attic way up high

And think about interesting things

Like what it’s like to fly

She likes to read and read and read

Just like I used to do

But she’d like a box of chocs as much

To munch her way right through

Beth’s a definite animal lover

And animals love her too

But mum and dad cannot believe

She’ll ever clean up their poo

That’s why I have to do it

Though they both said ‘NO!’

I’m smuggling a hamster in

So then they just won’t know

But if it starts to smell there

High up in her room

Mum or dad might storm right up

And bash it with a broom

So Bethany be careful

Make sure you keep it clean

‘Cause hamster pie is not so nice

With straw and cold baked beans.

© Jennifer Wilson

 

My Grandma who art in Bradford

Water rhymes with batter,

Cook rhymes with duke

Your pantry is a cathedral

Of desiccation and sprinkles

We call the glory ‘ole.

Your wisdom is linguistic joy.

You’re not forced to know the answer.

In hope there’s two chances.

Not many T’s in your language.

When I’m with you I talk like you,

My grandma.

More a ma to me,

Teaching me,

Clothing me,

Tough on me,

Helpfully,

Constant. Strong. Brave.

Vulnerable. Needed.

Life of ‘ard graft.

A mill worker, factory worker.

Asthma, smoker.

Nothing spicy.

Cheese and crackers our shared joy.

Fish and chips every Friday.

The odd lasagne will pass your lips.

I force my love on you.

I hug you don’t hug back.

But I know you adore me.

You are cruel if I don’t ring.

You want me to need you.

I do. Grandma I do.

More than you could know.

© Jennifer Wilson

Bradford Woolens

From all over the world they flocked to your mills

To caress the fleece of your flock,

Frizze at Frizinghall

Luster at Lister

Shearing at Salts

Worsted at Whetley

Bales at Brighouse

Combers at Cannon

Dyeing at Drummond

My city would sing to the spin,

Now our mouths are plugged, gasping.

© Jennifer Wilson

 

When mummy left

When mummy left

I became mother

To father, sister, and to brother

She left so little

She left so much

She left and never kept in touch

What could we do

What could we say

To one who simply went away

We cried so much

We cried for years

Until we had run out of tears

Your face cream jar

And broken jewellery

Were all you left to remind me

Who it was

I was replacing

A muddled aim which I was chasing

I was just nine

They, three and six,

I helped get dressed, fed Weetabix

My fun and games

I put away

I grew adult in just one day

The teachers knew

They said ‘no tears’

I toughened up over the years

I met a boy

A sweet, kind thing

I pushed and pulled and punished him.

I could not trust

It could not be

I so in love, loved completely

The years they passed

He never left

A child’s fears he put to rest

I was not hers

She was not mine

Our link together lost in time

Time doesn’t mend

Time doesn’t heal

A child’s loss, pain she could feel

I lost my mum

I lost my me

Both child and mother in one body

I see all, hear all

But could not see

The way I could return to me

Could not forget

Could not forgive

A little girl struggling to live

Until one day

I realised

We saw the world through the same eyes

I am her

And she is me

I should have loved unconditionally

Myself a child

Left, lost, alone

I picked up, held as if my own

I held on tight

I soothed and then

I found that I was me again

One person

One woman all my own

A shock to see how much I’d grown

My life is good

Love, friends, family

Because I set my small me free.

© Jennifer Wilson