Best Friend

Which friend

Best for your career
Best for your self-esteem
Or humility

Best for Fridays
Or weddings
Or divorces

Best for you

Or best for me
Best for inspiration
Best as an example
Of what not to do

Best as only
Best as crowd

Best as someone
Who follows dreams
Or is pursued by
Demons and debtors

Best owed
Or owned
Or old

I am none of these
To you
Or from you
Or of you

I refuse to be a custodian of your masks
I’m tired of your estrangement
I remain as your reflection
But I am not your friend

First Crack

Cracked plaster is compelling
It is the locus of all wisdom
It is the dwelling of the infinite

This is the focus point that I am drawn to
When the mind
Caught in re-boot
Needs to start again


This is a crack in a wall
It is shallow by human standards
Deep as a canyon if one were very 

A dry gulch connected to others
Sisters and brothers
Who have shifted great tectonic plates
That are smaller than my hand


Trying to re-think
To find

A Mind mulched 

By Real

This isn’t real
This is one of those things
You read about or see
And marvel at how nobly
They cope with their adversity

And find their faith


What lives inside the cracks
Behind the plates
Sandwiched in the warmth and dark
Between the wall and paint

The mortar
Mort d’art 
More Dar

Please let there be now

The Truth About Teapots

Teapots are known to be somewhat pretentious
C'est vrai
They say

Teapots are known to be somewhat morose
Tea ducts
Tear ducts

Teapots are known to be somewhat contentious
Slake thirst?
Milk first!

Teapots are known to be somewhat grandiose
Tea cups
Mere cups

Least civil of all the cupboard's crockery
They frequently resort to mockery

But some of us
Less easily awed
Can see that they
Are deeply flawed

It isn't just the one who pours
Do not forget
The teacup
Saucer or the spoon
They too are dreamers

Most respectfully yours,


Your humble creamer

The Graphic Novel: Performed

Jackie's Not a Real Girl: A Play for Voices by Nichola (Nicki) Ward 

Wednesday November 23rd 2011
 Doors Open @ 7:30pm - Curtain at 8pm - Symposium after the performance

 Buddies in Bad Times Theatre
12 Alexander St 416.975.855

The (true) story of a transwoman who is sent to a men's prison. She survives … Almost

Based on a true story, Jackie's not a Real Girl traces the events surrounding the life, imprisonment and death of a transgendered sex trade worker. The narrative is developed by using the testimony of the people around her. These witnesses to her last days include a best friend, a barfly, a cop, a prison warden, a social worker and a John.

The performance lasts 1hour 15 minutes and is performed using minimal staging and back projections from the graphic novel. It's a fantastic performance space (absolutely perfect)... But it is fairly small... so it's probably a good idea to reserve your spot(s) in advance

Tickets are $10 and are available from Buddies' box office 416.975.8555

We Question the Utility of Humility

Even when we almost
Have that taste of grace

Even then we cling to faith
That place of no-face
Numbed by all we’ve done
Scared of standing still
And yet too scared to run

Humble is for losers
Who have no sense of purpose
Who have no strength of character
Who ought to make demands
Not doing everything the world commands

Of course these are just the lies we need
And this so-called honesty
Provides a basis for security
It’s out of necessity we believe

This painful paradox

All power
Is ours
But suffering
Is brought to us by others

Not bought
With bitter fruit of false desires

We needed all of our denials
To hide us from the trials of our truth
To provide ourselves permission
For commission and omission
We heeded

The broken glass of shattered dreams

Solutions that now become the problem
Old tools of wars that now
In peace
Are flaws

To be at peace
Demands a different strength

To be happy
To be human
To be whole
Is not a role

It’s real

The Gorgon Rose

I cannot see the coin but I can feel its heft
Blessings be upon you, your grace and excellence
Each modest tribute of a few small pence
Is great to me
But a florin or a crown as alms!
I am bereft of words
As I am of sight

Yet I would be the more so in your debt
If you could also briefly lend me eyes
I seek a statue in this grand square
It is my place of usual and humble work
But in the bustle of this day
I am lost - Misplaced
Of course, I would not touch your hand
Nor dare to touch your sleeve
But my ears can hear the velvet of your cloak
And I would follow that
If you allow

A thousand thanks again
How foolish I
Am found by you
A stranger guiding me to my
Sometime familiar place:
To the South West of this galleried Piazza
To be shielded from the Tuscan sun

Do you see it there?
Shaded in the square
Raised slightly from the ground
An open stage
Do you see the graceful columns?
Holding up the heavens

Look up
They say the portico is gracious no?
And see above
The gabled female virtues carved on high
Facaded fabled:

Do you see the theatre filled with frozen testament?
The witnesses of lanced and stolen love
The raped Sabine
The dead rejected Patroclus
The violated Polyxena
The beaten horseman Nessus
A chorus
Of stories
I am companion to these ancient marbles
Thankful for your accompaniment
To be among them

I can tell by the smell of dust and masonry
We are among them
Do they seem titanic?
Not mortal like you?
They are both

Mortal in fact - since they
Were killed most surely dead
Heroic in the way
That they were murder'ed

Let me with my guttered

Bronze noble
Fallen slain

The Gorgon Rose

The Living Testament of Roy Antonio Jones III: A Eulogy

To my brothers and my sisters and my cousins in-between
To those of us who are tired of being ghosts
Unheard … unseen
Listen close and be uplifted
We have been …sifted
By the gods
We are… the gender…gifted

But lest I go astray - Let me just say
…Just for today (that)
This is my intention
To engage you in an intervention

To do so let me tell you ‘bout a case beyond prevention

Roy Antonio Jones the Third was killed
On August First
This year - The birth
Certificate said that he was born a boy
And I don’t know if that is true or not
Trans or not… that’s not
The point
That’s not my joint

South Hampton in New York - On a reserve
This child got more than anyone deserves

Sometimes the force from a back hand
Takes a year or two or more to land
Sometimes twenty years or more have passed
Before we feel the full force of that blast
Sometimes we face a damn-near fatal bullet
Long since we saw the trigger finger pull it

Roy Antonio Jones the Third did not have to wait so long
Roy Antonio Jones the Third
Born of the Shinnecock Indian Nation

Was being cared for by a certain
Pedro Jones (a man of no relation)

On August First - Late afternoon
Pedro grabbed the child by the neck
Strangled and
Then beat the child to death
“I was trying to make him act more like a boy…
The murderer said

“Instead … of like a little girl…”
That’s what the perpetrator told
The cops
As to why he didn’t stop…

Why he killed a child
Who was barely
Six… teen … Months …Old
A toddler who was less than two

For heaven’s sake
You can’t lay claim to any guilt or gender
At that tiny… tender age
A life so brief

…Such grief
That … I couldn’t even feel my outrage
I’ve seen too much of this to be surprised
Not least of which
Through my own ears and eyes

I’ve heard those words thrown at poor Roy
Why can’t you be - More like a boy?
Don’t you know
That those are not your toys?
It is perverse
For you to love
The things the other sex enjoys

Of course, today I know that those were lies
But they leave marks
All those punches that were thrown
I still own the bruises and the scars

Sometimes the force from a back hand
Took a year or two or more to land
Sometimes twenty years or more had passed
Before I felt the full force of that blast
Sometimes I faced a damn-near fatal bullet
Long since I saw the trigger finger pull it

And though my old abusers were long gone
Insanely I became accomplice to a prior act
Aided and abetted
Vainly brought old harms… into present fact

Discovered that
For me
…There is no difference between attempted homicide
And a suicide… Besides a slight delay in timing
…Nothing much
They’re just the same excepting who’s assigned the blame.

But, I survived the echoed pain I heaped upon myself
Somehow escaped that circular and pointless game
And lived my pride
…I’m never going there again

And then I hear the fateful news
That Roy Antonio Jones the Third
A Child: Has died

And inside my sadness – I struggle to remember to be grateful
I’m alive
And search for sense in innocent and senseless death

– In time I search and find
A truth
This truth - and my true aim

I must not bear the burden of a perpetrators’ shame
I must share the absolute foundation of reality
That murder is perverse profanity
That they
Not us are clinically insane

And though they try to get me to confess
That I am mad – By definition of transgendered-ness
I must not buy their crazed mythology
That I am a victim of some strange pathology

Thank you Roy for reminding me to honor our humanity
To value what it means to be humane
Thank you too for reminding me just who is sane
And who is guilty of insanity

And finally for forcing me to face the truth of our own duty
To negate the ugliness of hate
We must embrace the truth of our own beauty

Oddly Woken

A phone call

Did I catch you sleeping?
They Say

Just my morning meditation
I lie

The phone call ended
Now I doze

dream of gods

The Music of the Spheres

Someone gave you a book
The Music of the Spheres
You passed it on to me
You said
This is more your cup of tea

You died
And I tried and tried
To read the bloody thing
I only understood
That I was thick
That it had something to do with Pythagoras
And chromatic intervals
And music

I checked the edges
Of the pages
You’d only read the first part
You crafty bugger

Every now and again
I’d pick it up
For a little while
And even in my frustration
Before I set it down again
I’d smile

One day I came upon a bookmark in it
Just a small scrap of paper in it
Your handwriting on it
A single word upon it
Writ clear

My name

A name that I had never heard escape your lips
(You never… ever … said my name)
But you wrote it on a little slip
And left it in a book

Music to my eyes
If not my ears
Perhaps this was the music of the spheres

Bohemian Dry Cleaners

The streets are too well-swept to be considered squalid
Perhaps it tries too hard to be

This clapboard ghetto sat behind
Spadina’s downtown – Chinatown

And it’s sad testament
That recent refugees
Disregard its cardboard seediness
And live elsewhere

Though old, old immigrants
Mainland Portuguese and Azores
Owners of cheese stores
Seem to live
With new age wiccans, cyber punks
Under-performing performance artists
Under shopping at the
Next to Reggae historians
Compassionate cannabis clubs

Too many bookstores
Too many strident coffee shops
Too many vegetarians
Of the proper sort
The punks who
Are too too polite
So all the grunge looks like it has been dry-cleaned

And if Toronto is New York
Designed by someone Swiss
Then Kensington Market
Is Amsterdam
Without the hookers and the water

Despite its smugness and its neatness
Its well preserved graffiti and its too too tidy soul
And even though it isn’t ugly
I love it anyway

Poetic Polemic

Poetry Lesson
One: Poems are not lessons
Two: There is no two

Private Screening

Anonymous eyelids
I fail to see a label
I fail to see storage instructions or directions

Distracted by imagination
My mind plays movies
Absent of production credits

(Subtitles are unnecessary)

There is nothing to disclose

No mug shot license plate
No date of arrest

No benchmark of
A … “Best Before”

No insight

I erase this all

I open my eyes


Now it is a Writing Desk

It is a writing desk…

It was a kitchen table
Back then
When I was unstable
Back when
I pushed her till she finally told the truth

Seven years before
We bought the table new
Alright, alright
(She said)
It’s true, you’re not my type
I’m not attracted to the what you are… become

Struck dumb
Not with surprise but rage
The ages that she’d lied

The steak knife by my side
Cried out
And over-handed raised it high
I stabbed the guiltless pine

Wanted to do violence
Some sense of vengeance
To scar as I was scarred

The tip broke off embedded
The argument was ended

Today the knife is gone
And so is she
The shrapnel dent is all that’s left

Some days I think about removing
This remnant shell
Bomb fragment from a former war

But that would change no part of what it was
And change too much of what it is… become
It was a kitchen table

…Now it is a writing desk

Why Toothbrush Holders Move


Some were tall
Others short
I think at least 2 were left-handed
Most spoke German
Most loved me

All were mother to me
All left


Schooled by past infections

Scars imitate

Smiles that don’t quite reach the eyes
Eyes that do not match the lip’s devotions

Laughs that seem contrived

In one
Aged five

Dust Proof

The couch
Saved for


But cushions
Dimple with time
Sun-faded colors
And quiet dust
Mark passage

A failed premise

Insistence that the cure for
Vita Brevis
Is deferred existence

The reminiscence
The too too late discovery



Take Care

This is how I take care of myself

I like sand between my toes
That somehow knows
Where to go

But it forgets to stay behind
And fills my socks with grittiness

Warm, warm, warm
But not too warm
And moisturizer if it’s peach and therefore not greasy

Self care sounds like a supermarket buggy
That you use to help yourself to
And soft cheese
And flowers
And sometimes cat food
To care for your self and your cat

I don’t know how self-care works
It’s not a switch I can turn off
It’s not a room I can step outside of
It’s not an old photograph
It’s not a book that someone else wrote

So I don’t understand it
But it doesn’t seem to matter

Holding Hands

You wouldn’t hold my hand
I sensed – Not saw – Your
Creased Forehead
Deduced from the set of your Jaw
The nape of your
Neck and the bravery of your shoulders
That refused to cry

I was wrong

So unforgivable
That my memory
Has saved me from the details

We walked beside each other
And realized that the pace was wrong
I had a limp
Caused by the lost counterweight
Of your hand in mine

I crooked a finger in your belt loop
Swung in time with your angry hips

Unconvincingly you tried
To brush me away
Instead our palms nested in each other
Followed through

Our bodies didn’t hide
But forced a grudging confession
Or our mutual need

And therefore
Our love

Bring Sadness to My Side

Bring sadness to my side
Sing through the night and to the dawn
Of my people’s tears
Of my people’s home – My people’s home

But this loss of mine
Is of my love, my best belov’d
My song is a country without end - A sea - A land / And…
Such is fate, such is fate
Such is fate, such is fate, such is fate

All that I miss – Is this
My Lady and my Life
She is the dream that is my own
Where I am born – Where I am born

Bring sadness to my side
To where I guard my soul
To deep within where lies my hope – That dares to air / If…
Such is fate, such is fate
Such is fate, such is fate, such is fate