“The truth is” by Julia in the fishbowl

Tuesday January 28, 2020
9:33am
5 minutes
Pea Madness
Amy Leach

The truth is you’re the one for me
the good love the right kind of open
I could talk to you all day
I could listen to you all night
I want you and you and you and you

The truth is when I wasn’t sure it
wasn’t because of you it was me
When I wondered at the possibility
of something else or different or new
it was because I couldn’t see what
was already waiting at the window sill

The truth is I choose you now but I
have always found a way to your door
I have always had you in the cup of
my hand, the spine of every notebook
and you are so good it’s like I wrote
you this way

But I could not invent this home of
being and the truth is, you have always
been this way
You have always been this kind of love

“The day care lies at the base of an oak tree” by Julia in the fishbowl

Monday January 27, 2020
2:39pm
5 minutes
Gods at Play
Susanne Antonetta

Darling dear is playing at the base of the oak tree, the sweet light is blooming. I wait for her to tell me something is wrong. I see it in her
walk, the way she deflates every step, hunching. I watch her from the
kitchen window, taking note of her little sighs, her clenched fists, her
opinion growing stronger. Sweet light.

I don’t want to ask her because I want her to know what the sensation
feels like. I don’t want to say the words explicitly. Because maybe I’m
jumping to conclusions. Maybe this is how she inhales this life and it’s
different than what I would expect.

All I can do is hold her in the space I give and open my heart to her so
she knows that if she needs to say something she can. I can ask her how
she is without a qualifier. Without a word with connotation or implication.

She is running her fingertips around the trunk of the tree. She is slowly
circling it, her eyes closed and drawn into the bark.

“The day care lies at the base of an oak tree” By Sasha on the couch

Monday January 27, 2020
11:09am
5 minutes
Gods at Play
Susanne Antonetta
I wish I believed in God or grace or the unbearable lightness of being.
I wish I knew the twelve times table and how to build an IKEA bookshelf and how to care for an orchid.
I wish I was a Sagittarius and had a thicker head of hair and trusted more people.
I wish I wasn’t so stubborn and cranky and had less dry skin.
I wish I called my mother more when she was still alive and told her what I’d made for dinner and thanked her for teaching me how to cook for myself.
I wish I’d told Winona that I’d loved her and that I always would and that thirty five years later I’d still jerk off to the thought of her in her school uniform chewing gum.
I wish I read the newspaper and would have the guts to cancel my subscription it just becomes fire starter and who needs to pay so much for that.
I wish that I understood politics and plumbing and women.
I wish I was a homeowner and had been to the Grand Canyon and that I actually liked Kanye West’s music.
I wish that I didn’t want to keep everything sentimental and that I didn’t cry when the Leafs won and that my mother was still here to bring me her pecan granola.

“Curious, maybe, you’ll turn to books.” by Julia at her desk

Sunday January 26, 2020
8:39pm
5 minutes
When You See A Skimmer
David Gessner

One night she stayed up till 3 in the morning reading the 3rd book in the series. V.C Andrews had written some other harrowing tales of brothers and sisters falling in love, and being locked away in an attic while the real world happened all around them and outside them. She was 10 going on 11 and the book was a page turner. A group of young girls, older than her, but still young, were in group therapy and each book a different girl got to be the narrator. She was told to go to sleep hours ago but she couldn’t help it. She laid in her bed soaking up fiction that might have been a bit too advanced for her. Might have been, if anyone cared to ask about the content of her desired reading materials. These girls were teaching her things no one thought to tell her. How they had received unwanted touching from the jocks at their schools, or how their mother’s new boyfriends found a way into their bedrooms at night.
They were an education all on their own, seeping into the glow cast from her bedside lamp, lulling her into a steady hum of alive.

“Curious, maybe, you’ll turn to books.” By Sasha at the kitchen table

Sunday January 26, 2020
5:02pm
5 minutes
When You See A Skimmer
David Gessner

When you’re in the eye of the storm, you turn to books, to education, to the belief that your grandfather instilled in you that “knowledge is power”, and, “the more you know, the less you’ll hurt”. (Okay, maybe not that last one, but, almost.) You get out every book from the library on faith. You search for poems on doubt, on loss. You set up an alter on your oak bookshelf and carefully place stones and piece of birch bark, tarot cards and affirmation stones. You read every moment you’re not working, cooking, shitting, making love. The stack of books beside your bed grows, and you grow too. Armed with knowing, you feel you can handle the crisis, weather the flames burning shingles and Cheerios, ratting windows and toenails.

“Instead, the deer step carefully” By Julia at her table desk

Saturday January 25, 2020
6:04pm
5 minutes
The Return
Rick Bass

So if it’s a game about strategy I don’t really want to play.
I know the word is ‘game’, and not ‘real life’ but there is nothing fun sounding about revealing myself while other people around me skillfully craft their turn.
I don’t think it’s because I have no strategy. You could check my track record and I’m sure there would be occasions where I’ve enlisted my tactical thinking, but this feels different. Like parallel parking in front of a bunch of race-car drivers when you haven’t practiced since getting your G licence back in 2003.
I get nervous that people will find me out and consider my IQ lower than they expected since I usually conduct myself with clever quips and strong insights.
I don’t need people seeing that I crack under pressure and would therefore be the first one voted off the island.
It all comes down to purpose.
I don’t want to be useless in a time of need. When people are all out there trying to survive and keep the team alive, I want to be a valuable member of the team, not the one they use as sustenance after they decide to roast my flesh and eat my senseless brains.

“Instead, the deer step carefully” By Sasha at the Airbnb

Saturday January 25, 2020
10:48am
5 minutes
The Return

Rick Bass

The deer gather in a circle. I see them from where I’m camped under an old arbutus. This is the fifteenth morning in a row I’ve seen them like this. The fly of my tent is covered in banana slugs, and what they leave behind as they move. Blessed beings, these strange soft creatures. I unzip quietly, so as to not disturb the deer – a mix of young and old, female and male. I haven’t peed yet, and have to go. I know that if I move quickly, they’ll scatter. I don’t want to interrupt. I’m on their land, after all. I’m the guest. I bow my head, move very slowly. A buck spots me, narrows his eyes, smirks. I smile, careful not to reveal my teeth. I don’t want to appear a threat, I’m not a threat, I’m a student of their grace. I find a fern three times the size of my body, and pull down my fleecy long underwear. I relieve myself.

“I find myself feeling” by Julia in her skirt

Friday January 24, 2020
6:40pm
5 minutes
Gathering Indigo
Algeria Jensen

full is the word
full comes to mind

busy is a thing I no longer say
saying busy is an incantation for whatever the opposite of gratitude is

full is what I feel and great
great
full

my days start early and roll late
my nights have questions and low lights and some anxiety about what’s coming down the pipe tomorrow but they end with kisses and affirmations and tight squeezes

so I sleep well
I have dreams but I sleep well

I sleep all the way and then some and then some not

I start when I convince myself I best
I still need to convince myself I best

I lay on the mat with the low light
I stretch the night away and say today I am expanding

I write a lot of words down and then I go into the outside world feeling full

feeling full and full and full
feeling full and happy

“I find myself feeling” by Sasha in the Airbnb

Friday January 24, 2020
12:03pm
5 minutes
Gathering Indigo
Algeria Jensen

We land and it’s raining
as it will be for the next twenty three days
or at least
that’s what the forecast says
if you trust the long term forecast

which you shouldn’t

but do.

The salty mountain air hits me
a memory of leaving this place
ravaged and split open
a memory of how small her body was then
pressed against mine
pressed against the space where the split was.

I find myself feeling
there and here
then and now
holding my phone up to take a selfie
her body doubled in size

We make the same face
little wonder
I laugh
she laughs
a bit of seaweed on her chin.

It’s good to return to where things came undone
where she was born
where salt met salt
where water met water
where bone melted to butter
alchemized that which might’ve never been released,
where some of what we grew is buried in an old growth forest.

It’s good to return to this place
in the place we are now
kiss where the burns are
where the burns were,
kiss the earth and feel
the quake of whatever
is yet to come.

“Naturalists are generalists.” By Sasha on the plane

Thursday January 23, 2020
3:01pm
5 minutes
The Art of Wandering
Ann Zwinger

It’s so cold that my breath freezes on the tiny hairs of my upper lip
A boy in my fifth grade class once teased me for my little moustachio
I’ve come to love it though – the downy tenderness of very small strands
now cradling my breath like their newborns
holding on to what I could never

I’ve come for the Northern Lights and for escape from a failing career
a failing second marriage
a failing attempt at reconciliation with my addict brother
I’ve come to see the colours dance the way my heart hasn’t since
before Angela died
before Angela was born
Dead in my womb before she even had a chance to be born

God must be a fickle, discerning and PMS-ing woman 
I remember saying this to Toby
He smiled and went into the laundry room to cry
”Why aren’t you crying?” He asked me for the hundredth time
”I’m not sure,” I said, peeling another banana

I see a splash of azure across the black sky and gasp
I feel a flutter in my belly
my temple
my pinkie
I feel Angela there in the blue
stretching wide across the ice
Death and life held in the bitter
in the cold
Death and life in the colour of losing
in the hue of letting go

“Naturalists are generalists.” By Julia on her couch

Thursday January 23, 2020
9:50pm
5 minutes
The Art of Wandering
Ann Zwinger

Not an expert at anything. never specialized so what do you expect?
I never had the foccus to go all the way with one thing. except emojos. I am an expert when it comes to selecting the most apprpriate emojo. So, for instance, I know how to punctuate using the right one, and I’ll be honest, when I don’t know what to say, I usually just put the sunset emoji. That or the unicorn. Or the dinosaur. Or the spicy pepper.

“Thanks to electricity” by Julia in her office

Wednesday January 22, 2020
3:55pm
5 minutes
World At Dawn
Diane Ackerman

I have been thanking inanimate objects all day. I have been thinking deeply about this and so it comes as no surprise that here it is, the ‘question’ as if it’s supposed to throw me off guard! I have come prepared, Ma’am! I have already practiced this one. The thing that I could absolutely not live without is not electricity, or Britta filter, or my car! I’m more of a reading by candle light, mason jar using, walking kind of person. I am thankful for those things, don’t get me wrong, I’m very thankful. I enjoy having things plugged in when I need to and charge things, I think I’m getting off track. Yes, so the thing I couldn’t live without would be a spoon. You’d think I would say knife or fork before spoon, but knives are overrated, and spoons are gentler on the mouth, but ultimately I just can’t stand getting my hands dirty! I hate touching things, actually, anything, because you don’t know where those things have been or who has touched those, and you know how many germs are out there floating around?

“Thanks to electricity” by Sasha in her living room

Wednesday January 22, 2020
10:16am
5 minutes
World At Dawn
Diane Ackerman

Anna could move things with her mind. I didn’t believe it until I saw her do it. We were on the screened in porch. It was August. Hot into the night, we were all in bathing suits and shorts, skin sticking to the wicker chairs, wicker tattooing shapes onto the back of our thighs. It was Mary, Anna, Elizabeth, Elizabeth’s mother, Anita, Anita’s girlfriend, Frankie, and I. It was a third year we’d all gone up to the lake, but the first that Frankie was there. Anita and Frankie were together the year before, but it was too soon for her to come. Anna had told us years earlier about her “special powers” but we’d all scoffed and poked her ribs, and told her to stop being an idiot. “I could move that popsicle stick just with my thoughts,” Anna said, having just finished her creamsicle. Mary and I exchanged sceptical looks. Frankie said, “Please do!” And took a swig of her rum and Diet Coke.

“No one knows what the” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday January 21, 2020
2:02pm
5 minutes
Lost Dog Creek
Brian Doyle

Don’t call me Dottie, only my lover calls me that. It’s Dorothy to you, and I will stand by it. No one knows what the reason is and that’s because it’s just none of your business. I’m supposed to be a lady, is that right? I’m supposed to follow some invisible set of pre-determined rules made for me by whom? Men? I won’t give you the pleasure of thinking you’ve had me beat. I don’t follow rules no matter who sets them, I play my own game. If you knew me, you would know that I stay true to my word, but you don’t so you won’t ever get that great luxury.

I’m a damned good friend, I’m loyal as they come, and I’m a lion when I need to be–and sometimes just because! If I were man would you be waiting for an explanation? If you didn’t have your own set of preconceived and limiting notions would you be expecting anything at all? I don’t care if you don’t think me sweet, or nice. In fact! I’d prefer it. I don’t like those silly labels, some sort of map that I’m supposed to study to know which place to head, left or right or, let’s be honest, back back backwards.

If you knew me, which you don’t, you would know how lucky you really are.

“No one knows what the” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday January 21, 2020
10:11am
5 minutes
Lost Dog Creek
Brian Doyle

No one knows what the hell’s going on here, Betty, let’s just be clear about that. People pretend, oh do they ever, but no one knows what the hell they are doing! Some have you fooled (Robbie Pendrick!), some really have you fooled… but we’ve all never done what we’re doing before, each time we do something new! Now, do you want to spend your days with someone who pretends that they know (Robbie Pendrick!!) or do you want to spend your days with someone who knows full well he doesn’t know his ass from his head but tries his best regardless? It’s a question of humility maybe, or ego, or something. I know I never went to university (like a certain Mr. Pendrick!!!) but I’ve learned a lot in the school of hard knock life and let me tell you, I would choose a sense of humour and a big heart over a pompadour and a smirk any damn day!

“Still later she folded into herself,” By Sasha at Ideal on Sorauren

Monday January 20, 2020
5:44pm
5 minutes
Peaches
Marion Winik

It’s hard to talk about this stuff and I’m a talker but it’s hard for me, even for talky talker talko me. I don’t know how to explain the radical transformation, but I want to try because I want to be understood. Isn’t that what we all really want? Folding into myself, like an envelope, I try and try and fail and maybe have a moment of shooting star success, but only to me, not to the person I’m talking to… They are still confused. They are still chewing their strange sandwich, sipping their flat kombucha,  cocking their head to the left and then to the right. I guess I could put a letter in my folded envelope self, put a letter to the past and future list, the current spreadsheet, the reminders and Notes in my phone. A letter. Written by hand? Ha. Who does that anymore. Me. I do. Fill the envelope with sparkles, or cocoa, or blow. Send it to someone (you?!) send it to someone and hope they might know what it means, even if I don’t.

 

“Still later she folded into herself,” by Julia at her desk

Monday January 20, 2020
12:42pm
5 minutes
Peaches
Marion Winik

It was blue Monday (a blue blue Monday). It was raining (not outside). It was a couch calling her name, it was a blanket taking him hostage. It was blue.

Blue like the ice cube sitting on her chest (jagged, sharp). Blue like the jeans warn to shreds without ever being washed (why bother). Why bother?

Try and persuade a block to melt, try and switch the light on to fix. Should we?

….

It was a blue Monday and the rest of it coloured the same (the months, the memories).

It was enough for him to sink back into his shiver (blanket or not, go figure) and even after the warm soup, she still folded into herself (folding, folding).

It was raining (inside, outside, beside). It was blue. It was blue for every single one of them.

“Sit comfortably” by Julia on her couch

Sunday January 19, 2020
9:35pm
5 minutes
Sparrow’s Guide to Meditation
Sparrow

comfort is relative
relatives bring comfort
comforting relatives

on Friday my mother sent the news
she called it dreaded
after all the time zones it travelled to reach her
the last time we spoke she told me she was on the phone with him and he switched over to Zia, and then when she wanted to say bye to him he said, “tell her I’ll say bye to her tomorrow”
and then tomorrow was there but he had slipped into a coma over night
and those are the last words she will remember
that tomorrow always comes but sometimes it doesn’t bring everybody from yesterday with it

the day was spent sending love up to the sky, to the family I have lost up until now
and to the family feeling lost all over Ontario and Lozzola
trying to ease whichever hurt they were holding

“Sit comfortably” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday January 19, 2020
5:31pm
5 minutes
Sparrow’s Guide to Meditation
Sparrow

I lean towards the left and the right. I reach up and clasp my hands together over my head. I bend forward. There’s a snow storm in the forecast. There’s a boiled egg on the shelf in the fridge that’s been there for way to long. How long does it take for a cooked egg to go off? Is this something to Google? Something to text mother? Oh. Wait. Mother is dead. I only started meditating after the accident. I used to roll my eyes at people who meditated. Like yoga. Ridiculous. I guess the leaning to and fro is basically yoga. Who have I become? Mother is furrowing her brow, if she has one in heaven. That’s for sure. Goodness gracious. Is this meditating? Is this what it is? I squeeze my eyes shut. I remove my tongue from the roof of my mouth, like the teacher said to do, the one at the Zen Centre on East Broadway.

“Once, two women hiked a volcano,” by Julia on her bed

Saturday January 18, 2020
8:26pm
5 minutes
Lava
Danusha Lameris

Okay you’re not going to believe it but we did it.
We packed light bags, made sure everything we brought could be used for at least 3 things. I’m talking scarf=pillow=warmth=shade. We planned it out, we mapped it out. We knew every divot, every crevice, every turn. And we could do it with our eyes closed. Bobbie wasn’t as afraid as I was. It was her idea to map it out. I’ll admit, some of it, I just let her take the reigns on and didn’t ask any questions. I should mention that that’s an important aspect. It’s not always the pack, or the prep. It’s the trust. I never once doubted her. She never once doubted me. I was honest about the stuff I felt unsure of, but there were things I managed and she accepted. My dad’s a shoe-salesman. I knew exactly what kind of boots and how long we had to work them in. I knew how much food we’d realistically need. The drive, though? That was something we each had in equal measure.

“Once, two women hiked a volcano” by Sasha in her bed

Saturday January 18, 2020
7:21am
5 minutes
Lava
Danusha Lameris

Once, two women hiked a volcano.
It was before dawn. The lava rock was hot.
The air between them was hot.
They hoped no one else would be there.
Someone else was there – an older man,
blue running shoes, grey windbreaker,
bright headlamp. They smiled at him.
Didn’t resent him being there after all.
A witness.

As the sun rose over the horizon,
swollen and unassuming, one woman
turned to the other woman and told her
that she loved her, not as a friend,
as something different,
something brighter, something new.

The other woman thought
this moment would never come.
So when it did, on a volcano,
as the sun rose, as the headlamp
of the man several hundred feet away
glowed skywards, downwards, skywards
again, she fell to her knees, held her face
in her hands. “Sandra,” she said.
”Sandy…”

They drank blue Gatorade and peeled
oranges and offered a small turquoise stone
to the Goddess of the Island, to the power
of the place.

“My neighbourhood in Upstate New York” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday January 17, 2020
5:21pm
5 minutes
Waiting for the Coywolf
Devin Murphy

When I’m looking at all the faces, mewing and meowing, I’m overwhelmed. I want them all. I have to choose one. Choose one, Teri. I don’t say this out loud, at least I don’t think I do. I say it inside my mind to myself, where most of the Talking happens. Gulliver told me to get a cat several years ago. I ignored him. He told me he thought it might help with the night sweats and the sadness. I told him to go fuck himself. Aw, Gull. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. A fat tabby catches my eye, but then I see that she’s a senior and I worry about her dying weeks after loving her and I don’t think I could take that. I need someone younger. Someone more spry and resilient. No one diabetic. No one who requires medication.

“My neighbourhood in Upstate New York” by Julia in her office

Friday January 17, 2020
11:11am
5 minutes
Waiting for the Coywolf
Devin Murphy

We love living in the great state without being a part of the dense population, don’t we? We love it. We love riding our bikes. We love baking cakes. We love petting our cats, don’t we love petting our cats? We love hollering over to each other. We love dropping by for a visit or some sugar or to talk about the neighbourhood. We love talking about the neighbourhood, don’t we? A stroller was stollen right from Carrie Gingerich’s front porch. $2000 down the drain, and for what, they had a garage! We love talking about the neighbourhood. Liz Merridew’s husband caught wearing black gloves and switching them to grey before he entered the house. We love it! Kip Anderson’s dog digging a hole in Garret Fullerton’s prized begonia patch. It’s all about staying current with the daily news. And telling the others, best keep them in the loop too, never know, you just never ever know. Lots of stuff going on in this big bad world, and lots of stuff going on right here, in the neighbourhood we love talking about!

“I find the result” by Julia in her office

Thursday January 16, 2020
9:30am
5 minutes
From a quote by Mark Twain

The result of staring into the window of other people’s stories is that it’s a window. Not a door. You can look all you want, but there’s a connection that calls you at the bottom of that longing, and looking isn’t enough. We think it’s enough, and sometimes, sure, it is, but when we want to see others and be seen, we don’t mean ‘what they’re doing’ or ‘what they had for brunch’. We want to see the hearts, the human underneath the facade, the spirit underneath the human.
This is because we have gotten good at believing that it’s the quickest way, the easiest way to bridge the gap, cross the ravine, is to log in, put our feet up and watch other people live their lives. We think this because it resembles a bonding, a gathering, but it’s not all the way there. We don’t know what’s real and what isn’t anymore. Or we know, and we ignore it. Or we don’t care, and what is worse, my friends. My ‘friends’, my ‘likes’, my online bubble of bursting potential…
The window is not a door.

“I find the result” by Sasha in her living room

Thursday January 16, 2020
9:00 am
5 minutes
From a quote by Mark Twain

I find the results under hydro bills and newspaper clippings on your desk. I don’t know why I’m there, going through your stuff, in your office. Something keeps compelling me to go in there. Read the inscriptions of your books. Sniff your strange bottles of tinctures and brews. Today is the first time that I’ve gone through your desk drawers. More disorganized than I’d guessed, especially the third one down. So much random crap… a baseball, a fountain pen, postcards from places you’ve never been… The top of the desk is more organized, but there’s bills and stuff. And then. The results. You must’ve asked for a copy from the doctor. Make it real. Return to it again and again. Turn the paper over in your hands. Taste the trueness of it. Lick a corner. Turn it upside down.

“They are noble who” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday January 15, 2020
8:08pm
5 minutes
From a quote by the Buddha

breathe deeply
that’s the only requirement here
place your hand on your belly and feel if it’s expanding
and if it’s landing you are one of the noble few

who want to get to the heart of the matter
and won’t run away if things start to shatter

Maybe there’s one more that I missed
anyone who happens to notice that they’re breathing
when they’re breathing and if it’s deeply
then they are the noble who

Pay attention and move on through
as if this was the only moment that counted
here and now there’s nothing found that proves this is how
but someway it proves this somehow

Breathe into the corners of a dusty room
breathe into the midnight and the afternoon
breathe into the creaky floor board or the bones
breathe into the hips and the home alones

breathe first and foremost
and be noble
even if it takes some reminding

“They are noble who” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday January 15, 2020
8:01am
5 minutes
From a quote by the Buddha

They are noble, those long legged wide shouldered birds of prey.
They shake their feathers at the insolence of the cartoon voiceover anthem.

It’s funny how the bones creak when the door opens and shuts.
A primordial memory. A language before tongues and shuttering.

The postural change of a tucked pelvis re-arranged around books,
twigs arranged into a castle, a waterfall of irony.

I won’t remember the exactness, or the date and time.
I will remember how it feels in my mother guts.

The temperature is dropping dropping dropping
a piano on my toes but they don’t crush they bloom.

“What the heck is going on” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday January 14, 2020
9:29pm
5 minutes
from a text message

It’s a lapse of confidence, it’s leaving the body
the confidence comes and leaves, lapses as it pleases
and it is not pleasing to be around someone who cannot keep feet firmly planted on the ground
at the arrival of any increasing winds

When it leaves it startles first the body then the mind then everyone around the body and the mind
and this whole thing begs the question, “what the heck is going on?” When a moment ago
there wasn’t this much snow and the sights far off were clear. When just earlier today
you heard yourself say how much easier problem solving had gotten…

Now what the heck is going on when the body leaks precious esteem? Is there a hole? Is there a hole
in the armour or in the body itself? Or has it always been draining like this, slowly, and for no reason?

“What the heck is going on?” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday January 14, 2020
3:21pm
5 minutes
from a text message

Sometimes in the admitting defeat
or the recognition of letting go of success
we relinquish the thick furs of the binary
of winning and losing

We remove the chains
heavy around a tired neck

We put them down and leave them
curb-side
For someone else to pick up
Sell at a pawn shop
Make a small profit
Good riddance

They’ll go on to have a good life
around someone else’s tired neck

“This is a test broadcast” By Julia on her couch

Monday January 13, 2020
8:04pm
5 minutes
from a text

You are receiving this message because you are subscribed to the Know Better Do Better Newsletter.
As a result of you signing up on our site, you will now be berated with notifications that will notify you when you can be a better person.
This is a text broadcast to ensure that you are still voluntarily providing your contact details so we may inform you of how shitty you have been.
You will be receiving messages tailored toward your resistance, your privilege, and your failures.
Did you click the “I agree” button when reading the terms of service?
Did you click the “I agree” button when we told you we would be using all kinds of archaic and twisted shame tactics to make you feel uncomfortable?
We, at the Know Better Do Better site, are not only compelled, but obligated, as well as entitled to tell you about you.

“This is a test broadcast” by Sasha in her living room

Monday January 13, 2020
7:38am
5 minutes
from a text

I watch a grey squirrel scale a pillar that holds the house up
Ponder the swelling heart in my chest but not with my mind

with my fingers massaging the sinew between the ribs that
hold the quaking strange thing

think about the taste of your body peppery on my tongue
and when will it feel familiar when will it no longer feel so new

I used to count my blessings before bed
list ten things I was grateful for

but now I do it throughout the day
close my eyes and send gratefulness up to the clouds

and down to the roots
You are all ten things today

“what about his own sex life?” by Julia on her couch

Sunday January 12, 2020
5:43pm
5 minutes
Elbowing The Seducer
T. Gertler

He spends his days watching porn
Not nights, not worse
His knees find a bend the way his ass finds a chair
the way he’s seen it done in badly-lit office sets
he can jack off to anything at this point
but doesn’t he stay looking, stay open, scroll, scroll
and isn’t that now part of it?
The decision to do it is inside and not buried, the content
a hot net filled with endless possibilities, every day the internet doubles in size
and anything you can think of is online, but what if he can’t think anymore on his own?
Scrolls and scrolls and until the webpage tells him the scene he wants to watch,
the scene he didn’t know he was fantasizing about, and now it’s not just for him
It’s not just him and the screen, but the scene thought out by other people,
given to him as a replacement for his own imagination

When he closes his eyes, he does not picture people
or women
or people
he sees the roll of the die, the happenstance so easily come by
he can’t come by himself
and isn’t that the hard part, the hardest part giving up the control of the fantasy generator
to someone who lives on the internet
giving ideas to anyone interested

“What about his own sex life?” By Sasha on her couch

Sunday January 12, 2020
7:42am
5 minutes
Elbowing The Seducer
T. Gertler

Beth lost her sex drive when she lost her pubic hair, sometime in 2016. Glenn has resolved himself, and no long asks via a gentle pawing at her back when they get in to bed after Friday nights at the Cineplex. Sometimes they kiss, but even that has dwindled. Beth tries not to feel badly about it – she and Glenn had a lot of sex when they first met, less sex after they got married, less sex when they had the twins, more sex when the twins started school, less sex when they left for college… you get the idea. Like everything in a twenty three year relationship, there are changing tides, ebbs and flows. When she stopped wanting to have sex, four years ago, she felt awful, wondering if there was something clinically wrong with her. She asked Dr. Reid, who said, “Completely normal. Would you like some assistance?” At first Beth thought, yes, she would.

“Go to hell” by Julia on her couch

Saturday January 11, 2020
9:19pm
5 minutes
Age Of Iron
J.M. Coetzee

Jesus and the devil had the same haircut, the same beard, the same laugh. Did you know that?

Did you ever see them shadow on the wall in your bedroom?
I could tell you a thing about that.

Maybe the prayer part doesn’t appeal to you.
It’s not for everyone.

Some people don’t realize that giving gratitude is prayer. That honouring a thing with your attention is prayer.
Praying to the devil?

I could tell you a thing about that.

You might even go to hell and confuse the place for something else since you’ll see so many good people there.

I don’t know if I’ve made that enticing but now you can think about it. All the best intentioned, good as gold people.

“Go to hell” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday January 11, 2020
10:08pm
5 minutes
Age Of Iron
J.M. Coetzee

You tell me that if you were here you would be giving me what I need, the taste of lemon and ginger, hands holding tired feet. My phone lights up like my heart does and I wonder for a breath how I got here, these walls of this house that held my first heartbreak, and my last, the snow making angel kisses on the window that I keep thinking I will see you outside of. The downy pillow of someone who understands below my head, weightless and wise. Lips buzzing in anticipation. There is a quietness to this loudness that makes me feel like I am home. Heaven is here.

“The insufferable arrogance of humanity” by Julia on her couch

Friday January 10, 2020
8:08pm
5 minutes
Big Picture
A. Whitney Brown

Babe says that he doesn’t trust people anymore, cause they like, wear their MO a little too loud. Like Babe says that you can smell some people’s try-hard like they bathe in it and that is so relatable. Like, think about it. You can tell when someone’s trying to like, butter you up, or get in your pants, or like, get you to smuggle some low grade shit. And you can tell when someone’s like performing instead of being. There’s a really big difference actually, and Babe says the insufferable people are the ones who name drop and shame shop. Babe says that shame shopping is like, who’s buying, you know? Like who’s trying to be better by taking on all the bullshit of the known world as if they could carry it on their own?

“The insufferable arrogance of humanity” by Sasha on her couch

Friday January 10, 2020
8:01am
5 minutes
Big Picture
A. Whitney Brown

Remember when I looked you in the eye and told you you were everything? Remember when I looked you in the eye and told you you were everything I wanted?Forget about a book deal forget about a play on a big stage with lots of eyes on it forget about a bakery, a restaurant, a food truck, sharing the nourishment of my heart with the world. Forget about activism and radio shows. Forget about a yard full of chickens and kids. Forget about all of that because you, you are the pearl at the top of the mountain buried in the moss and ice found with fingers that know the way home. Remember when I looked you in the eye and told you I was leaving because you being everything isn’t enough. You being everything is only the beginning but it’s not the end and the end is here and that is it’s own pregnant beginning. Funny how things unravel when you think you know.

“The fires were still smouldering” by Sasha on her couch

Thursday January 9, 2020
4:15pm
5 minutes
The Known World
Edward P. Jones

burning koala bears are only the half of it  i’m not sure what you mean when you say that you don’t know what to think about I’m not sure what you mean when you say this has nothing to do with that those wombat those birds chased from their homes chased from the sky they used to call their own smoke now is it there swan song smoke now is there tomb burning koala bears are only the half of that big business big oil fire rage fire fire the house is on fire the mother is on fire the earth is on fire and we we sit with our small cups of something clutched in white knuckles hoping for more open for more hoping for more.

“The fires were still smouldering” by Julia on her couch

Thursday January 9, 2020
11:33am
5 minutes
The Known World
Edward P. Jones

The haze we’re breathing is a filter on the known world.
The daily dos and don’ts.
The run and hide or stay lows.

Babies are inhaling against their will.
Animals are being wiped out.

Some people don’t think the issue is connected.
Some people would rather focus on the strength
of the inhabitants being weakened.

Will the dying lungs be as resilient?
Will the buried come back to stand on their country’s podium?

While we’re gathered on the beach with our
hearts in our mouths
covered in ash and soot
inching closer to the waves
a long siren blares.

We wish we could say it was in the distance.
We wish we could say it was only one
and not one after another after another.

We are accepting prayers
and money
and help
and
and
and

“But where is your life jacket” by Julia on the 9

Wednesday January 8, 2020
9:00pm
5 minutes
September 17
Amanda West Lewis 

Bev and I stopped watching the flight attendants do the safety demonstration on airplanes. I guess they lost our interest! Bev joked to me the last time we flew that she wished they wouldn’t have to interrupt our show to show us something we’ve seen before! Look at our frequent flier miles! You’ve seen the way some airlines really put a lot of thought into it, right? That’s the kind we’d be interested in. But what are the chances that something bad will even happen? You know how many times I’ve flown, and the worst thing that I encountered was a screaming baby? That’s the worst! Nothing to even worry about. Why put that negativity into our heads?

“But where is your life jacket” by Sasha in her bed

Wednesday January 8, 2020
4:11pm
5 minutes
September 17
Amanda West Lewis 

We loved each other with passion and fire and fear and truth. We love each other the same now, but differently too. We love each other with fatigue and disappointment and folding laundry and a joint bank account and long hours and tired nipples. We love eachother feet touching under the covers, our baby between us, we love each other through her. My body is new, having grown a life over ten months, having birthed a wide-eyed baby girl over forty long hours, having weathered so much of the weathering trying to explain trying to make him understand but I didn’t understand that he wasn’t understood and so couldn’t understand. There is no life jacket. There is only the wild tenacious sea.

 

“God is a really famous spirit” by Julia on the 84

Tuesday January 7, 2020
1:15pm
5 minutes
OMG! How Children See God
Monica Parker

Okay hi God, I know you must be really hard pressed for time these days since you became such a famous spirit and all. I get it, people want things, need things, expect things from you. I also know it’s not always as glamorous as it’s made out to be. Sure, you answer prayers and smite people, sure when we see your crib it’s decked out in pure gold and you have angels everywhere. But that daily stuff can be brutal. People are blaming you for things and it’s not your fault, your ideas are misinterpreted, and you’re like held to some unrealistic standard to be on all the time and to be perfect. I’m not here to ask for much, but if you’re not hiding out today from all the stress, would you mind gracing my sister? She has been struggling lately to find meaning and I think a tiny reminder from you would go a long way. Even a bit of sunshine or something like that.

“God is a really famous spirit” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday January 7, 2020
7:09am
5 minutes
OMG! How Children See God
Monica Parker

D:         Do you have to eat like that?

M:        Like what?

D:        You are chewing very loud.

M:         I’m chewing how I chew.

D:         PLEASE stop.

M:        Why are you – 

D:         Can I have a beer?

M:         No.

D:        Please please please please please?

M:         No.

D:         If Dad were here, he’d let me – 

M:         A bottle. Not a pint.

D:         My camera’s better than yours! 

M:         When did you become a photography expert?

D:        We don’t need duplicates of everything we do!

M:        Alright, we’ll use yours. 

D:         Did you know that you snore?

“How far your eyes may pierce” by Julia on the plane

Monday January 6, 2020
12:55pm EST
5 minutes
King Lear
Shakespeare

And still a river bleeds out the secret, close enough to the house babble babble

Who hushes the mouth spilling and if we can is it now?

Now that we have decided to leave tired skin on the ground for its new job

A spread on the earth and nurture the rest of the ecosystem
Like a fallen tree might
Like a called soul can

The water waits reflecting and there is not a chance for seeing the wrong thing
It does not lie
The deer does not get spooked

We unravel at the sorry bone and spin out out, babble babble
into a good home being built
into foundation strengthening

The river sings it out if we leave it up to her

And we do
We leave it up to her

“In the diary she kept” by Julia on Howland

Sunday January 5, 2020
9:55pm
5 minutes
Sabbath 
Wayne Muller

Mindy Lou kept her diary blue, locked with a prayer and a warning

“Open this and the devil will kiss you all the way to hell and back again”

She wrote from her truest heart, and nobody could part the seas she stirred and roared on

“This book is protected by none other than Jesus Christ and if you want to know deep suffering, turn the page, I double dog dare you”

For inside she stored her secrets, her bashful cheeks, and quiet rumblings

“In the diary she kept” By Sasha in her living room

Sunday January 5, 2020
9:52am
5 minutes
Sabbath
Wayne Muller

My first diary was dark purple with shiny gold and silver stars. It had a lock and a key.  I wrote about the boys I liked, or some injustice that my parents or sister had committed against me. Not much as changed there in regards to my journaling. Kidding! Kidding! Now I write in scribblers from the dollar store. As long as it’s a lined page I’m good. Don’t need anything fancy. Who spends thirty damn dollars on a notebook that’s probably going to end up with coffee rings and boogers all over it? Not this guy. Pens, whole other story. Spend money on a pen and you’re going to feel that great flow for years to come. Ballpoint. Black ink. No other way to do it. No other way. Sometimes, people are like, “Jeremy! You’re not funny! Don’t do stand up!” But it’s not just about being funny. It’s about crafting something, carving away at what you don’t need.

“Those were the rules.” By Julia in Baden

Saturday January 4, 2020
12:47am
5 minutes
The Murderee
Martin Amis

we waited until the white kissed the road and we went out walking

threw on the blanket scarf and made sure our foot prints told the story first

it felt like angels were laying down their wings for us to tread on

those were the rules: open chest, open song, a simple hush and a deep blink

you told me you were going to marry me and I laughed because you have been saying that for years

you know we are already promised, already mapping out the next decade after this beautiful throw

we held our breath under the lamp light as if we might catch the glow on our tongues and become fire

those were the rules: we live and move with new snow

“Those were the rules.” By Sasha at Black River Farm

Saturday January 4, 2020
11:03am
5 minutes
The Murderee
Martin Amis

Our breath freezes before it hits the air.
Icicles circling the morning mist rising
off the corn field,
touching the rays of sun, reaching
finger and toe beams
towards the frozen ground.

Breath holds the promise of the space between,
where we mix and merge, where the us lives.

We are writing a new book.

It holds others than us, lives that we
weave in with our pages, a purple thread
and a red one. We spill and splay,

the breath of these colours,
unsure of the chapter organization,
the editorial style, the font.

A flock of geese flies high in a V above us,
leaders and followers trading off with
effortless grace. I stop walking.

I look back.
Our footprints in the snow, leading us here,
the generosity of the clouds parting. I turn
my face towards the sun,
let her fill me up, let her breath
sketch the outline of my body.

“How far your eyes may pierce” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday January 6, 2020
1:39pm

5 minutes
King Lear
Shakespeare

Stephen comes over because Pete is in Haiti getting the kids there to brush their teeth. Pete isn’t a dentist, he’s an interior designer, but he cares about oral hygiene and humanitarian work. I wonder if that was on his dating prof. Stephen brings fancy sandwiches (one roast beef and one salmon salad and we split both). 

“How are you, my darling?” Stephen takes off the top piece of bun. 

“I’m doing very well, thank you, Stephen, and mostly that’s because it’s so nice to see you.” He knows I’m a dirty little liar but he plays the game. 

“Oh goodie. I hoped this might bring you a bit of cheer.” He gobbles some sandwich.

“The dark thought, the shame” by Julia on Irvin

Friday January 3, 2020
11:40
5 minutes
The Illuminated Rumi
Tr. by Coleman Barks 

In the oversweat, the pace and panic, the perfect string holding this theory together, you are wishing I was someone else or no one here.

You have said it more than once and maybe I shouldn’t let it get to three…
3 giorni e il pesce puzza…mi dispiace

I believe you when you tell me that this is not rest.
Maybe I gave myself more credit than I deserved to be so wanted.

And I know you do not want my apology. Or the smell of me. Or the restless sleeping. Or the wait and wish of my quiet.

You push me away and one half wants to come closer even still.