Better Than Truth

//Better Than Truth

Better Than Truth

By Jens Köhler


We had hoped
that truth
would set us free

We believed
“If you See Something, Say Something”
to things deadlier
than misplaced luggage.
Things like:
the destruction of habitats,
human and other;
systems that punish
blackness and brownness and femaleness;
“alternative facts”.
We Saw, We Said.

We had hoped
that truth
would set us free

But in reality
that freedom
is hard to see

Wiser souls than ours
knew the truth
as they prophesied
the end of bees
the end of flowers
the pitiless hungers
of unchecked powers

Better men than me
knew the truth
of their humanity
while a noose
weighed a curse upon a tree

Our years and labors extracted
attentions redacted
we saw faintly
then with clarity
the denial
of our humanity

the truth
plain to see
did not
will not
set us free.


better planning
better alliances
better training
better complaining
better whistleblowing
better faith
better BS-calling
better elections
better never, never, never, never, never, never, never stopping
better ball not-dropping
better logistics
better heuristics
better self care
better standards of care
better sex
better checks and balances
it’s a long list
and should be longer
with the stuff
that makes you you
and makes us stronger
better diction
better encryption
better privacy
better transparency
better leadership
better followership
better rituals
better victuals



better jokes
better pancakes
Come on,
what am I missing?
Fill in the blanks
better kissing
better music
better hospitality
better advocacy
better lobbying
better structural redundancy
better data
better stories
better questions
better showing up
better voting
better tricks
better mortgage lending
better garden tending
better humus
better HUMINT
better humor
better breath mints
better knitting
better maps
better lawyers
better coffee dates
you go out for coffee
come back
I’ll still be going
better investing
better endowment growing
better divesting
better boycotts
which are truly terrible weapons
against feudalism
named for a landowner’s agent named Charles Boycott
who couldn’t even get his mail delivered in the end
better genius
better plod
better art
better succession plans
better representations
better representation
better participation
better capital formation
better information
better fintech
better listening
better policy
better long term memory
better philanthropy
can we please
not use charity
to keep other people’s kids down?
better bets
better interview gets
better farming
better charming
better handshakes
better prepare for earthquakes
better French drains
better benchmarks
better supply chains
better first aid
better patience
better impatience
better exercise
better love letters
better manners
better resolve
better spirit
better aid
better comfort
better gumption
better getting back up



the truth

will set us free.

I live in L.A., grew up in Toronto, and lived in NYC and Montreal. I am a dad to the most amazing, wonderful lads. I have always been an ideas guy. I get excited about the act of creation and organizing people around interesting ideas. My professional background includes writing, nonprofit management, performing and producing. It all feels like the same thing to me. (Well, no. Staying up late to finish a grant proposal does not feel the same as making an audience laugh. But I am always aware of the connection between the grant that raised the money that helped get the butt in the seat so the performer could try to get that laugh.

“Better Than Truth” was first published on the poet’s website, at

Photo credit: Jason Eppink via a Creative Commons license.

By | 2017-03-04T16:25:07+00:00 March 16th, 2017|Categories: Issue 16: 16 Mar 2017|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Better Than Truth