The previous post inspired me to revisit a poem I wrote on August 9, 2014.
Absolutely nothing has changed.
there is a monster
who lives in Idaho.
his sharp, serrated teeth
are his words of vitriol
he spits out flames
of cruelty and hate
his scaled claws drip with
horrific psychological gore
one hand sprouts gnarled
talons of verbal abuse
the other boasts slashing
blades of emotional torture
he is invisible to the
eyes of the system
he does what he does
with sneering impunity
he is untouchable
and his malice is always
heaped upon three victims
the prey are his ex-wife
and two young sons
Unfortunately, monsters like this live everywhere. Perhaps you know one yourself. Perhaps you are a victim. If you are, know that you are not alone, and that you have the right to live a life free of abuse. WEAVE (Women Escaping a Violent Environment) recognizes five kinds of domestic abuse: physical, emotional, financial, sexual, and spiritual. If you’re the victim of one or more of these, please contact WEAVE at: http://www.weaveinc.org/contact-us *
*If you live in Idaho, however, you’re screwed, because there—nobody gives a shit.
I was crafting this post in my head, planning how I would structure the appropriate, and most effective words to say the things that needed to be said. But then I got her text and I stopped trying. Her words say it all far better than I ever could:
I was a fool.
What was I thinking exposing my pain to them.
I made myself vulnerable, standing there in
front of the police, sobbing, trying to explain
the past 10 years in a few short sentences.
I really thought it would matter.
How could I be so naïve?
I did not want my boys to hear me.
I always try to be strong for them.
They no doubt heard me crying.
I broke down.
If only he would shoot me, I told them,
then you could help.
You could get him away from us.
I could already see it in their eyes.
My futile attempt at trying to save us
had failed once again.
The police had already talked to the boys’ dad outside.
I watched through the living room window as he walked
up to each of the officers and shook their hands.
The devoted dad, the caring father,
hurting and longing
to spend time with his boys.
He played them well. He eagerly handed them
a stapled list of my ‘wrongdoings’ probably hoping
they would handcuff me on the front lawn.
The evil, bitch-of-a-mom
of seeing his boys.
After briefly speaking to him,
the policemen assured me that
he wouldn’t be violent toward me.
They could tell that
after a three-minute
conversation with him.
I answered back that maybe he wouldn’t attack
me physically, but I would prefer it rather than
the years of torment he has put me through.
Don’t you see the pain
in my eyes, the desperation
in my voice?
The threats, the
accusations, the insults,
the mind games.
None of it matters.
Only physical wounds count
in their eyes. He hasn’t broken
any law, committed any crime.
I am in contempt.
I have violated the court order.
My actions today, thinking proactively,
asking for assistance from the police
made the situation worse.
As the one policeman said, it’s
my job to prepare the boys and
encourage them to go with their dad.
I am in the wrong.
I am at fault.
I am a bad parent.
I failed my boys today.
I’ve made it worse for them.
I told them they have a voice
but they don’t.
I told them to speak
their minds because
they are old enough.
They are not.
They are minors,
have no rights.
And I am
I am the criminal.
It is his voice that is heard.
Only his story matters.
After all, he is the victim here.
They always believe him.
If only someone could understand
the damage he has done.
But no one ever does.
I really failed as a
In a big way.
My critical mistake was
trusting in a system that
is severely flawed.
I knew better.
But, I reached out instead.
What a fool.
I hope the damage
done today can
I hope my boys can forgive me.
I hope we can survive on our own because
there is no one coming to the rescue.
I pray that God watches over us and we
can heal from today. I am thankful God
knows the truth and is always with us.
WEAVE (Women Escaping a Violent Environment)
recognizes five kinds of domestic abuse: physical,
emotional, financial, sexual, and spiritual. If you’re the
victim of one or more of these, please contact WEAVE
In the early 1980s, I paid a lot of money to attend a cartoonist symposium in San Francisco All of us struggling cartoonists displayed our scribbled wares, while pros looked it over and made various comments, head-nodded, or simply passed by without making a sound.
I had the Mad Magazine legend Sergio Aragonés pick up one of my cartoons, smile, and mention to the man next to him how much Gary Larson and “The Far Side” was influencing a whole new generation of cartoonists.
The guy Sergio was talking to worked at Universal Press Syndicate, and he liked my stuff, and wanted me to send it in.
I thought I had it made.
I sent in a single-panel cartoon version of Isaac. I got a hand-written note back saying they really liked it, but would rather see it in four-panel strip form.
I instantly went to my boss at the newspaper and asked for two weeks off. I had the time coming to me anyway, so, I used my vacation time to crank out 24 strips.
I sent them in, waited, and got a nice form letter telling me that, ultimately, I had wasted my time, and to have a nice day.
I think some of the Isaac gags are good enough to post, so I’ll run them periodically until they’re gone. After all these years, it’s fitting that this science-fictiony, tech-savvy, scientist character found a spot for himself on the web. Albeit, an obscure spot.