Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Goodbye/In The End

When I started this blog several years ago I thought it might be a good way to share some of my poetry and writings with others. I thought a few hundred people might see it at best. I had no idea that it would be viewed by over 50,000 people from around the world. The poems I shared on this blog are from a collection of poems written over the last 45 years. I did not share many for several reasons, one (and the most important) is that they are too personal and might cause pain to those who are involved. This is the last post I will make on this blog. It is the one poem that I would like to be remembered for. I will leave the blog open for those who want to view it but there will be no new posts. I will still be available at my email address, wfrhoads@aol.com for anyone who wishes to communicate with me about my writings. I would love to hear your thoughts. Now that I am semi-retired I would also enjoy doing public readings for anyone who wanted me to do that kind of thing. Thank you.

In The End

Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone’? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.”   Luke 20:17-18
when I was 18 I was the real deal,
the high school, jock, superstar,
the golden boy
with the golden touch,
class president,
everything to everyone;
it was an image
I spent most of my adolescent years
I could have married the hometown girl,
bought a house in my parents neighborhood,
spent the next 30 or 40 years
making a comfortable living,
gathering after work at the local bar
with all the other hometown boys,
living off old press clippings
and exaggerated sexual conquests,
collecting interest on Friday night touchdowns
and Saturday morning hangovers;
instead I did everything I could
to kill who and what I was;
I wandered,
I searched,
I smoked,
I drank,
I snorted,
I embarrassed,
I lied,
I deceived,
I failed;
I burned every bridge,
I slept with whores,
I broke man-made laws
and spiritual taboos,
I sinned against man,
I sinned against God;
but in the end
I was still here,
stuck in the same skin,
unable to escape,
unable to change,
unable to be anything
but what I was,
trapped by the truth
living inside;
in the end
I became exactly
what I was destined to be,
and You were still there,
in the end
You put Your arms around me,
quietly whispering;
“Don’t be afraid, just believe”
forgiving the beatings,
forgiving the humiliation,
forgiving the suffering,
forgiving the pain,
forgiving the torture,
forgiving the isolation,
endured by You,
for the evil committed by me;
in the end
You forgave the sins
of a world not worthy
to kiss the dust beneath Your feet;
in the end
You shined Your light before me
and my eyes were blind no more;
in the end
I will stand before the throne of Your glory
and the joy shall be forever.


Monday, January 15, 2018

I am going

the rain outside reflects the mood;
the world slows down,
unable to sustain the momentum,
we hardly take notice;
moments pass us by
until there is nothing left,
betrayal becomes inevitable
behind treacherous walls of
sardonic infidelity,
complacency swallows up her victims
like leftover children in lonely dumpsters,
filled with jewels of the night
and other bedtime stories;
I am going,
but I’m not going
quick enough;
youth lies wasted,
energy a one-way street,
we can never go back,
we can never return to places
lost among the shadows;
somewhere within the ruins
strangers lie empty and drained,
hidden by lost memories
and walls of battered abuse;
forever searching,
forever wondering,
forever knowing,
losing sight of the prize,
forever lost in the fog;
sometimes words say it all,
sometimes words are all there is;
sometimes words aren’t enough.



I would do it,
but the finality of it all
stands in the way,
the uncertainty,
the hesitation,
sometimes I think
this is the way it should be
all the time;
beyond feeling,
beyond caring,
beyond knowing,
beyond rewrites and
beyond judgment,
beyond misery,
beyond charades,
beyond lies,
beyond self-delusion,
beyond love and fantasy,
beyond wondering and doubt;
beyond self;
this poverty has
another face,
another kind of soul,
quiet and alone,
frightened and confused,
the end can be so blind,
nothing more than
a whisper,
spitting and sputtering,
laughing and pretending;
you cannot love anyone,
until you have learned
to grieve for everyone.


All That is Left

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.   John 15:13
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”   John 15:18-19
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.   1 Corinthians 13:1-13
love is not about telling
someone what they
want to hear,
not about being positive
or keeping your mouth shut,
not happy thoughts or
living in fantasy worlds
which do not exist;
love is telling someone
what they need to hear,
whether it means they
will love you in return
or not,
love is sometimes
struggle and pain,
sometimes sorrow
and tears;
sometimes torture
and death;
the world does not understand
love such as this,
just as it does not understand.
that someday,
when the flesh has withered
and decayed,
when knowledge and wisdom
are gone,
when hope and faith serve no
all that will be left
is love.



I try to sleep
but cannot,
I think of you,
I think of your strength,
I think of your big city
and I only love you
I think of a moment when I
held you in my arms,
your arms around my waist,
telling you what a strong little
shit you are,
your laughter,
looking into your eyes,
how I should have kissed you
right then and there,
told you I loved you,
carried you into bed,
made you mine,
but did not;
it is one of the biggest regrets
of my life;
feeling stronger,
I come to the painful
that holding on to
memories, and things
I will never control
is doing neither you
nor I any good;
life goes on,
it always has,
it always will;
I have to let go;
once again,
I hold on to the one
who has carried me
through time after time,
more than she will ever know,
more than she ever should know,
she deserves better,
but this is the best I can do,
she has known enough pain
for one lifetime,
unable to grow,
forever trapped in time,
by the monster who stole
so much;
I will protect her with my last
breath, even if I must protect her from
perhaps some things really are
better left unsaid,
but sometimes we say them
and for this,
there are no regrets.



In the night
I remember places
I have been,
forgotten things,
small things,
things which only
You know;
I feel Your wondrous touch,
Your magnificent mercy and grace;
all my life
You have led me
to this moment,
now I am ready,
now I can comprehend,
now I am Yours completely,
now I belong to You
do not let me be a well
without water,
do not let me be a dark, angry, cloud
within the approaching tempest,
do not let me walk down paths
leading to death,
do not let me be pious
for piety sake,
let me be a living spring
from which all may drink,
like a mighty raging river
Your unconditional love
flows from within,
a brightly blazing beacon
set upon a hill for all to see,
let Your marvelous light shine forth,
fill me with the splendor
of Your precious spirit,
allow me to be a messenger
of Your glory and truth;
praise Your holy and beautiful name,
my King, my God, my Savior
my Everything.



we live in midnight institutions
complete with limited resurrections,
searching for bedtime heroes and
untraveled imperfections
among lost and forgotten
they never knew
just how deep the cut
really was,
they never knew
what was taken
on that day so long ago;
how could they?
early morning memories
fill these empty corridors with time,
reaching out for just one more
in this never ending reality,
taking hold of the mindless insurrections
thrust upon this bodiless soul
with decided impropriety,
so full of tight lipped incognito bullshit,
drowning in pools of molten
metal mania;
sometimes it must be this way,
sometimes this is all there is,
sometimes we all go down;
sometimes it’s all right.



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