Virgil Chabre

Desperate Characters


 I met Joe in college
I was a janitor
Working my way through school
He was on a basketball scholarship
Mostly sitting on the bench

I remember the day I met him
He walked up to me
Introduced himself
He was from Boulder City, Nevada
But had lived in Wyoming a few years ago
He had heard my name
Realized our brothers were good friends
His brother now in Vietnam
Was fighting a war
My brother chasing ships on the ocean
Somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea

We became friends
Learned from each other
I taught him about school
He taught me about life
We experienced them both together
I was school smart
He was street smart
Together we were going to
Conquer the world

He then went his way
And I went mine
He went back to Nevada
I stayed in Wyoming

I remember when he called me relieved
That his brother had made it home safely
From Vietnam
A second call a few months later
Was the news his brother was killed in a car accident
Somewhere in California

Joe was a great gambler
A great athlete
And great person
Hidden behind a small attitude

 I let the years slip by
Always knowing I would meet him again
Discuss the past
The many things we did together
Chase girls
Drink Beer
Play cards
Shoot baskets
Share stories

I called him one day
But found out he was not home
He was not out in the garage
Working on his vehicle
Or down at the store
Buying a loaf of bread

 He was not home
Gone forever
He had passed this life
I was stunned
Joe is gone forever
I just hung up the phone
I did not want to know
What happened to him
It did not matter
He was just gone forever

 I knew we would meet again
But I was wrong
I wasted too many years
Waiting for the phone to ring
Until I called him
Now the phone sits in silence
Unable to ring anymore
A friend lost
I had lost the opportunity
To say good bye

 Good bye Joe
I miss you
As our silent conversations

A Cup Of Coffee

 for:  Dr. Howe

 He was a Philosopher

A teacher

A professor 

A friend 

A reader of books

Shelves piled high

With knowledge that filtered

Through his mind

 His walls full of degrees



And an empty picture frame

I always wondered 

What was lost inside the empty space

 He gave me Steppenwolf

Turned me on to Hesse

My life would never be the same

Searching for so much

Through so many pages

 He always said

the only difference

between me and him

Was that he read more books

and though I'll never catch up to him

He put me on a path

to keep reading

and chasing my dreams

 And I realize today

A cup of coffee

Will never be the same

Without him


for:   Merle Haggard

He lived and died
In California
Oildale a small town
Near Bakersfield
The music from Bakersfield
Would be his driving force
But it was more than that
he wore his heart on his sleeve

Growing up in troubled times
He was his worst adversary at times
Trying to solve the problem of loneliness
By searching in the wrong directions
But he always held a guitar in his hands
A Johnny Cash concert at San Quentin
Gave him hope and desire
To find a way out

His loneliness never far behind him
As he took his heart from his sleeve
And put it into a song
Many songs
That reflected his journey
"Mama Tried"
"Sing Me Back Home"
"Irma Jackson"
"Ramblin' Fever"
Endless songs all reflecting his life

A true artist
More than a singer
More than a songwriter
A true legend
Telling his stories
In all the songs
He has left behind
"They're taking you away
Leaving me lonely
Silver Wings
Slowly fading out of sight."*

*from "Silver Wings" by Merle Haggard

 Homeless People

 She said there
Are homeless people
But security
To calm your fears
I do not fear
The homeless
I fear the men in suits
Working on Capital hill
Causing pain
Far deeper than a homeless person
Searching for shelter


It is hard to place you
Into perspective
Leaving an impression
Long after seventh grade
I often wonder
What were you doing
Teaching seventh grade
A graduate of Brown
From the Ivy League
Etymology Etymology

That is what you taught us
You spoke many languages
Always searching for the origin
Of words
But you left us
Before we finished seventh grade
Hitchhiking down the highway
Like so many times
You caught a ride

But you lost your life
Waiting for a ride
On that lonely highway
It was raining and cold
We learned so much from you
About life and death
And the highways we all
Have to travel
In our journey through life


 She was always too rough

For me to reach 

Out and touch

 The darkness of her tan

Followed her

Like a shadow

 And her eyes saw

Through so many

Restless visions

 I found it hard

To communicate with a girl

Who didn’t hesitate

 To say fuck

Or talk about her

Orgasm last night

 When she was

Home alone

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