Saturday, January 23, 2010

on the day Robert Parker died

by Derek Richards

we were at the local Market Basket,
shopping for cheap groceries,
immersed in two-for-one deals,
stocking up on frozen dinners
and juices that sip
well with vodka.

the annoying buzz of an incoming text message
caught me staring at three
different brands of sliced pepperoni.
just heard, robert parker died. oh no.

when i was 13/14 i would roam the dead streets
of tiny Essex, Massachusetts,
a liter of Wild Rose Wine
in my denim jacket pocket.
thinking bad glorious thoughts,
big cities and publishing contracts,
record deals and pretty blonde women
willing to learn to love

Spenser For Hire was not a favorite show,
i knew nothing of Hawk, Susan Silverman
or the true nuances of alcoholism.
it was ache, want, loneliness foremost
in that young, delicate mind,
to think that a famous author would one day
describe these very streets....

of course, i'm far older now,
but i still dream about walking dead-town
streets with a cheap bottle of wine
inside my jacket,
and on the day Robert Parker died,
it could've even been a good idea.

i'm lost.
like Jesse Stone, Sunny Randall,
and sometimes tough,
like Spenser himself,
or Hawk,
looking my best with good intentions
wrapped in bad-ass consequence,
solid knuckles and
the brilliant-vice of once again
saving the day.

when he wrote about Jesse struggling
with the idea of never having another drink,
i chewed on the same ice-cubes.
when Susan involved herself with
another dangerous man,
when love outweighed pride, heartbreak
and control,
i allowed myself to almost weep
because i knew what he really wanted to say.

Hawk will still be standing guard,
Mr. Parker,
Susan will still lead Pearl-the-wonder-dog from the bedroom once the dialogue
gets too frisky,
Jesse Stone will always wonder about
Jennifer and Sunny will never
go a day not trying to live up to the
reputation of her father.

on the day Robert Parker died
i decided on pizza rolls,
salisbury steak dinners and a new pack
of cigarettes.
i'll mix the vodka later,
sip the wine like Jesse would sip
his Scotch and soda.

and when Pearl-the-wonder-Dog comes
scratching at the door,
i'll tell my sweetheart to have patience,
she's just another important
character in an imperfect life.

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