“Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight and The Pips


A popular song. Released one year before my birth. Mother played the 7” constantly. Complicated thoughts of mother. Yet, an irresistible desire to go “back to find/To find a simpler place in time.” There are photos of me all limbs leaning into my mother. Wide smile. Deep dimples. An easy way of being. Something forever gone.


When I left for college, I took a box of her records. Mainly Temptations, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Four Tops, & of course, Gladys. Most of them scratched & sleeveless.


I think of mother, my own dreams “that someday [I’d] be a star.” My failed ambitions & the anxiety to be a good father to my daughter. I’m sure I’ll play her this song all time. Family. In spite of itself. Perhaps, when she’s older she will think of her grandmother & her father.


A projected memory of a future that does not yet exist.

-Steven Karl

KarlSK copySteven Karl is the author of Sister (Noemi Press, 2016), Dork Swagger Extended Play (Muteant Sounds, 2016) and Dork Swagger (2013). Recent poetry and non-fiction has appeared in Breaking The Lines (Flying Guillotine Press), Jellyfish, Entropy, Real Pants, The Volta, and The First Time I Heard My Bloody Valentine. He lives in Miami and teaches at Florida International University. 

Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.

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