“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 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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