Friday, July 8, 2016

Ray Charles Sings Georgia on My Mind Whether You Want Him to or Not

I saw Ray Charles perform
at an outdoor concert years ago.
All I could see of him from where I stood
was a flash of silver sequins
as he rocked robotically back and forth,
face frozen in a grin,  performing slick renditions
of Unchain My Heart, A Fool for You,
of Hit the Road Jack, and of course,
that overbearingly maudlin melody
Georgia on My Mind.
He was old, it was understandable
that he no longer burned with youthful fire.
And people want to hear the hits,
to bask in the familiar. But still I kind of wish
I wouldn't have been there
It wasn’t worth the bragging rights.
I would have been better off
going to my grave without having seen
that once great man reduced to an empty shell,
a hologram, a husk shuffling blindly along
beneath the moonlight, beneath the pines
along the road leads back
to someone that never really was you.

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