The first stanza of W.M. Rivera’s “Blank Slate” is:
I hate to see that evening Sun bite down
one ruler for another, one America
for the next, the race starts over, fresh
forgetfulness. Blank slate.
The first line immediately reminded me of William Gay’s short story collection I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down, of which the title story has been made into the movie That Evening Sun. Take a moment to read Rivera’s poem and see how it intersects with the following lines from Gay’s short story and the trailer for the film.
Ain’t you Mr. Meecham?
I certainly am, the old man said. He leaned on his walking stick. The stick was made to represent a snake and the curve he clasped was an asp’s head. I don’t believe I’ve made your acquaintance.
I’m Mrs. Choat, she said. Ludie Choat, Lonzo’s wife. You remember Lonzo Choat.
Lord God, the old man said.
We rented this place from your boy.
The hell you say.
Why yes. We got a paper and everything. We thought you was in the old folk’s home in Perry County.
I was. I ain’t no more. I need to use the telephone.
We ain’t got no telephone.
Of course there’s a telephone. We always had a telephone….