Citizens, not less generous than myself, let your most precious moments be employed in causing the past to be forgotten; let all my fellow-citizens swear never to recall the past; let them receive their misled brethren with open arms, and let them, in future, be on their guard against the traps of bad men.
On a very personal level, I have fond memories of spending a lot of time in the Library of Congress working on my collection of poems ‘Native Guard.’ I was there over a summer doing research in the archives and then writing in the reading room at the Jefferson building.
I know that my tendency is to be linear, and I’m trying to find ways to subvert that. And so in ‘Bellocq’s Ophelia’ my device for subverting it was to tell the story and then to tell it again; it always circles back to this one moment, and it’s not linear, but it’s round in that way, and much of ‘Native Guard’ is like that.
It is the part of a fool to give advice to others and not himself to be on his guard.
Morality arose largely as an empirical defence of the individual and society. Ever since intelligent beings began to be in contact, and consequently in friction, they have felt the need to guard themselves against each other’s encroachments.
Guard your roving thoughts with a jealous care, for speech is but the dealer of thoughts, and every fool can plainly read in your words what is the hour of your thoughts.
Fortitude is the guard and support of the other virtues.
Writing ‘Native Guard,’ I didn’t know I was working on a single book. I began writing that book because I was interested in the lesser-known history of these black soldiers stationed off the coast of my hometown.