Tag Archives: Books

LCFC Journal #19: A Rose in Ghana – The Summary

21 Jan

IMG_5585Last summer, I had the pleasure of spending 3 weeks in Takoradi, Ghana as a teaching fellow for a program called Limited Resources Teacher Training or LRTT for short. During this program, myself and 19 other teachers from various parts of the U.S. led professional development conferences for in-country teachers. The objective was to provide an equitable exchange of ideas through effective teaching practices and strategies that would allow teachers to provide their students with various opportunities to exhibit growth and progress. The other part of this exchange was for fellows to also grow and develop skills in leadership while bringing confidence and a reinvigorated sense of passion back into the classroom for the following school year. Well, let’s just say I got a little bit of everything in between and more out of the experience.

 

I’ll never forget my first night in Ghana as I flew into the city of Accra and met my team leaders that would guide me and the other fellows throughout our three-week journey. The name of the hotel we stayed at was the Pink Hostel. And after being given my room key and winding down for bed, I heard a rooster crow for the first time in my life at 3AM. Wow, you’ve come a long way from New York City was all I could tell myself. After waking up the following morning and meeting the rest of my cohort, we spent an additional night in Accra before clamoring our luggage and selves into a bus and driving four hours south to Takoradi, the city and district where we would be working in various schools.

 

From that point onward, I fell in love. I immediately felt right at home and took in the sights. Dirt roads, cattle, chickens, roosters, goats, wild dogs, and children waving at us and expressing elation in seeing foreigners in their town. I’ll never forget telling myself to soak in all of the experience and live within the moment. Once we arrived at our next accommodation spot in Takoradi, I remember whipping out a camera that a close friend let me borrow and started snapping away at everything I saw. Never in my life had I experienced true authentic culture of that magnitude and it truly did something to my heart, mind, body, and soul.

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After getting settled, I promised that I would go out and find some roads or trails for me to run on (a summer routine I developed over the past few years in which I run three miles per week). Once I familiarized myself with the trails surrounding the guest house, (which were often dirt paths and hills) I savored every moment taking in the sights and appreciating nature at its finest. On my nightly runs there was a song by Kanye West and Kid Cudi called “Kids See Ghosts” that I played religiously. And sometimes by coincidence and sometimes by choice the track would blare through my headphones on one of my trails as I took in the scenery of the village from a high altitude. Personally, I felt as if the song was the soundtrack to life in Ghana and the continent of Africa as a whole. Especially, during a refrain in which the featured guest artist, Mos Def says, “Civilization, without society/Power and wealth with nobility/Stability, without stasis/Places and spaces”. The first few times I ran and heard the song, it felt good just listening to the tribal rhythm of the song. But it wasn’t until my third or fourth listening to it on one of my daily runs in which I realized that the song was a vivid reflection of everything that I had been internalizing on that hill and throughout the trip in general. I think the idea of civilization existing without society is a beautiful thing. Or in my perspective, a community that exists in which there isn’t pressure to be politically correct or forced to adhere to the expectations of a society. Seeing Ghanaians in their natural environment allowed me to see people that co-existed peacefully no matter the religion they followed (Christianity or Islam) or sizes of their body. I saw civilians that were just that. Civil in how they sold, marketed and distributed their own goods. Picked their own crops. Built their own houses. Cut their own weeds. All without direct control, pestering or surveillance of the government. It was certainly refreshing to see and made me realize how simple living can be. If only this could ring true in certain parts of the western hemisphere.

Lastly, having the opportunity to visit a few schools to work, collaborate, observe, question and engage teachers was an experience I’ll never forget. From the structure of a daily school day, to the recesses in which students were free to run without a care in the world truly made me evaluate the education system in America and what we could do to be as structured, focused, on-task and engaged with school. I’m not saying that Ghana has a perfect education system, far from it. What I’m saying is that it’s a shame that a country considered to be third-world holds such an immense value and appreciation for education. From the headmasters/mistresses, teachers, all the way down to the students themselves. It leads me to wonder the many flaws in U.S. Education as well as how we as a people interact with students as parents and faculty. Do I have an answer to this dilemma? Of course not, as it is without a doubt a systemic issue that we as a country have to bring to light and discuss openly. Nonetheless, if Ghana with its limited resources can get this done then I’m sure that in America we can begin taking the right steps to get this done as well.

 

Appreciation. That is the word I feel most connected to when I think about my time spent in Ghana working with teachers, students, and observing civilization there in general. I’ll never forget that I saw two boys on my last conference day holding hands walking on school grounds as the day ended. I’ll never forget that I saw a classroom of students be in awe as they gathered in a computer lab that had only two computers and revel in its appearance and functions. Lastly, I’ll never forget how kind the people of Ghana treated me. From the teachers, the cities I visited (Takoradi, Accra, Cape Coast) and the fact that I got a chance to return to the site in which my ancestors were captured more than four centuries ago. I remember running into a group of young men down in the Cape Coast and one of them at a party on a Friday evening told me, “Welcome back brother Kevin. America is where you live and were forced as your people were displaced but this is your home. Welcome home.” And with that being said, I couldn’t have agreed with a much better statement and personal lesson. I was home. A moment in time that I’ll never forget.

 

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KEVIN ANGLADE is the author of mercy for murder(s) in brooklyn, a detective fiction novel. He was featured on NBC’s The Debrief with David Ushery in 2014 where he provided insight and purpose about small-press publishing. Anglade holds an A.S. in Theatre, (Queensborough Community College) a B.A. in English (Brooklyn College) and an M.A. in English (Queens College). He currently teaches 7th & 8th grade English Language Arts in Hartford, Connecticut and is the author of the poetry collection “Life Comes From Concrete”: a poetry memoir (2016).

Find him online at:

http://www.kevinanglade.com

Twitter/IG: @velevek

 

 

LCFC Journal #17: “Vehicle To Truth Pt. II”

17 Nov

20171101_080151This year marks the 10th anniversary of my late sister, Alexandra Anglade’s passing. And although so much time has elapsed since then, I still find it hard to believe that she’s no longer living on this earth. What is more is that I find it hard to believe that ten years have flown by in a blink of an eye. At the time of her sudden demise, I was a sixteen-year-old kid living within the means of my existence. By that, I mean doing teenage stuff such as playing basketball, talking/singing to girls (by trying to emulate Chris Brown & Mario) figuring out high school and trying to regulate a bad acne problem I had at the time. Again, being a kid with no care in the world.

And so, when Alexandra passed, it struck a chord with me and hit my family hard. None of us had been expecting it as she was only twenty-six at the time (the same age I am now, how ironic) and filled with life. I think knowing that fact in itself has made this ten year anniversary a special one for me. I’ve been able to use the time in between to step back, think, reflect, and grow. If anyone would have told me that I’d survive that experience and live to tell the tale I would have never believed them but somehow someway I managed to persevere. Below, you will read an excerpt from my poetry collection/memoir, Life Comes From Concrete 1.5 that chronicles the day that changed my life forever and forced me to grow up and look at life differently. This is undoubtedly the window into my spirit.

“Pecan Honey”

 

   To start off my family dedications, it wouldn’t be right if I opened this section without focusing on the person who partially helped place me here. The next poem you will read is titled “Aquemini” and it is symbolic of both myself and my late sister, Alexandra’s zodiac signs.

When writing this poem, I remember writing it because I truly missed my sister’s presence. In fact, to this day, my younger sister and I still talk about her as if she still exists. Alexandra was pretty much like a friend to me as well. I can even go as far to say that she also played a motherly role within my life in a lot of ways.

She taught me a lot about respecting women and how guys should go about talking to girls. As I write this I can recall one time that she was taking me and my little sister Samantha to the movies when I opened the building’s door and mindlessly let it slam right in her face. Man, when I tell you she let me have it, boy she let me have it that day!

“Boy what the hell is wrong with you? When you see a girl coming towards a door, you hold it for her, end of story,” she said angrily.

Look, when I tell you I felt like crap, I felt like crap. At the time, I was either ten or eleven-years-old and really didn’t understand what she was saying but now as I look back upon that moment, I do. What she did helped transform me into becoming the young man that I am today.

Due to the fact that my parents, being Haitian were never really into the American customs of fashion and appearance, Alexandra would often go out of her way to buy Samantha and I the latest gear in clothing apparel and sneakers. Although I was only a kid at the time, I definitely appreciated all of the things she would do for us. Now that I am a young man, I feel like if there is anyone who owes her so much it’s definitely me. I mean, if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be writing this book of poetry as we speak. I’m sure of it.

I am saying this because when Alexandra was about eight or nine, she told my mom that she wanted a sibling. And so, one day she made my mom accompany her to the grocery store to purchase candy.

When she left the store, she saw my mom talking to the man who later came to be my father. You see, my parents had been together in the seventies before my sister was born but they broke up once my mom decided to leave Haiti in order to travel the world. Therefore, I find it funny that they reconvened outside of a little grocery store in Brooklyn. To me, it only proves that I have a purpose and that I’m supposed to be here.

Now all of this changed in the year 2007. It was the year I turned sixteen. At the time I was a junior in high school, had very good grades, and most of all, I was just being a young, care-free, fun loving teenager. That summer, my parents, little sister and I went on a relaxing vacation to Montreal, Canada but by the time we got back, things quickly began to unravel.

By the end of August, Alexandra would stop by the house often and complain to my mom of some red blots that covered her arms. She complained of itching and how much it was bothering her. After my mom had done her best to help and noticed that it had gotten worse, she then urged her to go to the hospital.

Furthermore, one thing led to another and before we knew it, my sister was in and out of the hospital like clockwork until she finally went into a coma. I remember my Dad going to see her in ICU as often as he could because my mother just couldn’t bare it. On one specific visit, the doctors informed him that Alexandra was suffering from a bad case of meningitis. I remember him taking a picture of her on his cell phone and the person I witnessed lying upon the hospital bed was totally unrecognizable and a completely different person. My sister was a heavy set young woman but had ballooned twice her size in a matter of a month. As much as I wanted to visit her, my father refused to let us go because he said that no one under the age of eighteen was allowed in the room.

A few weeks after, I got a taste of life’s harsh realities for the first time on Saturday, November 17th, 2007. I remember leaving church that afternoon as Samantha and I had just finished choir rehearsal and were headed home. The church, which is relatively two blocks away from my house wasn’t far off as we walked. Upon arrival, my Dad told Samantha and I that he wanted to talk to us. As he sat us in the living room, I wasn’t prepared for what he was about to say next.

“Kids, I’m sorry to tell you this, but Alexandra passed away at ten o’clock this morning,” he said calmly.

To this day, I remember how everything just felt extremely surreal as he said it. Immediately my world began to plunge into an abyss. Samantha, wasted no time as she immediately began to bawl like a baby on the couch. After a few seconds of digesting the shock myself, I remember that I had joined her.

“Mwe konen ti moun, mwe konen,” said my Dad in Haitian Kreyol. His voice cracked as he held us both.

After a moment of consoling us, he went into the kitchen to check on my mother. It was then I remember telling Samantha while in the midst of my tears:

“You know, you hear about or see these things on the news all the time but you never think that it could happen to you,” I sobbed in between tears.

My sister thoroughly agreed and nodded her head as she continued to cry.

A few days later after everything had come to pass, my sister was buried at All Saints Church in Great Neck, Long Island. I remember watching her casket being lowered into the pit thinking, “Wow, she’s really gone, she’s never coming back and I’m never going to see her again.”

I remember as people began to leave the gravesite, I walked back to the family car thinking to myself, “It’s up to you now Kev. No more being a little kid. You’re going to become something great in this life. You’re going to make sure that your family is well taken care of, and that they can all live peacefully and happily. Nothing is going to stop you. You’ve got to do it and will do it. No more games. It’s all up to you because you have to become somebody. You have no choice.”

I truly believe that since that day, I matured far beyond than what I ever could have envisioned for myself. I deeply wanted to become something in life. And not because my parents were pushing and influencing me, but more so because I needed to… I wanted to…

I realized then that life wasn’t a game and I was going to take matters into my own hands and succeed at all costs. I mean, besides being my half-sister, Alexandra (or Sandra as we called her around the house) was my friend, supporter and a powerful motherly figure. If she never lived, neither would I have. Without question, I know I owe her everything that comes my way.

    A poet/social worker friend of mine named Felicia Henry has a wonderful blog that I advise you all to check out and for one blog post in particular, she wrote about how her car which was originally her father’s became her vehicle of truth. The post resonated with me deeply because like her father (who passed a few years back) Alexandra’s car, a 2005 Hyundai Elantra has become my vehicle of truth as I have started driving it this year.

Within the car she has an Aaliyah postcard (late R&B songstress) that hangs from the visor mirror and every time I see it, it reminds me of Alex. Every time I drive I feel as if her spirit is always with me and I couldn’t imagine a day in which I would not be able to see it dangling from its cord. For me, it represents everything that Alex was. Cool, funny, fierce, charismatic, caring and beautiful. And I write all of this to say that ten years later I wouldn’t have it any other way. Through both her vehicle and my heart, her spirit and truth lives on forever.

Note: A majority of this post was previously published as an excerpt from Life Comes From Concrete 1.5 via Flowered Concrete

 

KEVIN ANGLADE is the author of frankly twisted: the lost files, a collection of detective fiction. He was featured on NBC’s The Debrief with David Ushery in 2014 where he provided insight and purpose about small-press publishing. Anglade holds an A.S. in Theatre, (Queensborough Community College) a B.A. in English (Brooklyn College) and an M.A. in English (Queens College). He currently teaches 7th & 8th grade English Language Arts in Hartford, Connecticut and is the author of the poetry collection “Life Comes From Concrete”: a poetry memoir (2016).

 

Find him online at:

http://www.kevinanglade.com

Twitter/IG: @velevek

LCFC Journal #16: “The Fall of A King”

17 Oct

 

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7 years without my father but the journey continues…

I wrote this post on my father’s birthday (10/10). Instead of thinking heavily about his unfortunate demise seven years ago (which coincidentally falls in a month in which he also perished) I’ve somehow come to think about it as a revival of sorts that cements the beautiful memories I have of him. There aren’t many people that I’ve spoken with or reached out to that know the facts of what time period in between my father’s fate was like.

Therefore, one year later I’d like to share with you all a section from my first and a half edition of Life Comes From Concrete that details what really happened seven years ago as I witnessed my dad waste away. Please feel free to read and share if time permits.

 

“Fallen King”

 

First off, let me start by saying that this was the last poem I wrote for this section. It’s also the third poem I’ve written for my father and the only one I feel was potent enough to make it into this book. Man, my Dad…Georges Anglade…Where do I start exactly? That’s how much of an impact that man has had on my life. He was simply THAT incredible! THAT awesome!

Now for any of you reading this, before you read the following poem, I would like for you to know that if it wasn’t for that man I wouldn’t be here. Neither would this book. Unlike many other young black men that I’ve come across, I have been blessed and fortunate enough to once have had a father within my life.

In addition to that, I was lucky that I didn’t have to endure growing up within a broken home, something in which many young urban people of color often identify with.

As much as I’m expressing love for my Dad, I don’t want any of you to think he was an easygoing guy. Although he was a very nice man, he was also the strictest adult that I have and will ever come across in my lifetime. Although a militant, no-nonsense, and hard-pressing individual, my father did the things expected of a man when taking care of his family.

My parents moved to Queens with me in 1992 when I was still a baby. Around that time, my father was laid off from a factory job and began to work at Otto Hermann Inc. (a retail store that sold paint, hardware and electrical home appliances) in the Glendale neighborhood of Queens. Every morning my Dad would wake up at 4:30am to go to work. He’d be out the door by five and I wouldn’t see him until five in the evening. The reason why I’m writing all of this is to show you what kind of a hard worker my Dad was. In the seventeen to eighteen years he worked at the job, not once did he ever receive a promotion. It’s something that truly bothers me because the man worked extremely hard to take care of us and was extremely professional to boot. The fact that they never promoted him for his great work and professionalism is a travesty.

My earliest memories of my father were ones of constant fear. As I’ve mentioned before, he had a no-nonsense attitude and an aura about him that undeniably commanded respect. Without question, he was most certainly a marvelous man, someone who never hesitated to help when others were in need, someone who would warm up to just about any person he came across. However, make no mistake, if you ever stepped on his toes, especially if you were his kids, he’d, “kick your ass,” as I often remember him saying.

 

Although I never really had a traditional father-son relationship with my Dad, I just can’t begin to tell you how influential he was in terms of shaping me into a young man. My father was a Haitian man from the Caribbean and with that being said, he tremendously valued education.

There are so many phrases I can recall him saying to me in a lifetime but some of my favorites are, “Did you do your homework?” “Where’s your report card?” “Use your brain”, “I’m not playing games with you Kevin!” “Did you say sorry to your mother?” “What’s up young man?” just to mention a few and he would often say all of these with a thick Haitian accent that he never was able to completely rid himself of even as he lived in America for almost thirty plus years.

As Samantha and I got older, my father loosened the reigns on us a bit. Maybe it was because he noticed that we were maturing, but it wasn’t until my late teens that he and I started to talk more and built a relationship. And so, just when I had completed high school and finished my first year of college, that’s when I began to lose him…

The summer of 2010, following my freshman year in college was a great one. I had good grades, I had just gotten my driver’s license (under the tutelage of my father) and I had a hot Hispanic girlfriend to boot. I remember my Dad looking at me on many occasions and his face showed the same pride each and every time. There was no doubt that he was proud. I think for the first time; he saw his own son becoming a man in every sense of the word.

Nevertheless, as the new school season rolled in and I was set to begin my sophomore year, my Dad started to get extremely sick. I remember there was one Monday morning in September when my Dad didn’t feel well and he asked my mother to call an ambulance. After the EMTs and paramedics arrived they checked his blood pressure as well as his vital signs before taking him away.

At the time, I didn’t really think much of it, because my father was a very strong man. I had seen him do and conquer so much that I knew he’d bounce back, or so, I thought. A few hours turned into a day, a day had turned into a week and before I knew it, my Dad was in a coma just how Alexandra had been after a seven-day period.

By the time I went to go visit him, the doctors told my mother that he might not make it. This caused great panic within my family as everyone was in and out of the hospital hoping that he’d recover. I even remember visiting on one occasion and recall him looking around the room with IV’s attached to his body. My heart was so heavy seeing him in that state and what made it worse was that he briefly had forgotten who he was after getting out of the coma.

A few days later, I can remember visiting him as he seemed to be back to his normal self.

He was speaking and interacting with me as if nothing had ever happened. I was glad that he seemed okay. The doctors had even told him that he would be discharged the following day.

The next day he came home to what felt like a parade. Many family members came over to celebrate his return. There was food, drinks, and everyone was happy. My Dad had chronic Hepatitis B which caused him to develop cirrhosis of the liver. Anyone who knew him knew that he loved to drink alcohol which certainly took a toll on his health. However, as he returned, he vowed to never drink again knowing he had almost lost his life because of it.

On Sunday, October 10th, my father celebrated his 59th birthday. After wishing him a happy birthday and giving him a gift, (a glass monument) he thanked me for the well wishes and said that if it hadn’t been for God, he wouldn’t have been alive. The irony of that moment was that nine days after commemorating his day of birth, he was called home by the heavenly father. I remember that 19th day of October as if it were yesterday. I was in English class when my cellphone started to vibrate from within my pocket. When I had gotten the chance to step out and look at the caller I.D., I saw that I had been left a voicemail to go along with a missed call. I then stepped out of class and quickly dialed my voicemail when I heard his voice,

“Hi, Kevoo[i], it’s Daddy, I went back to the hospital. Come visit me when you get out of school,” he said.

Are you serious? I thought as I went back into class.

Later that day, I nervously fumbled with the car door of my Dad’s Chrysler as I opened it and ignited the ignition. After getting onto the highway, I speedily made my way to Jamaica Hospital. Upon arrival, I was informed that he was in a holding room. By the time I had found it, a doctor had pulled back some curtains and there he was, lying on a stationary bed.

 

“How are you feeling?” I asked.

“Not too good,” he replied in a weak voice.

“I tried calling you once I left school but I couldn’t reach you. Where’s your phone?”

“At home,” he said.

“Why don’t you have it?”

“I don’t need it anymore,” he replied.

“What do you mean?” I asked nervously.

It was the first time after frequent visits that I ever recalled being truly scared.

“Look,” he said, “Go home, okay? Go home, and make sure you do all of your homework.”

I laughed a little, internally, when he had said that. Even within a very tense situation that teetered in between the matter of life and death, here he was worrying about homework.

“Alright, well mommy is coming to see you soon,” I responded.

“Okay,” he replied as he gave me his wallet and driver’s license.

After examining them carefully, I noticed specs of shiny red blots. It seemed as if he had been coughing up blood prior to my arrival.

Little did I know that same Tuesday evening, that I would never have another conversation with him again as he passed away later that night. My mother had gone to see him at the hospital when my sister came into my room a bit after midnight and started wailing.

“Kevin, Daddy died!” she screeched in the midst of frantic tears.

I immediately wasted no time as I began to cry hysterically.

“NO!” I bellowed continuously until the word grew tired of pouring out of my mouth.

   It just couldn’t be. Not the man who constantly reprimanded me if I did anything wrong. Not the man who taught me the value of education. Not the man who worked his ass off, daily, in order to support his family. It couldn’t have been real. At the time, I thought it was just a dream.

Over the next week and a half, everyone and anyone who meant something to me or my father would offer their words of encouragement.

“Stay strong,” I heard. “Everything will be okay.” “You’re the man of the house now.”

I remember the night of my father’s wake, my uncle Joseph through marriage on my mother’s side told me to write down his eulogy as I was scheduled to give it the following morning at his funeral service.

“Whatever you are going to say, make sure that you write it down tonight,” he said.

But how could I possibly write anything down?” I thought.

The man had been an inspiration not only to me, but to a plethora of others as well.

“No,” I said to myself.

   Anything said about my Dad will be done the right way. All from the heart… I thought.

The day of his service, I don’t know what got into me, but the only thing I do know was that it wasn’t me. God had penetrated my body and blessed me with the words to give my father a great farewell. I stood at the pulpit as I provided the speech but by the time I was done I received a standing ovation. I saw that my words had resonated with everyone who ever knew him and in that moment, although I didn’t show it, I was proud to be an Anglade, as well as proud to be his son.

Not too long after, I came to the conclusion that there was a reason for my father summoning me to the hospital that day. It was almost as if he was passing down the torch from one generation to the next. He was certain of what I was capable of and knew that his family would be in the best of hands. He didn’t have to say it with words but the fact that I was the last family member to see him alive says everything.

My father had been a man of purpose and that encounter was definitely planned. I’m certain that Georges Anglade is one of, if not, the strongest man that I will ever come across in my lifetime. In his passing, I came to realize that my father had been more than just a father, he was my hero. In other words, he saved me from me before I even got a chance to indulge within the crime riddled environment in which I grew up in and for that I am truly thankful.

 

Reference

[i] A nickname I had during childhood that my father gave me.

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Note: A majority of this post was previously published as an excerpt from Life Comes From Concrete 1.5 via Flowered Concrete

 

KEVIN ANGLADE is the author of frankly twisted: the lost files, a collection of detective fiction. He was featured on NBC’s The Debrief with David Ushery in 2014 where he provided insight and purpose about small-press publishing. Anglade holds an A.S. in Theatre, (Queensborough Community College) a B.A. in English (Brooklyn College) and an M.A. in English (Queens College). He is the author of the poetry collection “Life Comes From Concrete”: a poetry memoir (2016).

 

Find him online at:

http://www.kevinanglade.com

Twitter/IG: @velevek

 

 

LCFC Journal #14: What It All Really Means

25 Jul

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A year ago, I published my first poetry collection called Life Comes From Concrete. And as I reflect a year later, I’m noticing how long ago that chapter of my life had ended since I first wrote about it. Since the fall of 2013 I’ve started to come into my own as a young man and more importantly, as an individual. By this I mean, at the age of twenty-six I am fully aware of myself and my surroundings. As I write this I am currently seated on a plane headed back home from a vacation (a well needed one at that) and I’ve never felt more at ease with the choices and decisions I’ve made.

I wouldn’t say writing the collection was a chore or something that I found to be extremely difficult but seeing the progress I’ve made makes me happy and anxious for what is to come. When I think about the meaning of the collection’s title itself I think about journey and one’s path while on it. I say this because the ordeals that I’ve faced and the obstacles I’ve had to overcome not only shaped my way of thinking but deliberately set me onto a path in which I expected nothing other than greatness for myself.

The title of the book is metaphorical in two ways. We can look at the title as being symbolic in terms of a flower or rose rising from the ground to live full lives. Also, to connect the meaning back to the idea of journey, we can look at the concrete being symbolic of human beings walking upon the paths that they create for themselves. Therefore, it is very important that one realizes who they are when embarking upon their paths. For the path you create becomes the guiding light towards your destiny.

Over the past year, I feel as if I’ve eclipsed the meaning of the title by experiencing multiple potential paths that could have lead me in many directions. However, the one that was meant for me came about and showed me its importance when the time was right. Now, do I think that just because I know what I will be doing over the next two years personally or professionally legitimizes me as a person or validates the journey ahead? No, I don’t think so at all. But what I do know is that I wouldn’t have gotten where I am had I not taken the initiative to better my circumstance and somehow make a way for myself.

And so, this journal entry here is all about individual perspective. Life has a way of not only showing what is potentially to come but also is powerful in throwing many curveballs along the way. When I think about the inspiration of this book as well as my career as a poet, none of it would have come about had life not thrown me off course and made me experience losing my older sister Alexandra, my father, and my maternal grandmother, all in a four-year span. I never asked to be placed within those predicaments but was thrusted into them headfirst without warning. In turn, these experiences have catapulted me to become a diligent hardworking person who perseveres despite whatever life may throw his way.

I know that my story may not be of relation or in any shape or form connected to yours, the reader. Nor would I ever expect it to. If anything, I would like for this poetry collection to be viewed as a system that helps one gauge and reassess their progress and expectations thus far on their own specific individual journey. My story is unique to me as a person because it was born out of desperation. Yours may not be as dire nor should you ever think that it has to be in order to create a championed narrative for yourself. Instead, when you see the title, Life Comes From Concrete, I’d like for you to think of it as a second chance in all that you do in life. Which goes without saying that no matter what your situation is there is always room for a fresh start. No matter what ordeals you face there is always a chance to begin life anew.

KEVIN ANGLADE is the author of frankly Twisted: the lost files, a collection of detective fiction. He was featured on NBC’s The Debrief with David Ushery in 2014 where he provided insight and purpose about small-press publishing. Anglade holds an A.S. in Theatre, (Queensborough Community College) a B.A. in English (Brooklyn College) and an M.A. in English (Queens College). He is the author of the poetry collection Life Comes From Concrete: a poetry memoir (2016).

Find him online at:

www.kevinanglade.com

Twitter/IG: @velevek

 

9

 

LCFC Journal #10: “Reflecting in 6” (A Postlude)

26 Jan
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Observing the journey over the last half year.

 

It’s been six months since the initial release of Life Comes From Concrete and since then I’ve thought a lot about what it means to write a book and unveil it to the public. When writing, I’m not usually conscious of what the content will do for others. First and foremost, I think of myself and what I would personally take away from it.

Maybe its because writing is a form of documentation in which one’s most sincere thoughts are shared on paper.

The act of penning thoughts that confesses what someone may or may not have ever thought to share with others is truly an act of intimacy. Therefore, something that’s been on my mind for a while now is whether my collection was able to arouse the emotions and feelings of others. Was anyone able to relate? Did the writing move them? Overall, how does it enable one to go about living out their lives, especially, as a young adult within America’s society?

The only thing I wanted to accomplish with this memoir was to have people feel something. And for the reason of feeling, I figured that if I had a story to provide context and background information to each and every poem included, it would evoke a form of expression that would be personable for the reader.

That’s all I ever wanted to accomplish with the collection and its counterpart in 1.5. These two editions are essential in providing a story of a young man’s journey, and are unique as they both aim in establishing a particular tone and mood when reading them. In essence, what is your story? Everyone has one and I believe it’s imperative that you share yours as well.

Sincerely,

– Kevin Anglade

KEVIN ANGLADE is the author of frankly Twisted: the lost files, a collection of detective fiction. Kevin was featured on NBC’s The Debrief with David Ushery in 2014 where he provided insight and purpose about small-press publishing. He is also the author of Life Comes From Concrete, a poetry memoir.

Find him online at:

http://www.kevinanglade.com

Twitter/IG: @velevek

LCFC Journal #9: “LCFD”- Intersecting Journeys

20 Jan

IMG_0100In December of 2014, an idea popped into my head about creating a documentary. The first thing that came to mind was shooting a film that visually displayed my literary story of Life Comes From Concrete on screen. However, the more I thought about it, the idea and concept of this documentary changed significantly.

I then proceeded to ask myself: “What would the story be like if I followed the journey of fellow young artists/creatives on the path of turning their dreams into reality just as I intend for myself?”IMG_0160

From there, I told my friend Roy, a DP/video editor about my ideas for the project and asked him if he’d be willing to shoot it with me. He immediately obliged and the summer of 2015 turned into one of the most exhilarating summers that I have ever experienced.

The documentary was shot from June of that year up until the closing days of July and every step of the way I was amazed by the stories of each and every artist that I had reached out to interview.IMG_0056

Ultimately, what it taught me was that although everyone’s journey is different, it ends up being one in the same as everyone on earth has one mutual common goal and that is what we believe to be our “destiny”.

The result of this documentary furthered my belief in the project’s concept and that I had done the right thing in naming my poetry collection Life Comes From Concrete.

 

PS. I hope you enjoy this film with an open mind and heart. This one in particular isn’t just my story, but the stories of others in similar fashion chasing their dreams…IMG_0184

Sincerely,

– Kevin Anglade

Life Comes From “Destiny”

A Mini-Documentary About

The Journey of Artists & The Paths They’ve Created

Directed by: Jack Stellar

Starring
Raheem “Cash Sinatra” Wharton
Nick “Alexander” Anglade
Juan Bayon
Charbrielle Parker
Shola Gbemi
Chris “The Artkitech” Brown
Joshua “J La Sol” King
Jonathan Oke
Kevin Anglade

Created by: Kevin Anglade                                                                                                                   Written by: Kevin Anglade                                                                                                             Executive Producer: Kevin Anglade                                                                                            Produced by: Flowered Concrete & Jack Stellar Films
Camera/Video Editor: Neil Diaz
Management: Mia Hill
Advisor: Emir Fils-Aime                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Original Music By:                                                                                                                                         Chris The Artkitech                                                                                                                             Zachary Durham                                                                                                                                     Suupa                                                                                                                                                             Cash Sinatra                                                                                                                                                  Jam Young                                                                                                                                                     The Social Experiment                                                                                                                        Chance The Rapper

Special Thanks To:

Light                                                                                                                                                        Michael “Big Mike” Wharton
Kerry Freycinet
Aaron Gilgeous
Erik Johnson
Michael “Mikey” Cook

LoudER Records
Artkitechuals                                                                                                                                                            Sus Life

Queens College, CUNY                                                                                                                       Brooklyn College, CUNY
New York City (All Five Boroughs)

 

Also Streaming on YouTube

KEVIN ANGLADE is the author of frankly Twisted: the lost files, a collection of detective fiction. Kevin was featured on NBC’s The Debrief with David Ushery in 2014 where he provided insight and purpose about small-press publishing. He is also the author of Life Comes From Concrete, a poetry memoir.

Find him online at:

http://www.kevinanglade.com

Twitter/IG: @velevek

 

LCFC #8: “The Life of Concrete in 2016”

27 Dec

DSC_0128edit.jpgWith just a handful of days left in the year, I would just like to say thank you to each and every one of you that contributed to my growth as a person, friend, and an artist.

I learned so much this year and none of it would have been possible without you. And when I say you, I mean, you, the person that’s taking precious time out of their day to read this post.

I say this because if you’ve invested yourself into reading my words, then it is only because you have been a big supporter of mine along the way, whether I knew it or not. And because of that I am grateful and thankful.

So many blessings and great things happened to me in this year and I am eager to see where my path will take me in the year of 2017.

As I complete my final year in the Master’s English program at CUNY Queens College, I will be mindful when digesting everything that comes my way. The good, as well as the bad.

For we cannot have one without the other. We need both, not only to choose wisely in between options, but to make ourselves aware of the obstacles that lie in front of us that we may have never thought were there.

Lastly, I would just like to thank everyone who bought my debut poetry collection, and those that allowed me to read excerpts from the book in various spaces around New York City as it has helped me to become more in tune with myself as a contributor to the society.

Again, I love each and every one of you guys and I pray that your 2016 was filled with joy, growth, stress, pain, and laughter. May it have enabled you to face everything within the present and in the year to come.

Cheers to a prosperous and healthy, 2017.

Your Friend Always,

– Kevin Anglade

KEVIN ANGLADE is the author of Frankly Twisted: the lost files, a collection of detective fiction. Kevin was featured on NBC’s The Debrief with David Ushery in 2014 where he provided insight and purpose about small-press publishing. He is also the author of Life Comes From Concrete, a poetry memoir.

Find him online at:

http://www.kevinanglade.com

Twitter/IG: @velevek

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