Tag Archives: Poetry

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

 

 

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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

 

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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 #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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LCFC Journal #7: “Life in The D.O.C.”

20 Dec
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Photo Credit: Haks.net

Last month, during the week of Thanksgiving, Monday, November 21st to be exact, I had the most gracious opportunity in visiting a correctional facility in Harlem/Washington Heights, New York called Edgecombe.

A colleague of mine that works in my college department named Dr. Franca Ferrari is a weekly volunteer there and asked if I wanted to join and participate. Well, to be completely honest, I technically asked to be a part of the program after hearing her mention it in passing at work.

I was more than elated, however, that she received my request with open arms and allowed me to make the trip with her.

Upon arrival, I must admit that I was kind of nervous about who my audience would be and how I’d be received. However, all of those feelings vanished when I walked into a room full of inmates that were rapping and performing their own original material.

Listening, I felt the substance as one of the guys named Hossain was spitting some potent words in rhyme couplets about his life experiences. The moment he finished, all I heard around the room were yelps of approval and happiness for the words that had just poured out of the brother’s mouth.

After introducing myself and going around the room to shake each and every one of their hands, I briefly released my own passion for rhyming and words as I performed two pieces.

The men seemed to have received it well as they all nodded their heads in approval. Immediately after, I wasted no time and began informing them about writing gigs, fellowship opportunities, internships, and blog sites to read, connect, and get their writing out there.

And so, although the men had different tastes when it came to writing as some were musicians and wanted to work in the music business, I realized that they found the information extremely useful and jotted down every tip.

After a brief snack break, the men, myself, Dr. Ferrari, and the corrections supervisor whose name was Sister Shabazz, all shared our poetry, and verses with each other to great support and thunderous applause.

And as we wrapped up, I thanked the men for participating, listening, sharing, and making my time there as a guest pleasant.

I then give them my e-mail and websites in case they ever needed to contact me in regards to the discussion we had.

Before leaving, Dr. Ferrari briefed them about a para-legal lawyer that would be visiting them the following Monday with advice on how to work within the profession.

I then made my rounds, shaking all of their hands for a final time before wishing them happy holidays.

Upon reaching home two hours later, I somehow wasn’t able to fall asleep. I think I was too high off of adrenaline and the night that I had had with those men. As I tried to shut my eyes and sleep, I just couldn’t stop thinking about them.

I couldn’t help but think that I could have easily been them. From the moment I walked into the facility, I immediately felt like a prisoner as the security officer at the front desk made me lock up all of my belongings and told me that I wasn’t allowed to use or carry my laptop into the facility.

Now I know this doesn’t even compare to what the men have gone through upon entering the program I’m sure, but still, even the most basic liberties such as having your phone and laptop in your possessions is something you realize shouldn’t be taken for granted.

The world that we live in is huge, however, there are more than nine million citizens within the United States alone, incarcerated.

Luckily for the men at Edgecombe, the correctional facility is more of a rehab center for ex-felons that have violated parole. Their term period at the facility lasts no longer than 45 days which means that they will be home soon.

All I can hope for is that these men not only take their next chance seriously upon being eligible for release, but I’m also hoping that citizens within their communities help lift and rise them up so that they all can get jobs and re-insert themselves into the thick of society. I mean, they are human beings after all right? We all make mistakes don’t we? If the answer to my questions are yes, then we need to stop judging them for their pasts and give them another chance.

I mean, just think about it. It’s all they will probably ever need.

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 #5: “Section.80 & Poetry: The Definition of Rap”

15 Nov

 

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The Pan American Hotel in Elmhurst, Queens

To everyone reading this, if you know me well enough, then you know how much hip-hop means to me. You know what it means as not only a culture, but as a musical art form that influences the way in which young African-American men such as myself, live out our daily lives. For the past few months, I have been fortunate enough to run poetry workshops for teens at the Pan American hotel in East Elmhurst, Queens. These workshops have been running twice a month within the same week.

On September 12th, I remember conducting my first session at the hotel with a group of teens.

As they came into the room and sat down, I passed around photo copies of stapled poems by Tupac Shakur from his sole poetry collection in The Rose That Grew From Concrete. After introducing myself to the students and having them do the same for me in return, I wasted no time and explained the purpose of the session.

Needless to say, they were a little taken aback that we would be starting off the sessions by studying Tupac Shakur.

“Tupac? That’s like my favorite artist,” said one teen, excitedly. “He wrote poetry as well?”

“Yeah, he did, actually,” I replied, smiling. “And we’re going to delve into some of it today.”

Without wasting time, we critically began reading Tupac’s work while offering comments and thoughts along the way. At first, many of the students were shy, but overtime, they each opened up and grew comfortable in vocally sharing their thoughts about the readings and enjoyed the presence of fellow workshop participants.

Since that first initial meeting, my students and I have looked at the work of hip-hop musician, Kendrick Lamar. The albums we’ve studied are good kid M.A.A.D City and Section.80. In terms of the latter half, I remember during our second session where we talked about the penitentiary as well as human purpose.

As we read and discussed the album, I remember feeling a sense of humility and elation within the moment as the students were really breaking down and annotating everything that spoke to them within the pieces. It made me feel really good about my skills as a teacher. Most importantly, it gave me this euphoric moment that made me say, “Wow, they get it! They really get it! And I think they like it too!”

Since then, I’ve come to realize that nothing makes me more happy than a group of kids being truly enamored and invested into literature as well as reading at large. Going forward, as I continue to pursue my path as an educator, I can only hope that I will experience more moments of euphoria in which students will be truly intrigued and excited about literature. And what’s to stop them  from being this way? Whether it be on a grade school or college level? Especially when they realize that the head person in class was just like them and in some ways still is. The passionate feeling I get when professing and proclaiming the written word is kind of like visiting Toys R’ Us or a candy store for the very first time. You just don’t know where to start.

 

Sincerely,

– Kevin Anglade

kevinanglade.com

 

 

 

 

LCFC Journal #4: “Best of Times, Worst of Times”

18 Oct

DSC_0161Today marks the official re-release of Life Comes From Concrete. And so, if you originally experienced the first edition, you may be asking what is the reason or purpose for a second? Well, my answer to you is that it’s not a second edition but more so the same one with a growth and matured vibe in terms of visual presentation.

What I mean by this is that many of the poems written were from my early days in writing poetry, and although I haven’t added any of my new material in this edition, I’ve decided to include all new and additional portraits that display me as a twenty-four year-old young man in progress as opposed to a twenty-two or twenty-three year-old one.DSC_0159

Moreover, you’d be surprised by how much you could actually learn in a year or two and that is something I’m sure that all of us have inevitably experienced one way or another. Therefore, I hope that this edition sucks more people into my story. I figured what would be a better time to do it then to release it in October which stands as the birth and demise of my father.

I’m sure that wherever his soul lives he is proud of me for the young man I’ve become as well who I am becoming. And so, as I stated in last week’s post, this edition is dedicated to him for providing me with the necessary tools to become an emerging star amongst the earth with the thought of one day joining him within the heavens.DSC_0166

Yours Truly,

– Kev Elev

LCFC 1.5 (The Fall Edition)

The Fall Memoir by Kevin Anglade

Available Now Wherever Books Are Sold

Photography by: Divin Mathew