• The Magnolia Literacy Project

Lana Brown "Home Coming"

Magnolia Literacy Project Spotlight: Lana Brown Series

In "Home Coming", Poet Lana Brown, a native of historic Natchez, MS, recounts events and experiences which connect a group of hometown comrades and classmates preparing for a milestone reunion.

Brown is a graduate of Alcorn State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Communications; a Master of Arts in Secondary English Education; and a Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education with a Concentration in Reading and Gifted Education. She also holds a Specialist in Education degree in Psychometry from Jackson State University. An instructor in gifted education with the Natchez Adams School District, Brown was selected by the Mississippi Department of Education to be a member of the ELA/Literacy High Quality Instructional Materials (HQIM) Review Team in the fall of 2020.

"Home Coming"

To that place that holds the key to our heart

our tender spot

Cuz that’s where our ingredients were gathered

And mixed all together

Bringing forth a human being who

Connects two magnificent tribes

The best of two worlds

A bountiful prize,

A gift that keeps giving

A blessing for all to behold

Like that very last piece of the puzzle,

Making the picture whole

Creating a complete profile

Home-made recipe

Crafted the old fashioned way

With….a good dose of reality checks

Swats on the hind side

Face slaps

Smack downs

Skillet and pot tossings

Heel/houseslipper Lobs

Stand offs

Calling on the Uncle who had no other name

Until the pain stops

Though never wanting to admit defeat

Not knowing how

Despite the many lessons on the statistics of winning

for a person of our hue

Took all the tests to be first class

Yet the bar continues to rise

‘Til it’s insurmountable


In this peculiar place

Situated along the MS River

Gotta have a special kind of spirit to dwell

Need a heart of a warrior

Who only accepts winning as the outcome

The skin of a crocodile

So that no daggers can penetrate,

covering for the scars from previous battles

For weakness is defeat

The eyes of an eagle who soars high

Yet senses the tiniest of movement

that might create an opportunity

The reflexes of a cheetah

who’s always prepared to spring into action,

outsmarting his prey

Instinctively knowing that failure to pounce

Means Purgatory

A death sentence in this place

If lacking in determination,

Quicksand

That brings you to an abysmal place

Isolated, repelling change

Like a penny in a piggy bank

Although there’s plenty

They don’t add up to much

Still a just one penny

One more than zero

Not wanting to be spent, or exchanged, or polished up

Satisfied with lack of self-worth

And lack of initiative

The mindset of many natives…

“It’s a bad gamble to move away.”

“Cindy Lou went to Miami and lost her house;

She been sleeping on the street 2 years.”

Of all the people in the world, we could possibly grow up to be, why does it have to be Cindy Lou?

Gotta have grit

The kind that creates an unbreakable bond

An impenetrable barrier

Producing a Ram in the Bush

No matter the plan

The outcome is ALWAYS in our favor

A backup plan prompted by a history of disappointment

Like playing pinball

Pull that trigger

The path is sure to be uncertain

Causing the mind to acclimate to change

Not an easy task

For accepting change, a bitter fruit

Like a ram,

We pushed through

Exerting great power,

strengthened by the many heroes before us

Leading the way

Protecting their legacy like precious jewels

That never lost their luster

Because we handled it with great care

With kid gloves

Spreading like dandelions at the coming of spring

Drifting out effortlessly to every climate, time zone

Evergreens, gold & green to be exact

Rewarding other cultures with our unique and eccentric culture

As historians for this place

And each have their own story to tell

Memories that fall like rain…

Sometimes like a drizzle

A quick de ja vu flash from the past

Other times, like a downpour

A lingering memory that overcasts for days

Sometimes, like a storm with lightning and thunder

A jarring bolt that gets undivided attention

On rare occasions, just gathering all the clouds up in one place and just look real ugly

Then don’t drop a drip

A Mute cry for help

Not being heard because of our storm

That Disrupts life

Causing a step back to do inventory

Those memories that teach life lessons

Those that jarred us into reality

Serving as signals of upcoming turmoil

Foreshadowing conflict

We all have stories to tell of this place

The cast from which we were molded

In Natchez, MS

Known in many places because of scattered seeds

Fruit produced with the loveliest of hands

And molded and preserved to overcome challenges

Because we stand in front of Mountainous People

Giants who are yet watching

Armed with great legends about….

Survival

Protected by praying women who dropped to their knees

At any good time

Stopping everything to pray

Ignoring this command

Resulted in perhaps,

a hastily shoved face in your oatmeal

Among a village who knows everything about you

And your ingredients

A trip back down Memory Lane

To keep you mindful of humble beginnings

Memories that like sweet, juicy, overripe figs

Leaking its slurpy dew from the limbs

Slow and steady

Taking its sweet time to wither away to nothingness

Having innate knowledge that life is a process

So, why be in a hurry to do anything?

Each step creating the next one

There’s plenty of time to create a masterpiece

Time always tells the future

Rocking chairs on porches with so much to tell

Wisdom overflowing everywhere

A griot, ready to teach a lesson

Bout that Devil’s Punchbowl

Not being a delicious treat

Looking like a giant toilet bowl

Slippery slopes

Escaping, not an option

But We got out

And live to talk about it

For those devious, hateful, despicable plans

Created a Number One Contender

In ANY arena

Weeping willows bent low with horrible tales to weave

Hanging moss indicating mourning

“Oh, the sights I’ve seen.”

Old adage still reigns among us, Natchezians

“Hear no evil; speak no evil.”

That’s what a good son does

He’s the keeper of the secrets

Not everyone is privy to this knowledge

Consider yourself Blessed,

A Fellow Natchezian & classmate


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