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  • Writer's pictureThe Magnolia Literacy Project

Lana Brown "PanDEMONia 2020 Style"

Updated: Jan 16, 2021

Magnolia Literacy Project Spotlight: Lana Brown Series

Writer and educator, Lana Brown (a 26-year veteran in public education), says that this poem "came from a bleeding heart" after she learned of the senseless killing of a 22-year-old, whom she had known since he was a child.

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.

"PanDEMONia 2020 Style"

What’s Going on?

Young black men lying in the streets

Bleeding out

Got a target on their backs

Who will take you out first?

An enemy gangsta?

Angry agitator in da club?

The trigger happy white rookie cop?

Either way

‘Nother young black king looking at midnight forever

Ain’t no future in that

What make you think you got 9 lives

When you never been acknowledged

to have one life on this planet?

We got that memo centuries ago

Why is yo understanding so bad?

You can’t claim no territory round here

Yo dying is proof that the message is undelivered

We can’t live the life we want to live

We have to assimilate, adjust, conform, mimic

The more you become a replica of THEM

More doors will open

But limited

Cuz you are only a copy, a robot, a replica

Originals draw more money

Your value is based on the lack of imperfections in your carbon copy

Can’t Be You and get paid

That’s the motto

Assimilate; Replicate; Imitate

That’s the name of the game

Doing Yo own thang gonna bring you problems with da law

Them drugs out there freely flowing in da hood

Can’t pass the tests cuz you can’t thank like they do

So here come the droppin’ out,

Signin’ out,

Sellin’ out

Oozin’ out

Tryin’ to brang the chains back

The weeping widow

The tiny living quarters

Can be that square that keep tryna’ fit in that round hold

Might have to smooth yo edges a bit


Jus’ become a bigger square

A runaway slave

Can’t accept the fact that you already free

Well, kinda

Can’t free ourselves from that slave mentality

Not on the plantation but on the path that leads us there

We build our own plantations in our minds

Just can’t step ova that line in the sand

That separates us from being a slave and being in servitude

Got massas in here…the big house

Cuz we always have to have somebody in charge


Cuz we got to pretend to be civilized some kinda way

Field negros, house negroes

Minions to carry out our devious acts

Folk to share the guilt

Co-conspirators in a way

One thang I notice ‘bout this new fangled plantation though

Everybody here is COLORED

Looking like one big black fierce elephant

Big ugly glob trampling and running ova anybody that get in his way

Everybody listening to the same fight song

Ready for battle

It say,





Demands for us to exterminate ourselves

And we listen and carry out those demands


Mommies raising boys who never become men

Black Peter Pans

Those same boys make babies yet never come home to roost.

Mad cuz you wanna’ own something

Control somebody

Impress somebody

Got tired of waitin’

So you became the villain

Started looking at YOUR people with hateful eyes

Wanting to snuff out their life

Blow out their wick

Mentally, physically, emotional

Became buzzards in a feeding frenzy

A buffet of brothers

So now you been labeled

Menace to Society



Criminal Minds


Who gonna’ fix it?

Misfits too far gone

Only God Knows


The Magnolia Literacy Project’s

initiative to showcase the writing and art

of Mississippians.

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