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  • Writer's pictureThe Magnolia Literacy Project

Lana Brown "Somebody Get Me a Piece of Paper"

Updated: Jan 9

Referencing the origin, wisdom, and work of Black people, Lana Brown employs dark metaphors to attack systemic barriers that still lurk from slavery in America. She opens the poem with a focus on the history and significance of spoken word as it was handed down by the ancestors.  While honoring this tradition, she promotes writing as a form of ongoing advocacy for justice, equity, and equality.

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. A retired 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.

"Somebody Get Me a Piece of Paper"

What the Old Folk said when they had something important to say

Events not of our day

Yet important tidbits

To help guide the way

Some of the messages flew over our heads…

Like piss in the wind

Nobody can see it

But the privileged

But to regular folk,

It stinks like hell

We get it yet…..

We will carry it like a heavy cross

Of servitude

It’s a cursed path

Likes rats in a maze

Shedding our serpent skin in every season

Who are we really?

….Still slaves

Embarking on a journey to servitude

The path continues to wind

For we have lost our identity

We are the People Greeters

 Who welcome everyone into our culture

Considered a plague

Never penetrating their culture

Scared to break the rules

Who is really the enemy?


But…we are the accursed.

Gaining no respect even when on our knees



Having to pay

Although originating from royalty

Kings and Queens

Building structures that defy our generation’s imagination.

Questioning boundaries

For no such thing ever existed before or after our ancestors


Though enslaved,


Makes me wonder….

Are we now a feather or a beacon?

Blowing in the wind listlessly

With no purpose

Resting wherever the wind takes us


Are lighting the path for generations to follow?

The message is crystal clear.

We choose LIFE.

Wisdom gained from our inheritance



We ain’t mad ‘bout getting down

Because it brought us up

         Surviving, Rising

No more playing possum

Write it down


Downtrodden yet winning

Despite generational curses

Lessons to be learned

From Insignificant Heroes

Who took risks

Knowing their Destiny was to rise

Like hot air balloons

Appearing on a desolate landscape

Our Yeast

Coming straight from the dirt

But rising is what we do


Our testimony

Love us or hate us

We are the seed.

Somebody wrote notes

And put it in the BOOK…

and shared


Signed by,

The Masters 


The Magnolia Literacy Project’s

initiative to showcase the writing and art

of Mississippians.

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