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
It’s a cursed path
Likes rats in a maze
Shedding our serpent skin in every season
Who are we really?
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.
For no such thing ever existed before or after our ancestors
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
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
Coming straight from the dirt
But rising is what we do
We are CHOSEN
Love us or hate us
We are the seed.
Somebody wrote notes
And put it in the BOOK…
The Magnolia Literacy Project’s
initiative to showcase the writing and art