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He said: “I likes ma wimmins lips red and ma crawfish berled

I like the mommas with the boom-booms and they hair all curled



Shine & the Titanic

(New Awlins Style)


 By Professor ARTURO


I’m a weaver of the word (not a maker of rhyme)

-but I’ma tell you the story ‘bout ma man—ma main man, Shine…


It was a helluva day in the merry month o’ May

Shine was the stoker on the TITANIC that day

when a BIG ICEBERG come a-floatin’ they way

Shine said: “Cap’n Charlie! Cap’n Charlie!

                       They’s a BIG ICEBERG floatin’ our way!”


Cap’n said: “Shine, Shine, don’t-choo be no clown

I got ninety-nine pumps to pump the water down

I got pumps made o’ pipes and chumps to pump

I gotta TRILLION DOLLAR LOAD I ain’t gon’ dump”

Shine said: “Cap’n Charlie! Cap’n Charlie!  If you look now—

they’s a who-o-o-o-ole lotta ice comin’ ‘cross the bow

I ain’t never read a book, ain’t never been to school

but Looziana Annie ain’t never raised a fool”

(Shine said that to his self)

Cap’n said: “Shine, Shine—don’t-choo know ma Might

—and anything I say and do is Right?

You work for Cap’n Charlie when the sun come up

You brings ma favorite slippers and ma coffee cup

You work for Cap’n Charlie—stokin’ that coal

You works for Cap’n Charlie—and I owns yo’ soul

You might have religion and pray to DE LAWD

But on the TITANIC I outranks GAWD…”



(GAWD pulled rank)


Shine said: “You might be the Cap’n on the land and the sea

You might run the Injuns; You might turn the key

You might be Cap’n Charlie—Well, all that’s hip

but I’m gittin’ offa Cap’n’s STINKIN’, SINKIN’, SHIP!”

(jumped his Black butt into the sea, he did)

He said: “I’ma tell you one thing—and I don’t mean maybe--

I was lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ng and grown

when FATHA TIME was a baby

I done killt a who-o-o-o-o-ole lotta mens way badder den you

-done killt a thousand VC in Dien Bien Phu

You can be TARZAN and RAMBO and JUNGLE JIM

-but that’s one ICEBERG that sho’ ain’t Slim

Forked is yo’ tongue— I done heard all the lies

I’ma ride wit the water—make ma own Enterprise…”


Just ‘bout then, a banker came on board

cryin’ “Save me! Save me, Shine — in the name of the Lord!

I gots money and dollars I cain’t even spend

I owns a whole lotta people—got stock in the pen

I’ll give you fine Black wimmins—and white ones, too

‘cause I gots mo’ money than the U.S. Mint do

I’ll give you BIG PRETTY HOUSES and Cadillac cars

-give you fifty hotels and 99 bars

‘cause I runs all the drugs from Harlem to Watts

I takes food from the mouths o’ the tiniest tots

I buys all the missiles and guns for the planes

I owns 99 ships and 300 trains (small ‘t’)

I’ll give you all the money that a Black boy need

-give you ten tons o’ coke and 20 tons o’ weed…


(Shine thought for a while…)


I’m the runna o’ the world, the Master and the Lord

I’ma pleasa with ma VISA and ma Bankamericard

I’ll give you money and power and fortune and fame

Every fine Black girl in the world gon’ know yo’ name…”


Shine said: “You can giggle from the weed; you can laugh from the coke

But gitcha booty in the water and cutchoo a stroke

You can have all yo’ money, yo’ friends and yo’ foes

You can finance yo’ wars and yo’ G.I. Joes

You gots mo’ money than a human had oughta

so gitcha butt out cheer in this freezin’-cold water

You rich and you greedy — ain’t never been broke

so gitcha butt in the water and cutchoo a stroke

You can call on the Mounties and the CIA

but they gon’ git they dry-y-y-y-y-y behinds wet today!

Sorry, Mr. Banker; I don’t need Jah-pain

‘cause I’ll be sittin’ wit ma baby justa listenin’ to Trane

I’ma swim to New Awlins for some panné meat

gon’ do the Mississippi Mambo down on Claiborne Street

gon’ wear orange and gold and purple and greens

-go runnin’ wit the Injuns — eat all the red beans

You might like CHAKA; You might like Rufus

Even Leon Spinks know you lyin’ through yo’ toofus…”


Just then, the banker’s daughter floated by Shine

She said: “Come over here, Shine—save summa lil’-ole mine

I gotta body like a ballad and cheeks like GLADYS

butt like BERTHA and hair like ALICE

I got legs like TINA and a cup like DOLLY

I gotta chip like choklit — and a cookie like Wally…”

He said: “I likes ma wimmins lips red and ma crawfish berled

I like the mommas with the boom-booms and they hair all curled

I like hot filé gumbo and devilished eggs

I like them Uptown girls—wit they BIG FINE LEGS

I like Downtown wimmims—wit they nightdark eyes

I like Backatown wimmins—how they talks that jive

I done lived on the land and on ships in the sea

and the ladies on land is the ladies for me…”


-and Shine swam on…

Shine swam down past the Florida Keys

He was tremblin’ in the arms and weak in the knees…

While Shine was a’ swimmin’, the ocean grew dark

and he bumped right smack into a GREAT BIG SHARK

(a bi-i-i-i-i-i-i-g BLACK one)

The shark, he was purty, with pearly white teeth

He said: “Come over here, Shine -- I’ma make you ma meat

You sure look good—swimmin’ in ma sea

-gon’ make a right mighty fine meal for me

I ain’t got no chirrens and I don’t have a wife

but one thing I got is yo’ no-swimmin’ life

I’ma take you and eatcha and swallow you whole

-make you cuss the very day yo’ mammy borned yo’ soul

I’m BIG and I’m STRONG—I takes what I like

I done robbed Robin Givens — and beat up Mike

Yeah, Mr. Shine, Mack The Knife is sweet

‘cause I can outswim a wave — and I likes dark meat

I rules all the waters; I’m the Kinga the Sea

Ain’t ‘nair whale or minnow can git past me

All the fishes in the water gits outa ma way

from the Rocka Gibraltar to Barataria Bay

Ran into a whale; he thought he was slick

-lil’ minnow told me his name was ‘Moby Dick’

When I tore ma teeth inta that lil’ ole whale

he had to hang out a sign sayin’ ‘Blubber For Sale’

I done wrote wit Alex Haley and dunked with Kareem

hung wit I.W. Harper, got drunk with Jim Beam

I done ate up the bones o’ Gunga Din

got Captain Bligh’s blood on ma chinny-chin-chin

I done ate up some pirates when they walked the plank

I done lied wit Nixon and sang wit Frank

I done ate German subs and planes fulla people

ate the rock from the Hudson and the bell from the steeple

I done ate up the quail that was hidin’ in the bush

took yo’ gran’ma to the mountain and gave her a push

(I’m a mea-ea-ea-ea-ean shark)

I don’t ate up Sally; I done ate up Sue

Start chokin’; Quit strokin’—I’ma eat up you!”


Shine said: “Mr. Shark, I’ma tell you (and it ain’t no lie) --

I taught the Signifyin’ Monkey howta signify

I done taught Hank Aaron howta hit the ball

I showed Barbie’s mammy howta make a doll

That ain’t really nuthin’, ‘cause I’ll tell you what --

I done showed BIG BERTHA howta do DA BUTT

You might rule the water from London to Selma

but choo ain’t no better den J.J. and Thelma

Ma daddy’s a poet; Ma momma’s a singer

I gotta uncle out West who’s a ba-a-a-a-a-a-ad gunslinger

(kilt three white men—and lived, he did)

If you wants you some bones and some flesh to tear

-- there’s a Cap’n and a banker and his daughter out there

If you might chance to think you can catch this man

you might as well be a tuna in a tunafish can (Sorry, Charlie)

Who you out cheer call yo’self tryin’ to warn?

All you sayin’ ain’t but ‘talk behind the barn’

You mighta ate a lotta pirates when they walked the plank

-but I likes shark meat — don’tcha see ma shank?

I likes red silky shirts  (I done paid ma dues)

I like black Cadillacs — and sharkskin shoes

You might rule the ocean, reign over the sea

But-choo gotta grow new fins to outswim me…”


And Shine swam on…


The TITANIC sank and a lotta folk died

Grandmommas was weepin’ and lil’ babies cried…

When the news hit shore ‘bout the TITANIC that night

Shine was in New Awlins — high as a kite!

He played him some music wit SATCHA-MOE

went to a semma terry party wit Marie Laveau

He was the slickest and the quickest

He was fine like wine

He was the wicked in the picket

(ma man, Shine)…


They thought Shine was dead, some   where down afar

But Shine was in New Awlins—

hankin’ and-a pankin’

glidin’ and-a slidin’

honkin’ and-a tonkin’

dreamin’ and-a schemin’

smackin’ and-a mackin’

smokin’ and-a jokin’

bammin’ and-a jammin’

flimmin’ and-a flammin’

stuntin’ and-a frontin’

jumpin’ and-a bumpin’

winkin’ and-a blinkin’

coolin’ and-a schoolin’

juicin’ and-a goosin’

hangin’ and-a bangin’

waggin’ and-a flaggin’

dippin’ and-a trippin’

skippin’ and-a slippin’

skinnin’ and-a grinnin’

rappin’ and-a yappin’

buggin’ and-a huggin’

gigglin’ and-a wigglin’

hobbin’ and-a knobbin’

peepin’ and-a creepin’

maxin’ and-a relaxin’

funkin’ and-a junkin’

chilllin’ and-a illin’


—in the Neighborhood Bar

Yeah. Yeah. In the Neighborhood Bar . . .

*   *   *   *   *

Professor ARTURO (Arthur Pfister), a poet and fiction writer from New Orleans, is a Spoken Word artist, educator, performer, editor and speechwriter who received a Master of Arts degree in Writing from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. degree in English/Journalism from the State University of New York-College at New Paltz.   Pfister, one of the original Broadside poets of the 1960s, has collaborated on a medley of projects with a mélange of artists including painters, musicians, photographers, dancers, singers, fire eaters, waiters, cab drivers, and other members of the Great Miscellaneous.

He has performed his poetry, fiction, toasts and “jazz poems” on a solo basis or with musical accompaniment at Ebony Square, Vincent’s City Club, the Contemporary Arts Center, the Louisiana Folklife Festival, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the Urban League’s Annual Golden Gala, Ashe Cultural Arts Center, Tulane University’s Amistad Research Center’s Achievement Award Banquet, True Brew Coffeehouse, the Maple Leaf Bar and an array of public/parochial schools, colleges, and churches nationwide.  His work has been accompanied by musical legends such as Eluard Burte, Henry Butler, Willie Cole, Davelle Crawford, Vinny Golia, Kidd Jordan, Kid Millenberg, Earl Turbinton and Gozo Yoshimasu. He has also served as Featured Performance Poet at Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club and co-founded the performance series “ARTURO and Joe’s Old Skool Jazz & Poetry Open Mic Night” at the legendary Edgelake Bar (featured in Elvis Presley’s “King Creole”).

His work has appeared in such diverse publications as FAHARI, the American Poetry Review, the Shooting Star Review, the Minnesota Review, the Gallery Mirror, EBONY, From a Bend in the River, Mesechabe, Word Up, the Chicory Review, the New Laurel Review, the New Orleans Tribune, We Speak As Liberators, Black Spirits, A Broadside Treasury, and Swapping Stories: Folktales From Louisiana.

He has taught at educational institutions ranging from Northeastern University (Visiting Poet for the Africana Studies Center) to Texas Southern University (Writer In Residence).   He has served as Academic Instructor for the New Orleans Urban League’s Computer Operations Training Center and as Poet In Residence at the Neighborhood Gallery.   Prior to Katrina he was employed by the New Orleans Job Corps as Academic/Pre-GED Instructor.

Inquiries about the author’s availability for workshops, readings, collaborative projects, seminars, residencies, and publications should be directed to: Professor ARTURO / (504) 975-6676 / /

posted 16 October 2007

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MY NAME IS NEW ORLEANS: 40 Years of Poetry & Other Jazz

After surviving the horrors of Hurricane Katrina, Professor ARTURO, a New Orleans spoken word artist/musipoetryst, will have his book, My Name Is New Orleans: 40 Years of Poetry & Other Jazz, a 320- page collection of poetry, songs, psalms, paeans, toasts and hieroglyphs (1968 – 2008) published in late Spring 2009 by Margaret Media, Inc

Schedule your organization's venue for a performance/book signing:

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

*   *   *   *   *

Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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Related files: Malcolm  SHINE and THE TITANIC   Poem for Our Fathers  Poem for Our Mothers