And, yeah brothers
while white America sings about the unsinkable molly brown
(who was hustling the titanic
when it went down)
I sing to thee of Shine
the stoker who was hip enough to flee the fucking ship
and let the white folks drown
with screams on their lips
(jumped his black ass into the dark sea, Shine did,
broke free from the straining steel).
Yeah, I sing to thee of Shine
and how the millionaire banker stood on the deck
and pulled from his pockets a million dollar check
saying Shine Shine save poor me
and I’ll give you all the money a black boy needs—
how Shine looked at the money and then at the sea
and said jump in muthafucka and swim like me—
and Shine swam on—Shine swam on—
and how the banker’s daughter ran naked on the deck
with her pink tits trembling and her pants roun her neck
screaming Shine Shine save poor me
and I’ll give you all the pussy a black boy needs—
how Shine said now pussy is good and that’s no jive
but you got to swim not fuck to stay alive—
And Shine swam on Shine Swam on—

How Shine swam past a preacher afloating on a board
crying save me nigger Shine in the name of the Lord—
and how the preacher grabbed Shine’s arm and broke his stroke—
how Shine pulled his shank and cut the preacher’s throat—
And Shine swam on—Shine swam on—
And when news hit shore that the titanic had sunk
Shine was up in Harlem damn near drunk—

Analysis, meaning and summary of Etheridge Knight's poem Dark Prophecy: I Sing Of Shine

2 Comments

  1. Yolanda E Bolden says:

    Thank you. Finally got it all together. We could only remember bits and pieces.

  2. m. layton says:

    i first listened to a recitation of shine in 1944 at alameda navy air station calif

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