Trees of Reverie Readathon: Bookish Challenge #13

Bookish Challenge 13: Book Playlist!

I love making playlists. In fact, it’s one of my favorite ways to procrastinate, which is what I’m doing right now. (I have two papers to finish for school, and a whole whack of reading to do, but I’m going to make a playlist, because… uh, yolo*, I guess. *cries salty tears into my teacup*)

This time, I’ve made a playlist for The Dragon Can’t Dance by Earl Lovelace, which is a brilliant novel I read for my Caribbean lit class this term. As I’ve previously mentioned, I prefer to make quite long playlists, that I can put on as background noise while doing other things; this playlist clocks in at 2 hours and 42 minutes long, which is actually a bit on the short side for me.

The cover of The Dragon Can't Dance, which reatures white text over a photo of a Black man dressed as a devil with red wings and body paint

Most of the songs are assigned by character, with a few songs being used to express their situation at a few different points in the book, and thereby sketch a kind of arc:

  • Songs 1, 19, and 34 are for Cleothilda
  • Songs 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 17, 18, 35, and 40 are for Sylvia
  • Songs 5, 15, 21, 23, 24, 26, 31, 32, and 33 are for Aldrick
  • Songs 9, 22, 25, and 30 are for Fisheye and the Calvary Hill Nine
  • Song 27 is from Mr Guy to Sylvia
  • Song 16 is from Sylvia to Aldrick
  • Songs 8, 29, 38, and 39 are for Philo
  • Songs 11, 28, and 36 are for Pariag
  • Song 37 is from Dolly to Pariag
  • Songs 12, 13, 14, and 20 are for Carnival season

Here’s the list:

  1. We Are One by Angelique Kidjo
  2. Flora’s Secret by Enya
  3. No Scrubs by TLC
  4. Partition by Beyoncé
  5. Wanted Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi
  6. I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) by Whitney Houston
  7. I Think I’m In Love With You by Jessica Simpson
  8. Billionaire/Successful by Ahmir
  9. Pistols at Dawn by Seinabo Sey
  10. Anaconda by Nicki Minaj
  11. Tu Koi Aur Hai by A.R. Rahman, Alma Ferovic, Arjun Chandy
  12. Cheers (Drink to That) by Rihanna
  13. All Night Long by Lionel Richie
  14. Pata Pata by Miriam Makeba
  15. Turn Me On by Kevin Lyttle
  16. (소녀시대) – Run Devil Run by Girl’s Generation
  17. Glamorous by Fergie, ft. Ludacris
  18. Flawless Remix by Beyoncé & Nicki Minaj
  19. Criminal by Fiona Apple
  20. Trini Dem Girls by Nicki Minaj, ft. Lunchmoney Lewis
  21. Ribcage by Mary Lambert, ft. Angel Haze & K.Flay
  22. Bad Blood by Bastille
  23. No Air by Rissi Palmer
  24. A La Claire Fontaine by Les Petits Minous
  25. This is War by Thirty Seconds to Mars
  26. Wicked Games by The Weeknd
  27. O.M.G. by Usher, ft.
  28. Grand Piano by Nicki Minaj
  29. Wordplay by Jason Mraz
  30. Demons by Imagine Dragons
  31. Happy Ending by MIKA
  32. Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson
  33. Angry by Matchbox Twenty
  34. Younger by Seinabo Sey
  35. The Weakness in Me by Joan Armitrading
  36. Prem Ratan Dhan Payo by Palak Muchhal
  37. Love on Top by Beyoncé
  38. Mad Season by Matchbox Twenty
  39. Marilyn Monroe by Nicki Minaj
  40. Sight of the Sun by Fun.

You can listen to it on Spotify.


*yolo, in case you don’t know, stands for You Only Live Once, a mantra adopted by some millenials to express their desire to enjoy life and do things that make them happy, probably in response to how thoroughly screwed we feel as we collapse under the weight of our student loans, trying to live up to the demands of our predecessors in an unstable housing market, racialized unemployment disparities, and a racialized system of gendered wage disparity, where we’re shamed for not being able to be literally in two places at once: to go to school and spend 45 hours a week in class for a degree that we shouldn’t need for the low wage work we can find, while also magically working the 48 hours a week it would cost to pay tuition (which is to say literally nothing about rent, bills, and food), and if we want to sleep 8 hours a night (not something you can really sustainably skimp on) that leaves 8 hours per week for cooking and eating and commuting and literally everything else outside of school and work. What, bitter? not me…



Trees of Reverie Readathon: Bookish Challenge #3


The wretched of the Earth are killing — rage — ending — racism
like Greek Tragedies
from a mouthful of forevers, Lucy asks ‘Ain’t I a woman?’

Black women and their
feminism: the bones, the breaking, the balm
scars / stars

she’s crossing the mangrove, seeking the will to change
says ‘men (masculinity) and love are fantasy;
the dragon can’t dance’

says ‘I’m all about love — new visions — the other side,
but where we stand, class matters’


photo of a large number of books spread out on a black velveteen cloak
16 books used in the creation of this time’s spine poem — click the photo to check out poems by other participants in the October 2015 Trees of Reverie Readathon.

The books:

  • Existentialism by Robert Solomon
  • The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon
  • Killing Rage: Ending Racism by bell hooks
  • Greek Tragedies by David Grene and Richmond Lattimore (eds.)
  • Mouthful of Forevers by Clementine von Radics
  • Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid
  • Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism by bell hooks
  • The Bones, the Breaking, the Balm by Dominique Christina
  • Scars/Stars by Walidah Imarisha
  • Crossing the Mangrove by Maryse Condé
  • The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love by bell hooks
  • Fantasy by Jacqueline Furby and Claire Hines
  • The Dragon Can’t Dance by Earl Lovelace
  • All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks
  • The Other Side by Julia Alvarez
  • Where We Stand: Class Matters by bell hooks

There’s an alternate view of the books on my Instagram, and you can listen to me reading the poem on Soundcloud.