By Joanna C. Valente
If you believe music is life, then you need to listen to Lateef Dameer's album First Kiss. The best way I can describe it is this: It's like a jazzier J Dilla. It's an album that threads together a loose narrative based in love and desire and intimacy - and honesty. If you aren't your true authentic self, can you get real love in return? That's the most important question the album asks.
Besides the fact that you should listen (and buy) the album, which you can below, I started thinking about poems that correspond to each song, especially considering Dameer is a poet as well as a musician. Poetry is just as much a part of this album as is the music.
Here's my pairings:
Poetry pairing: If the Ocean Had a Mouth - Marie-Elizabeth Mali
Poetry pairing: Ceremonial - Eduardo C. Corral
Poetry pairing: A Queerification - Regie Cabico
Poetry pairing: Jasper Texas 1998 - Lucille Clifton
Poetry pairing: Canyon of Heroines - Trace Peterson
Poetry pairing: Loss - H.D.
Poetry pairing: Kissing in Vietnamese - Ocean Vuong
Poetry pairing: Bread - Kamau Brathwaite
Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), Marys of the Sea (The Operating System, 2017), Xenos (Agape Editions, 2016) and the editor of A Shadow Map: An Anthology by Survivors of Sexual Assault (CCM, 2017). Joanna received a MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College, and is also the founder of Yes, Poetry, a managing editor for Luna Luna Magazine and CCM, as well as an instructor at Brooklyn Poets. Some of their writing has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Brooklyn Magazine, Prelude, Apogee, Spork, The Feminist Wire, BUST, and elsewhere.