By Peter J. Silvester
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Additional resources for A Left Hand Like God: Study of Boogie-woogie
He’s ready for this life. They know that if they find the right kid, they can put him under their tutelage and he’ll get it fast, step right into the rhythm of the life. But it starts by the other guy watching him, trying to pick up clues. If that sounds predatory, it’s because recruiting new workers is one of the most predatory aspects of the game. When you’re doing it, it’s hard to see it that way because everyone comes into the game as a recruit—including the ones who eventually become recruiters.
It’s a variation on a story I’ve been telling since I was ten years old rapping into a tape recorder: I’m dope. Doper than you. But even when a rapper is just rapping about how dope he is, there’s something a little bit deeper going on. It’s like a sonnet, believe it or not. Sonnets have a set structure, but also a limited subject matter: They are mostly about love. Taking on such a familiar subject and writing about it in a set structure forced sonnet writers to find every nook and cranny in the subject and challenged them to invent new language for saying old things.
When I got a little older Marcy would show me its menace, but for a kid in the seventies, it was mostly an adventure, full of concrete corners to turn, dark hallways to explore, and everywhere other kids. When you jumped the fences to play football on the grassy patches that passed for a park, you might find the field studded with glass shards that caught the light like diamonds and would pierce your sneakers just as fast. Turning one of those concrete corners you might bump into your older brother clutching dollar bills over a dice game, Cee-Lo being called out like hardcore bingo.