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Category: Ukulele

My newly decorated ukulele

I’m a big fan of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger as people, as musicians, as activists, and as decorators of instruments. Woody had this on his guitar:

20060417-woodyguthrie-killingfascists

And Pete has this on his banjo:

"This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender."

I thought for quite a while about what to write on mine. I decided to use a phrase from Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh on the front, and then drew a lotus on the back. You can click to see larger images:

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SONG: “Sunset Park”

This is the first song I’ve written in years. I’m really enjoying the new outlet the ukulele is providing me. It’s an entirely different way to think about putting words together, and a distinct change from poetry.

As for the song itself, I didn’t expect to write about this person again, given that I just wrote an entire book about this relationship. But here it is.

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POEM: ode to a ukulele

koaloha-ukulele

ode to a ukulele

a parakeet’s weight
with a harp’s song

ringing from strings
on warm koa wood

birthed in the minds
of Portuguese carpenters

who couldn’t make money
selling cabinets to Hawaiians

they sold harmonies
and rhythms instead

giving a new sound
to this island nation

and to countless others
who followed, strumming

16 February 2013
Auburn, AL

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