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Kumu

Bent fingers over bent wires, flashing pain and flashing scars, fire hot and too hot to touch, so I bend, and I bend my fingers over, tips dancing from fret to fret, chord to chord, E7 to G7 and the dreaded B chord to, oh hell, I forget,

it must be muscle memory at this point, so close your eyes, young hibiscus, and paint the picture in your mind until the paint drips to the tips of your fingers, to the tips of your frontal cortex, down, drip to the vibrations, down, and allow them to guide you,

and do not let go despite the burning numbness of your skin peeling like a papaya in the hot summer, peeling like the wood on a coconut tree, like anything that isn’t your fingers because any image other than bloody fingertips is prettier and reminds you

that it will be worth it in the end, to play at your sister’s future wedding, if she allows and doesn’t mind dead skin down the isle instead of petals, to play to your friends, to play at gatherings or around the campfire and strive for excellency, young pupil,

and soon your ohana is doing the hula down the beach to your tunes and the Hawaiian sun is gold upon the horizon now, the memories are taking the place of the sun and you are almost there, young pupil, you damn persistent little bastard you,

you better hurry up because the sun sets fast, but in the end we all set fast, set like your fingers on that little fretboard because you can’t play a guitar even if you try and the piano is too slow and too smooth on your rough,

callused fingers, and you hit chord after chord, nerve ending after nerve ending, and holy hell, you’re playing the ukulele, oh my, you aren’t a loser, congratulations, I am so proud of you, my dear, and how you’ve dealt with the ukulele is how you deal with life,

because as they say, anyone can play the ukulele and if anyone can play the ukulele, then anybody can live, and what is life without sweet music, the sweet upbeat not dead music of the ukulele, congratulations,

congratulations, you have learned sweet sounds and you have learned to break your fingers in half just to hit any single B chord, you know, except the ones that go straight across because bar chords are easy, you just snap your creepy little witch fingers

that you almost passed out from pain to acquire, but hey, look at you rock, and hey look at you roll, and hey, listen, I want you to play life like you play that ukulele, and I want you to stay because a ukulele has unlocked a part of me, a need in me,

and that need is you, and I need you to live, and play that ukulele, play until your fingers bleed, and bleed with me, and play the tunes of life with me, and don’t give up on that Fmaj7, even though I have, because who the hell knows, hell knows,

how hard life can be, but the B is easy, just remember that, just remember, just…

Remember.


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