How To Build An Oud

Take strips of fine wood
Go west and find guitar woods
It will be an adventure of the highest order
Before you begin.

You will be looking
For curly maples
Brazilian rosewoods
If you look too hard
You will not find them.

An old teacher next to the desert
Is warehousing wood away
He will sell it to you
If you convince him you have the eastern
To translate his western guitar wood
With you hands.

Show him
Do not tell him.

Take the wood he has given you
Heat up the wood and stretch the pieces over a
A large gourd shape.

Place inside the sound hole —
The sound of hooves from a distance
The sand flying in your face
The crack of a tree as it falls into water
The buzz of insects at night.

Let the wood breathe
Before you cover the sound holes
With filigreed rosettes.

Wait — put nothing over the holes at all
And with you ear

Listen to the belly of your instrument
For its beating

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