Woodmanland. 3 Poems by Peter Mladinic

Battle

Rejection’s not the end of the world.
Were there no rejection—
from an editor, from a bank,
from a would be paramour—
there’d be no acceptance, no embrace
in the world of letters,
in life, in love. The sting of hate
quite real. Then there’s indifference—
a feeling of numb like when
you get a shot in your hand
and your hand is numb—
only it’s all in your mind.
The end of the world is like when the man
went out for a pizza and came home
and found his wife dead
on the living room floor; or John
who snapped his briefcase open
and shut before going into class,
and I know Susan remembers that snap
and learned as I did he died in his sleep.
The lump in the breast, the X ray’s
dark spot are signs. The night
our town’s chief of police was out
in the middle of nowhere, not wearing
a seatbelt, spelled the end.
My father at the end battled cancer.
When healthy he bowled strikes,
won games for his team.
Why we always hear of someone’s
battling cancer miffs me.
It’s not like Daniel fighting the lion
in the Bible. Maybe it is.

Tricky

I like you unconditionally
My like for you is a red rose bouquet
an armful of flowers
I’d like to place in your arms

I’d like to pet your horse Tricky
My like for you is a white cloud
in a blue sky
a pond on which ducks glide

unconditional
like that song Night and Day
coming through headphones
I want to know your eyelashes

Have you ever been to the sweetheart
festival in Clovis?
Have you ever said I’m Angela
while shaking hands with a man
with a name tag on his shirt?

You love Tricky, Tricky loves you
Other than that I assume nothing
Do you bowl, drink Diet Coke?
Have you a pen pal in Indiana?

I’m full of questions
I wish they were long-stemmed white
roses

I’d like to know something
about your eyelashes
and if you talk on an iPhone or an android
Your blood-type, social security number and

Where do you see yourself five years
from now don’t concern me
What kind of perfume you wear
I’m more interested in stuff like that

Woodmanland

I want to move to Woodmanland,
there very different from here.
For one, trees. Also cold.
No ice fisher, my embrace the cold days
past, still I want to.
What would a place be like
in the middle of its name man?
Long winters, lots of trees, few people.
A hospital close by? Might not have to look
far to see a moose. I’ve never seen one.
A dirty look from a person’s one thing,
but a moose? Racks
like dishes on roofs for cable, only oval,
shatter ribs in the wild, steeped in snow.

I’d rather see a moose from a bus window,
or the moose sits next to me on the bus.
I name him Roger. We pull into Houlton,
boringly like where I am. Only cleaner.
Roger says, What you don’t see is the high
crime rate.
—But it’s so clean.
He says, Looks can deceive.
Why did you want to leave where you were?
—I liked the name, but now we’re in Houlton.
Have you ever been to Woodmanland?
Yes, he says. Now I’m with you, only,
I’m not real, and you’ve gone nowhere.
Oh, but I have, I think, not saying so,
not wanting to contradict a moose.
 

 
Peter Mladinic has published three books of poems: Lost in Lea, Dressed for Winter, and Falling Awake in Lovington, all with the Lea County Museum Press. An animal rights advocate, he lives in Hobbs, New Mexico. His fourth book of poems, Knives on a Table is available from Better Than Starbucks Publications.

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Transfigured Face. Bilingual Poems from Spanish by Ángel Huerga

(i.)

don’t want		not to go		don’t want
can’t		not be		no
dancing to this blood divides
sequences dreams cloud by cloud
enclosed behind fingers		last night
crossed the pavement on the corner
perplexed to see you again on the screen
as if someone had been silhouetted against the sky
or a bulldozer had piled up all the light of the slowness as it passed through

(i.)

no quiero 			no ir 		no quiero
no puedo 		no estar 	no
bailar en esta sangre divide 
secuencia el sueño nube a nube
enrejado entre dedos			anoche
crucé la acera	justo en la esquina
perplejo al re-mirarte en la pantalla
como si hubiera ido surgiendo alguien en lo alto
o una excavadora hubiera apilado toda la luz de lo lento al pasar 
(ii.)

where you touch is not mine		i just want
you to be an other		willing to explore something new
perhaps what used to be constant 	may explode into shared fire 		
the helipad where we used to get dressed
i just want		the fuel of breath	breath		breath
to flare up

(ii.)

donde tocas no es mío		pretendo	
que seas otro		para algo nuevo que explorar
quizá explosione en incendio común	   lo que solía ser constante
la helisuperficie donde solíamos vestirnos
solo pretendo 		que sea brote
el combustible de respirar	respirar	respirar 
(iii.)

he kept on talking about movies
amenabar		juliette binoche		cary grant
alice in wonderland
[alice’s adventures under ground]
sit down		tie my shoes
he pretended to fly like an airplane 	    with his arms outstretched 
north by northwest
get on your knees 		why are you crying?
did I tell you not to go? 

[I have all your pictures and emails.
And don’t tell me you have no father, ‘cause I know he goes by Arturo and 
he’s a delivery man.
I have all the information needed for the danse macabre to start.
Will you please take off your t-shirt?]

(iii.)

hablaba de cine
amenabar		juliette binoche		cary grant
alicia en el país de las maravillas
[las aventuras de alicia bajo tierra]
siéntate			átame los cordones
imitaba el vuelo de un avión		con los brazos extendidos
con la muerte en los talones
ponte de rodillas			¿por qué lloras?
¿te he dicho yo que no puedes irte?	

[Tengo todas tus fotos y tus correos. 
Y no me digas que no tienes padre porque sé que se llama Arturo y que 
es repartidor de café. 
Tengo toda la información necesaria para que empiece la danse macabre. 
¿Puedes subirte la camiseta?] 
(iv.)
                                                       to the seasoned traveller
                                                       a destination is
                                                       at best
                                                       a rumour

the real issue is 
structure
how to locate the narrative line that allows for a beamline beneath the door
we’re talking about infinite degrees of freedom here
you can rotate it
but
it’ll remain in the same place
do we know the rules? who’s up or down? who’s at the steering wheel?
we can look for (all the) tracks in the carpet
the traces they left we left		a return covenant	       quizá
but
blah blah blah 		blah blah blah
line = broken line
we retrace our steps and nothing is familiar nothing
which crossbars will be forded		by our caesura?

(iv.)
                                                   para el viajero con experiencia
                                                   un destino es 
                                                   en el mejor de los casos
                                                   un mero rumor

en el fondo 
se trata de la estructura
de localizar la línea narrativa que deje la línea de luz bajo la puerta
hablamos con un grado de libertad infinito	aquí
puedes rotarlo una mil veces	
pero
sigue en el mismo sitio mismo
¿sabemos las reglas?	¿quién sube/baja? ¿quién sigue al volante?
podemos buscar (todas) las huellas en la alfombra
huellas que dejen dejemos		un pacto de vuelta		       maybe
pero
bla bla bla 		bla bla bla
línea = línea rota
re-trazamos los pasos	 y nada familiar nada
¿qué travesaños vadeará		nuestra cesura? 
(v.)

helicopter. beach. he was walking alone. sometimes we need just one reason to quit. 
an aim over which the skin can be spread. it was just a breeze. smell of newly purchased salt. 
as if uncovering waves. why create such a stir. walking. crime against public health. 
remote database access. they landed. they escorted him. from both sides. just in case. 
in view of the risk. in the line of duty. 

(v.)

helicóptero. playa. caminaba solo. a veces basta con una razón para huir. 
un objetivo en el que extender la piel. solo era brisa. olor a sal recién comprada. como destapar olas. 
por qué tanto revuelo. caminar. delito contra la salud pública. acceso remoto a todos sus datos. 
aterrizaron. le acompañaron. a ambos lados. por si acaso. por si el peligro. en cumplimiento del deber.  
(vi.)

transfigured face
head and floor separated by a trickle of blood
the gaze walled by an animal silence 

do you believe in life or death?
in life, definitely

both the fall and the body embalmed by the blasting
until the parquet floor pattern is reached

what is it that remains after the last anchoring?

face down he expects something to move
the start of a sob, or a void, or a question
or a delay as abrupt as an ending

(vi.)

se desvive la cara 
un hilo de sangre separa cabeza y suelo
un silencio animal cubre de pared la mirada

¿crees en la vida o en la muerte?
en la vida, por supuesto

la detonación embalsama caída y cuerpo
hasta el patrón del parqué

¿qué permanece en el último anclaje?

bocabajo espera algún movimiento
un principio de llanto o de vacío o de pregunta
o una espera tan simple como un final 

Editor’s Note: The latter two poems were performed at the online venue Transforming with Poetry
8/1/21. by the author. See Facebook page.

Ángel Huerga (León, 1971) has collaborated in literary magazines such as Nayagua (Fundación Centro de Poesía José Hierro, nº 33), Solaria, Siete de Siete.net, and Las hojas del foro, as well as in the book of essays Poetas asturianos para el siglo XXI (Ed. Trea, 2009). Currently, he attends the Camaleones en la Azotea poetry workshop in Madrid, Spain, where he is based, and has contributed to the release of the a4rismos cardboard book edition (Fundación Sindical Ateneo 1º de Mayo y Taller de Poesía Camaleones en la Azotea, 2022).

He is a lyricist for Asturian-based band Fantástico Mundo de Mierda (FMM) (https://fantasticomundodemierda.bandcamp.com/), which has released the following albums: New Software (Lloria Discos, 2005), La Furia del Fin (Algamar Producciones, 2013), and La Fortaleza (self-released, 2018).

Additionally, he has contributed to translating into English some sections of the following works: El genio austrohúngaro. Historia social e intelectual (1848-1938), by William M. Johnston (KRK Ediciones, 2009), and “In bello fortis”: la vida del teniente general irlandés Sir William Parker Carrol (1776-1842), by A. Laspra and B. O’Connell (Fundación Gustavo Bueno, 2009).

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I Used to Dream I’d Get So High. 3 Poems by James Croal Jackson

Resort

purple palm 
trees on your tank 
top       pink fingernails
clutching milkshake
you sip sun
drenched    Polaroid 
aiming into brick 
wall     red curtain
in the breeze palm 
trees    sky
behind you
all of the future in front


Wrap Party at Arsenal Bowl

Last time we were in this spot,
we broke glasses. on the real-or-
fake (which is it?) marble table.

In my memory, the entire
room is burgundy. wine-
tinted, but I won't let

go, the conviction
of all that spilled
that night, my

mouth, my heart,
the sticky nature
of the surface

that we had
yet to place
our hands on.


I Used to Dream I’d Get So High

Last night, I dreamt I stood
on a tall stack of books, gathered
with others around a roof

like we were at a dinner party.
When I glanced down– finally,
from the top of my tenuous skyscraper,

I had to brace my shoe against
the house to keep myself
from falling back into reality,

but I did anyway, repeating
to the guests anxiety, 
anxiety, anxiety.

I used to dream I’d get so high,
anything was possible. I entered a tower,
beelined to the elevator, and pushed 

the button to the top. Sometimes 
the platform was already ascending. 
Sometimes the whole structure was. 

When the doors (if they existed) parted,
the view from the sky was so rich,
I had to be dreaming. Deep tree greens.

Eternal ocean blue. I returned
to this view often, but stopped
near the end of my twenties. I was 

itinerant at the time, my life 
still an open road ahead
of me. A million meanings yet

to interpret. Not yet bogged by
a steady job but not quite steadied,
living off the promises of strangers 

and the engine of my Ford Fiesta, 
emitting exhaust into the atmosphere,
accumulating. 

James Croal Jackson is a Filipino-American poet who works in film production. His latest chapbooks are A God You Believed In (Pinhole Poetry, 2023) and Count Seeds With Me (Ethel Zine & Micro-Press, 2022). Recent poems are in Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Little Patuxent Review, and The Round. He edits The Mantle Poetry from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (jamescroaljackson.com)

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“Grandma”A Poem by Bhuwan Thapaliya

She rose from her makeshift rustic bed

and strained her eyes in the morning sun

shining through termite-eaten windows.

Drank a glass of basil water and then made

her way up a trail on a tough terrain

 to the forest overlooking the Sunkoshi River

 to collect fodder for her cattle.

An old kerosene lamp hangs in the window

of an abandoned building and carved wooden deities

flank a rickety gate. Poor eyesight, back permanently bent

from the burden of heavy loads, feet deformed

and ravaged by walking barefoot on rough terrain,

she looked older than her ancestral deity on a hilltop nearby.

Dry corn leaves rustled underfoot. She picked one

and rubbed it in her palms, smiling at herself

and kneeled down to quench her thirst from a

little burbling creek neighboring her path.

Thereafter, she hastened her pace humming

her favorite song, sung by her mother

when she was young.

“Plant a tree, then another, then many more. 

Maybe we will be able to cleanse the world.”

Every time when she hums this song,

she feels her mother humming it with her too.  

Whistling, she walked deep inside the forest 

and soon her doko was fully fodder crammed.

She looked at the deep blue sky and grinned

as a little girl with rhododendron flowers

in her hands high up in the Himalayas

and then sauntered slowly down the hill,

carrying heavy doko on her back with the namlo straps

on her forehead smiling at her neighbors

showing her uneven teeth, as they prepare

to spread animal fertilizer on their fields.

On the back of her polka-dotted cow,

there was a little bird.

The cows mooed loudly after seeing her.

She fed the cattle and then went inside the kitchen

to cook dal, bhat and tarkari.

In the adjoining room, her hungry children were

already getting ready for their school. 

 

 

 
 
 
Bhuwan Thapaliya is a poet writing in English from Kathmandu, Nepal. He works as an economist and is the author of four poetry collections. His poems have been published in Wordcity Literary Journal, Pendemics Literary Journal, Poetry Life and Times, Trouvaille Review, Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic Initiative(Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University), International Human Rights Art Festival, Poetry and Covid: A Project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, University of Plymouth, and Nottingham Trent University, Pandemic Magazine, The Poet, Valient Scribe, Strong Verse, Jerry Jazz Musician, VOICES ( Education Project), Longfellow Literary Project, Poets Against the War among many others

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Excerpts from Strokes of Solace Collected Poems by Sanjeev Sethi


Decathexis 

In long-established fasteners
of familial zippers, 
my aloneness leaves me unfurled. 
We are so easily robbed 
when we give ourselves to others. 
Who will want to be a professional boxer 
if epistaxis is the only reward? 
When kindness is home, 
no-one eyes the egress.


Peccavi

Thuribles of trust coax me to be myself.
In the calm of auroral currents, I inhale 
without worry. In the noise of many 
truths, I choose my assailants.

One’s moral compass is as good as guilt 
permits it. Whetted by His workbook, 
outcomes are unwemmed, though our 
daemon is lame as our lapses.


Personalia

I negate the truths they tell me 
about myself, 
a trick I learned early in
game of one-upmanship. 
Whigmaleeries twist on
the dance floor of inclinations, 
I plié myself out of them, 
an exercise practitioners 
of the deadpan imbibe.
The closeness of tanzanite beads 
crumble at the shrine of surmises.


Chef-d'oeuvre

Raked on coals 
by an unseen powerhouse
it seems I am always 
in a sedulous cauldron. 
Chefs of caliber 
add merit and material 
to create a masterpiece. 
When visitants drop by
I garnish the viands,
with poise 
and accept the praise.

 
Editor’s Note: A month before the release of Wrappings in Bespoke, Strokes of Solace(Strokes of Solace, CLASSIX, an imprint of Hawakal, New Delhi, July 2022) was published.
 
 

 
 
Sanjeev Sethi has authored seven books of poetry. His latest is Wrappings in Bespoke (The Hedgehog Poetry Press, UK, August 2022). He has been published in over thirty countries. His poems have found a home in more than 400 journals, anthologies, and online literary venues. He edited Dreich Planet #1, an anthology for Hybriddreich, Scotland, in December 2022. He is the joint winner of the Full Fat Collection Competition-Deux, organized by Hedgehog Poetry Press, UK. In 2023, he won the First Prize in a Poetry Competition by the prestigious National Defence Academy, Pune. He was recently conferred the 2023 Setu Award for Excellence. He lives in Mumbai, India. X/ Twitter @sanjeevpoems3 || Instagram sanjeevsethipoems

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The Planet Poems by Stephen Philip Druce

PLANET JAZARANE

Planet Jazarane - 
where rustling herds of marching embers,
ooze a masquerade of tickled trenches
in seething dominion,

torched waterfalls, nourished by zephyr mastery,
lurch languid in a godly zeal of paradigm vanity,

sandcastle-shaped serpents trigger-spew
a soaring horizon of tangled theaters in
screeching flower cages,

scalded in sodden shadow, the swooping
goose machine scatters its crinkled chimes
in a sensory mist of ragged tigers 
and skating vulture dust,

the canvas hermit -

nurtured in chalice,

furtive in fountain,

splashed by ruby -

as the wilted maestro sits
in a solitude ceremony
of feathered ferocity -

the pianist's final flourish.


PLANET JAYGORM

On Planet Jaygorm, skittle creatures
ricochet plumes of alchemy mutants,

skyline overtures in bleak exodus,
squeal their glistening contours in
blundered hysteria and disfigured glee,

distilled in a gallant gory remnant,
the jolted wanderings of loaded crystal
chambers, fickle mutiny in 
supernatural solace,

as the jarring sorcerers etch ephemeral 
their supine shards of howling epilogues
in burlesque assembly,

the crooked stars in hooded vaults,
yearn to bedevil their tawdry transcripts -
unkempt for the ether.


PLANET YIZZARO

On Planet Yizzaro, crawling corridors
of glazed limpets in clustered folly,
cascade a symphony blossom to tantalize
the tattered artist in a towering squalor
of lampooned puppets ablaze,

plunged in feral escapade,
a dalliance interlude of watercolor 
vessels drip their fluttered meadows 
for willow portraits in starry infancy
and shimmering bliss,

hounded by the giddy margins,
the creaking valley - listless for rhapsody,
mutters its hollow blessings in a saintly
pattern of glimmering sapphire -
the treasured muse in slender desertion.

 
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Stephen Philip Druce is a fifty nine year old speculative poet from Shrewsbury in the UK.His poems are planet based. They describe the events that take place on the planets that exist in his imagination. He has previous publications with The Lothlorien, The Cannon’s Mouth, The Seventh Quarry, Muse International Journal Of Poetry, Cake, Conceit, The Lemon Press, The Playerist, Ink Sweat And Tears and many more.He is published in the USA, the UK, Canada and India. Stephen has an Ebook released in the USA- ‘Quirky Shorts’ and has written articles for The Daily Squib. He’s also written songs for theatre plays in London, and poetry for radio stations, including Radio 4 Extra. He’s on Wikipedia too -as author for The Playerist Magazine. He self- published two books on Amazon : ‘A Naughty British Comedy’ and ‘A Shrewsbury Poet’.His favorite poets : Charles Bukowski, W.H. Auden, Philip Larkin, Jack Kerouac and Jim Morrison.

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Scotland & Further Poems by Karol Nielsen

Scotland

We took a family trip to Scotland and toured the country in a minivan. My great grandmother 
had Scottish roots. Her maiden name was Bothwell. My grandfather said we descended from a 
Scottish earl, Lord Bothwell, who kidnapped and married Mary, Queen of Scots. We visited 
Bothwell Castle and learned the history. Mary, Queen of Scots’ third and final husband—James 
Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell—was not our ancestor. It was one of my grandfather’s tall tales.

Flashes of Inspiration

I used to come up with a new poem in order to have something to read at my monthly open mic. 
I was always inspired by colorful experiences in the city. I began to write in big bursts based on 
memories during the pandemic when live encounters were few and far between. Now I notice the 
woman with a neon green afro, the police explorer with a diamond stud on her tooth, the sleepy 
teen in pajamas and Winnie the Pooh slippers on the subway. I have flashes of inspiration as life 
returns to normal.

Dead Poets Society

My Israeli boyfriend and I had one of our first disagreements over the movie Dead Poets Society. 
In the film, prep school students are inspired by their teacher to embrace poetry and seize the 
day—carpe diem! One of the students, an aspiring actor, shoots himself after his father enrolls 
him in military school. “I don’t want to see this guy in Israel,” my boyfriend said. He had completed 
his mandatory military service in Israel during the first intifada. I defended the film, but he 
wouldn’t budge. It was an early sign of our divorce. Now I surround myself with poets and writers 
who feed my soul.

Googling

I started to Google myself after I went to a party with poets and writers hosted by my urban 
writers’ colony. People kept asking what I did and I said I was a writing instructor with a memoir 
in progress. Most of the people I talked to were published authors who said they would look me up 
online. I felt self conscious because I had not published a book. When I got home I Googled myself 
to see what they would see. I was astounded when I saw a link to The Best American Essays. My first 
published essay had been named a notable essay in the anthology and I had no idea. This lucky 
discovery prompted more searches. Now I check DuckDuckGo. I find unexpected reviews of my books 
by strangers and poems published without a formal acceptance. I cannot resist the urge to look for 
more happy surprises.

 

 
Karol Nielsen is the author of the memoirs Walking A&P and Black Elephants and three poetry chapbooks. Her first memoir was shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Her full-length poetry collection was a finalist for the Colorado Prize for Poetry. Her poem “This New Manhattan” was a finalist for the Ruth Stone Poetry Prize

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FORT CORNWALLIS, PENANG & further Poems by Byron Beynon

GET THROUGH

I imagine myself
inside an Edward Hopper panting,
sitting in a diner
alone and motionless,
the black coffee getting cold,
waiting for something
within me to change 
when suddenly the atmosphere
eases and I hear
a trumpet sound
played by a lean,
cool Chet Baker
embracing my silent mood,
reaching out across 
the evening shadows,
touching my sleeve,
taking me along
with those strong adjectives of music
which climb and soar
above the oppressive
streets and traffic,
telling me calmly of a way
to get through.

ON TOUR

With one glimpse
Keats manages
to catch in a June letter
the Welsh mountains,
his motion of days
on tour,
moving swiftly
northwards
he remembers Lancaster
with its cacophony of shuttles,
a transition brought
by new experiences of activity,
an action travelling 
forwards in thought. 

AN AFTERNOON IN THE PLACE DES VOSGES

After the vortex of Parisian
streets and traffic,
we sat inside the calm square
where lunch-hour workers
relaxed and fledgling infants
played near a peaceful museum,
once Victor Hugo's house.
Days that are windows
reflecting the supreme air of spring,
as an incorrigible bird
sang its unrehearsed notes
with an admired optimism.

THE WINDOW

The continuous search
for the room with a view,

to wake one morning
clear-headed with naked eyes

to witness the promise of a breathing landscape,
optimistic yellow, garden-mint green, peaks of orange.

I’d watch the delivery of colours,
listen to a delicious language

echo from purple hills,
words pausing on a table-top

as the sensuous air embraced the limbs of the trees,
a prepared windowpane
clearing itself like the tone of a determined voice.

FORT CORNWALLIS, PENANG

The heat of an afternoon
enters with a trade of tourists;

conception's myth entertained
by a deliberate pose

near a barrel's erect 
eye filled with flowers.

Within a defensive wall
rebuilt by convicts you can sense

the swell of commands,
perspiration draining from captured pores,

a pungent aroma of sea breath,
the sway of lost time,

thinking of families 
they'd never see again.

An uneasy warmth
stalks the mind like a predator,

about to flare up,
poised to strike an oppressive blow. 

Byron Beynon coordinated Wales’s contribution to the anthology Fifty Strong (Heinemann). His work has featured in several publications including Agenda, Quadrant, Wasafiri, Cyphers, The London Magazine, Nixes Mate Review (Boston), Poetry Wales, English: Journal of the English Association, and the human rights anthology In Protest (University of London and Keats House Poets). Several collections, including The Echoing Coastline (Agenda) and Where Shadows Stir (The Seventh Quarry Press) which was launched at the birthplace of Dylan Thomas, Swansea in February 2023.”

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