Who Tolls the Bells at Truth's Execution   Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Written on the day. Not a particularly good poem, but a fair rant.

on inauguration day

it's an occasion
for a wake

lots of beer,
cursing the fates
and what they have bought upon us

to the country that was until today
and will  some day
be again

to  presidents past
who came,some prepared
for the job, some
not so much,
the great ones,
Washington, Lincoln,
and all the others
who made the grade, Ike,
(I liked Ike)
whose service through two wars
and the  presidency left the country
better, those who, Fillmore, did their jobs,
but are still mostly forgot or the butt
of jokes, those few like Pierce, who
did the country great disservice through
their service, and all the others, mostly
bringing the honor of good intentions,  at
least, those who died and those murdered
before we could truly know them,
tributes  to them all, men in the arena 
who sought, or at least shirked not
the heavy crown...

and in passing,
a small  prayer for papa Bush,
among those who shirked
not the hard
earning ,among the 44,
now 45,  better than the gentleman's C
of the many other who did  not so

to those who passed our way,
shepherds of our flock,
a day to honor their passing
leaving triumphant on the field
the pig who becomes our

drink beer...

sing sad songs...

curse the fate...

remember all the betters
of he whose rule  
begins today,
always, always
withholding our consent
as is our right as
decent patriots,
of our country,
awaiting the rebirth
that is inevitable...

such must be our abiding

More of the same.

hurdy gurdy man

Gary Blankenship
George Orwell's Sixth Rule,  Part E

notes: man walking dog

Allison Kolodinsky

exercise in swine abatement

Pat Mora
Love Ritual
Puesta del Sol

night reaches for a little more  dark

Lucille Clifton    

best idea I've had all day

Elizabeth Seydel Morgan
Suddenly the City Swept the Street

insomniac moon

from  "The Trail  of the Wind"
Grandeur of Mexico
The Face of My Mountain
That Mountain Far Away

as the moon through its tides demands

from "The Essential Koran"

the thing most worth talking about

Robert Pinsky

missed yesterday's poem

Lester Paldy
Fourth of July

frankly my dear

Judith Chalmers
The Archivist
I smell a skunk  

First for  the week.

hurdy gurdy man

mid winter night 
spreads its blanket
over Texas

thick clouds
smother the stars,
the sky dark,
as black as night
can ever be

on the horizon
a small strip of twilight's
orange and peach

against the falling light
of day,
carnival lights of every
neon hue,
a tall Farris wheel  turning
green, then orange, then red
then blue, bright punctuation
between the dark and the light...

how inadequate I am
to praise the glory
of the sight,
listening closely now,
I think I hear the
hurdy gurdy man
his carnival songs

This very fine piece is by my poet friend Gary Blankenship, a brief anatomy of hate.

George Orwell's Sixth Rule, Part E

One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can change one's own habits, and from time to time can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-our useless  phrase...into the dustbin where it belongs.

At 12:476 pm, local time,  in the fifth month, 4,566 years ago (after the flood), a distant ancestor of yours stole a lamb belonging to the third  cousin of a maternal ancestor of mine (of a tribe nearly eradicated when Moses entered Canaan.)

2413 years later, a paternal ancestor  of mine (a Samaritan) revenged the vile act by selling your clan into slavery in Thracian salt pits. He was crucified by the Romans, who arrested him on a tip from an ancestor of yours. His  family was sod to a senator (later murdered by Sulla's supporters) with property and mines in Far Spain. Within a century after the death of the Prophet Mohammad, members of your tribe invaded the Iberian  peninsula and with sword in hand converted my clan to Islam, but did not  release them from their slavery to  the church.

In 1936, a company  of Republican loyalists lead by a distant kin of mine pillaged and executed a village owned by your clan for supporting Franco's insurgents. When the Nationalists won, they (now called partisans) were in turn shot and buried in mass graves.

Yesterday, several bombs were exploded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Members of of our tribe, who we  do  not know and will never meet, cheered; others we can not meet or know died.

Language is important, change is imperative (progress  inevitable). But sometimes the wrong item has been discarded to the dustbin...

Peace brother.

From 2013.

notes: man walking dog
poor little buds
showing on the trees
in the still-dark
by several weeks,
is the young
who are sacrificed
in every season
in the culvert
damn, look at that
big squirrel
let's chase
shadow gray,
sometimes  follows,
some times leads 
sometimes waits patiently
for dog to take care of her
cool mornings
until we get  to Apache Creek
stretching in both directions, "Wind
Tunnel Creek"
they ought to call it

no  longer
now it's cold


half-way across the footbridge,
the gurgling and rippling
of water
cascading over limestone


on the corner
start to bark when
we're  still  half a bloc away

three dogs,
three different barks -
little bark;
big bark;
bison bellow;
if we pass early
they still sleep
we pad quietly
on soft  little cat,
dog, and human feet 
so as not to wake them and pass


fog settles in,
the way home


cat crossing the bridge
on busy Evers Street
as out of place
as  a tiger under Broadway

but she is self-possessed
and does not care
for  the opinions of others

she is a cat
after all


turning the corner
we cross the yard
of the house
that has been vacant
for six months,
saving 57 steps

someday the house
will sell
and we will be 57 steps healthier
every morning


our first morning walk
dog jumps into the back of the car
and I toss the newspaper into the front seat

goes to her spot on the porch
and waits to be fed
her morning

neighbor tom
the cat chow
until I throw a rock
to chase him away

but I will leave
and tom will return
and steal some more

cat waits
she'll get here
when I come home at noon
and tom is off


settles down
as we drive off to breakfast

she knows a reward,
a piece of turkey
sausage  and another walk
is coming
after I finish my breakfast

knows she has things under
for she is an accomplished

Next from my library, this poem from the anthology, Passionate Hearts, The Poetry of Sexual Love. The book was published by New World  Library in 1996.

The poem is by poet and translator Alison Kolodinsky. The poet who has published her poetry widely also has a Masters of Science Degree in Community/Clinical Psychology.


After making love
beneath the wings of a ceiling fan,
we will rappel,
make our unnatural descent,
step off the sheer cliff of waketime.

Soon we will  let go
of the muslin drapes and high, white walls
and you will slip
into rhythmic breathing, your limbs
trembling down the length of  sleep.

You will use your arms
to control the downward slide; your knees
wedged inside mine,
your hand bracing my hip, your scent
enclosing me in this cocoon.

And breath after breath,
we  will let the reliable cues
swallow us down
lie gravity, until we fall
untied in our naked safety.

I wrote this early in January.

an exercise in swine abatement

I planned to write
something deep and inspiring today
turns out
I don't have anything deep or inspiring
in me
so I thought
I'd write something funny
but my humor these days
turns into Shakespearean tragedy
(but without the blood 
and eloquence  and insight into the depths
of the human soul, of course)

thought I might write
about the weather, but the weather 
suck which would make my poem suck
and as an incredibly talented poet
I  can suck without bringing the weather
into it
why bother?

thinking about writing about
my lovely wife
but it's too  early for her
and I'll be damned if I'm going
to write about someone
who won't wake up and fry
the bacon while  I toil in unrequited
poetic  passion
might write about the  fella
at the table next to me,
but, truth is,
he's a doofus-looking guy 
chewing his fingernails under
a gimme-cap and it  seems surely
to be a waste of my valuable
poetry time

or I could write about the tiny
black girl who works here
and who looks so familiar
that I think she may have worked
at a coffeehouse downtown
five years or so ago
in those days she was  even
and tinier

I could write about
the chairs and tables
and light fixtures
and the full-toothed way
the girl across the room
that's be just an exercise
in pointless extension

and I'm afraid if I keep
pointlessly extending I might
slip into writing about the pig who will be
president soon and everything
I've written so far was mainly about
avoiding that
it's time to realize the purpose
and original intent
of the exercise
and quit
the swine sneaks his filthy effluence into
the poem and
right here

Next from my library, two poems by Pat Mora from her book, Chants, published by Arte  Publico Press in 1994.

Mora, born in El Paso in 1942, became a teacher after earning her MA, then moved into administration so she could have more time to write her poetry.

Love Ritual

In Mexico the dead are lured
back for  a day with marigolds and
candles. Women cook rich, spicy
mole. On graves they put cigarettes
and tequila, pan dulce,ripe mangoes.
"Come back," they're saying, "Come
back and savor  earth's sweet wines."

Outside my door I'll sprinkle yellow
flower petals. Carefully I'll  place
my picture, the poem I wrote you,
a sketch of two  lovers removing
each other's clothes. I'll light
green votives,  and you'll be pulled
back too.  And maybe stay.

Puesta del Sol
        for my father

The gray-haired woman wiped her hands on her apron,
lightly touched the warm wood counters of her kitchen
as cars sped on the dirt road outside  her window,
cars of young men hot for Saturday night,
beer and laughter.

The woman pushed open her front screen door,
leisurely looked at the pink summer clouds,
slowly watered the plants growing in large tin cans,
said t  her small  granddaughter, "mi 'jita,
such a sweet time of day, bird songs,  wind songs."

The abuelita smiled when in  the last tin can
she found a geranium in bloom wine bloom,
her wine on a Saturday night.

This short piece from mid-winter,  2014.

night reaches for a little more dark

night reaches for a little more dark
as day's fire streaks
red and orange in the west, tall oaks silhouetted
black  against the light, thrashing
against the strong north wind that rises with the sun

unseen for months, deer
return in the half-light to the pasture
across the way, emerging from the woods
in their sharp, tippy-toed way to  graze
in the high meadow grass

it's cold out, at least for these parts,
in the thirties, Bella, all golden furred
and fluffy from her beauty parlor visit yesterday,
waits in the car for her morning sausage treat
and a walk

and it's cold out there

Next, here is Lucille Clifton, the collection, Good Woman,  poems and a memoir 1969-1980. The book was published by BOA Editions, Ltd. in 1987.

Clifton, born in 1936 and died in 2010, was the the first poet to have two books of poetry (including this one) to be finalist for the 1987 Pulitzer Prize. She also had another Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1980. She served as Poet Laureate of Maryland from 1974 to 1985.

I think this might be two  poems, one titled and one not, but for "Here and Now" purposes I'm treating them as one.


lightkeeps on breaking.
i keep knowing
the language of other nations.
i keep hearing
tree talk
water words
and i  keep  knowing what they mean.
and light just keeps on breaking.
last night
the fears of my mother came
knocking and when i
opened the door
they tried to explain themselves
and i understood
everything they said.


some dreams hang in the air
like smoke. some dreams
get all in your clothes and
be wearing them more than you do and
hold them and half the time
trying to wave them away.
their smell be all over you and
they get to your eyes and
you cry. the fire be gone
and he wood but some dreams
hand in the air like smoke
touching everything.


From early January. Still mostly under the weather, but carrying on with carrying on.

best idea I've had all day

after three weeks
of lingering misery
feeling like warmed over 
turkey poop

this morning
at the coffeehouse
I've posted my weekly blog
and thus have done
my primary 
Wednesday task
and except for this daily poem task
am prepared to lower my flag,
fold up my kit
and find
I know is at home

my warm bed for sleeping
with my warmer dog
beside me...

best idea I've had
all day

Next from my library, a poem by Elizabeth Seydel Morgan from her book, Without a Philosophy, published by Louisiana  State University in 2007.

Morgan lives in Richmond, Virginia, and has four books from Louisiana State University, this being her most recent one.

Suddenly the City Swept the Streets

March fifteenth, cold as a warning:

Last fall's oak leaves, raked
as separate leather gloves, muck

in black piles at the curb, the promise
of pickup broken by snows,

delay, a dozen sleets and freezing rains,
motor oil, flood and flu -

So I screamed at the Ides out my window;
Taxes, taxes, take up my leaves!

Some love take my crabby heart!
Some force unsuck the  tentacles of winter!

When suddenly - this afternoon -
the city swept the streets.

Clean street, now meet Equinox:
Who knows what may happen next.


This word train is from January 2015.

insomniac moon
in an uncertain sky

remind of
by people
dog wants
dog wants
moon set
sun rise
another day
to lose
after another 
lost night

Here are several short pieces from In the Trail of the Wind - American Indian Poems and Ritual  Orations. The book was published by Farrar Straus and Giroux in 1971. It's  not made clear who the translators are in the book.

Grandeur of Mexico  (Aztec)

Extended lies the city. lies Mexico, spreading circles of  emerald
     light, radiating splendor like a quetzal plume.
Beside her the boats of war chiefs come and go. A flower
     mist spreads out above the people.
O author of life, your house is here! Our father, here your reign!
     Your song is heard o earth; it spreads among the people.
Behold Mexico, palace of the white willows, palace of the white
And you, like a blue heron, above her you open your wings; you
     come to her flying. Beautifully you open  your wings and
These are your subjects, they who rule throughout the land,

Song  (Makah)

Mine is a proud village, such as it is,
We are at our best when dancing.

The Face of My Mountain  (Quiche)

My voice speaks out
to your lips,
to your face:
give me thirteen times twenty days,
thirteen times twenty nights,
to  bid farewell
to the face of my mountains,
the face of my valleys,
where once I roamed
to the four world-ends,
the four world-quarters,
seeking and finding
to feed me
and live.

That Mountain Far Away  (Tewa)

My home over there, my home over there,
My home over there, now I remember it!
And when I see the mountain far away,
Why, then I weep. Alas! what can I do?
What can  I do? Alas! what can I do?
My home over there, now I remember it.

Good old regular days, my ruts secure.

 as the moon through its tides demands

a thin crescent
holds its own
in a pale, barely-born
morning sky...

errands to run
my day breaks from 
its regular ruts

such random interruptions
to routine
are supposed to invigorate
stale and rut-bound 

not for me

it's the ruts
that bound the parameters
of my reality, my excuse
for sanity...

a wild and crazy
my hot blood
long col and congealed
into regularity 

my regulator
and my reassurance
that if it's 9:00 a.m.
and I'm where I'm  suppose to be
my grip on sanity
is secure

and the day will  happily proceed
as the clock unwinds,
as the moon
through its tides

Here are a couple of passages from The Essential Koran, The Heart f Islam, published by Castle Books in 1993, with translation by Thomas Cleary.


There is no good
in most of their private conferences,
except those who enjoin
charity or justice
or reconciliation among people:
and whoever does that,
seeking the pleasure of God,
will be given great reward.


Anyone, male or female,
who does what is good
and is faithful
will enter the Garden
and will not be oppressed at all.
And who better in religion
than those who surrender
their being to God
and do good
and follow the way of Abraham,
seeking truth?
For God  took Abraham
as a friend.

And to God belongs
what is in the heavens
and what is in the earth;
and God encompasses everything


We have inspired you,
as We inspired Noah
and the prophets after him;
for We inspired Abraham
and Ishmael and Issac
and Jacob and the Tribes
and Jesus and Job
and Jonas and Aaron
and Solomon;
and We gave David
the Book of Psalms.

And there were messengers
of whom We told you before,
and messengers of whom
We have not told you.
And God spoke directly to Moses.

There were messengers
who brought glad tidings
and who warned,
so humanity might have no dispute
against God
after the messengers.
And God is most mighty,  most  wise.

But God witnesses
to having revealed to you
God's revelation
by divine knowledge.
And the angels bear witness
though God
is enough of a witness.

Next, a barely old poem from early last year.

the thing most worth thinking about

to begin,
the scientists
who study the science of way-old things
have named the "Iceman" - the mummy
discovered in a melting glacier in the Alps,
as possessing the earliest known

dead for over 5,000 years and preserved
in the ice, it seem he was a hunter-warrior
suffering from many of the same ailments as me,
except that he died in his thirties while I'm still
hanging on in my seventies...

also he has some obvious war wounds that I have
avoided and he also has tattoos
I have also avoided -

the tattoos, five on his lower leg and and ankle and one
on his wrist, all at bone joints and possibly
a very early attempt at relieving pain -
something like the  practice of acupuncture invented
by the Chinese three thousand years after the iceman
and two thousand years before our own time -

this leading, in the article I read, to an intense
discussion about the effectiveness of acupuncture
as a medical procedure, some declaring reports of
its effectiveness to be poppycock (this being a scholarly
article - such technical language is not unusual) and
others responding by declaring that anything
people do for two thousand years must be effective,
which doesn't strike me as a particularly effective
argument since the Iceman had war wounds
and five thousand years later we still have warriors
with war wounds and I don't see how that proves
the effectiveness of war as a prescription  for health
and wealth...

but that's a whole other argument I don't find
so interesting, nor do I find the whole
business of tattoos

what is interesting is the wonder of finding
a five thousand year old corpse
sufficiently preserved
to allow for medical  investigation

and the other thing, the big kabunga,
the fact that the glacier that for five thousand
years preserved the body is

it seems to me that's the thin about the story
most worth thinking about...

This poem by Robert Pinsky is from the February, 1973, issue of Poetry that I picked up at my local second-hand book store a couple of years ago. Originally selling for $1.25, I think I paid $3 for it. So that's my investment  advice for the week, buy poetry magazines.


When the trains go by
The frozen ground shivers
Inwardly like n anvil.

The sky reaches down
Stiffly into the spaces
Among houses and trees.

A wisp of harsh air snakes
Upward between glove
and cuff, quickening

The sense of the life
Elsewhere of things, the things
You touched, maybe, numb

Handle of a rake; stone
Of a peach; soiled
Band-Aid; book, pants

Or shirt that you touched
Once in a store...less
The significant fond junk

Of someone's garage, and less
The cinder out of your eye -
Still extant and floating

In Sweden or a bird's crop -
Than the things that you noticed
Or not, watching from a train:

The cold wide river of things,
Going by like the cold
Children who stood by the tracks

Holding for no reason sticks
Or other things, waiting
For no reason for the trains.

Over three thousand daily poems under my belt, missing no more days
than can be counted on less than both hands. This day was a new miss.

missed yesterday's poem

missed my poem
due to illness

I checked the Everything
this morning
for any dire consequence
due to my irresponsibility...

none  found

the stars still shine
in their orbits,
as does the moon
harbinger of rising, falling

alles ist in ordnung
on the cosmic front

(except for that little slip
into a language I don't even

my morning eggs over-easy
as ordered
as well as my super-extra-crispy
and my dog still loves m

which covers all the important stuff
up to this minute...

which is disturbing...

lack of my morning poem
by all, both cosmic
and local
makes me wonder
what would happen if I  don't write
another poem today...

having slid by one day
I'm tempted to  a 
let's face it, 
it's too big a chance to take,
being ineffective
two days in a row
might be more than my precious
artist's ego
and will-to-live can weather...

to be safe,
to protect celestial mechanics
and the rolling tides
and my ego,
here's  poem for today

(note: so far as I can tell celestial mechanics
and the tides and my ego do not suffer
from excessively limiting qualitative
as if that was not already

Lester Paldy, born in 1934, was Distinguished Service Professor at State University of New York at Stony Brook where he taught since 1967 with occasional leaves to serve on US arms control delegations in Geneva and at the UN. He published his first book of poetry in 1992. The  poem is from a later book, Wildflowers at Babi  Yar, published in 1994  by Night Heron Press.

Fourth of July

When July comes again next year
I'll listen for a band
near La Jolla cove
and look for a crowd in picnic chairs
watching fireworks light up the night sky.
I'll shiver in the sea-breeze,
remembering how you leaned
against my shoulder
with strands of your hair
brushing against my face
and heard the surf
muffle the shouts of the last volleyball game.
I'll think of waves smoothing footprints
at the water's edge
and planes that seem to hover
between Venus and the sunset
while the last pelicans glided
over darkening tide pools
where anemones beckoned
and seals climbed n rocks.
Flowers will perfume
quiet courtyards
along the back streets
and if I lose my way
I'll recall how you always knew
where we were
when the sky glow faced
and mist veiled the mountains
by the coast
stretching north
beyond La Jolla beach.

Falling back to 2007 for this old poem.

frankly, my dear

I spent a good part
of a day last week
the hedge in front
of my front porch

it was about chin
and I cut it back
to about knee high
with the idea
that we could sit
out there in front
and watch life go by

so far
life going by
amounts to cars
going by too fast
for a nice Andy/Aunt Bee
wave and howdy,
several dog walkers
with ugly dogs
who I suspect are
the producers of the
dog poop
I always find in the yard
- the dogs, not the walkers -
and the very large lady
in the very tight shorts
who jogs by
twice a day huffing
and puffing
and I guess there'd
be a story there,
a real slice of life
story, but frankly
I don't give a hoot
- I stole that line
but cleaned
it up for my general
audience -

so that, as they say,
is live
on Clearview Street
in San Antonio,
not much
to spend a whole day
trimming hedges for...

there was the young
who missed the turn
at Callaghan & Clearview
and drover her Ranger
through my neighbor's
fence this afternoon
but that doesn't
since I wasn't there
though I did hear about it,
making it a part of someone else's
life and only secondarily my own,
which is not enough to count
as a full-measure part of my life
on this slow Texas
and certainly not justification
for trimming the hedge

This is the last for the week from my library. The poet is Judith Chalmer and the poem is from her book, Out of History's Junk Jar, Poems of a Mixed Inheritance The book was published by Time Being Books in 1995.

Chalmer's poems have appeared in literary journals and anthologies and have received honorable mention from both the Pushcart Poetry Prize and the Wildwood Poetry Prize. At the time the book was published she writing and literature to adults returning to school and also teaches creative writing at an arts-based day care center for frail elders.

The Archivist

I didn't expect it to be so
pretty. I didn't want it to be
so  clean. It wasn't the Nazis
who fingered the needle,
stitched a neat cotton backing
to the coarse grained star.
"It was my grandmother
who lined it, " I told the archivist
when I dropped it on her table.

Slowly, as if lifting a thin yellow baby
from her bath, the archivist raised
the tired cloth to the light,
ran her fingers over the little scars,
the tracks where my grandmother pulled
a heavy thread around all six points
of the star. "Look," she nodded
to where the window framed wild iris,
orchids banked in the yard, and the star
translucent against the light.

I'd missed the way people reach
inside, when even their faces are buried
in grime, to find something pretty,
something to shine -Beautiful! in the dirt,
in the stubble and smear, Bright! in the blade
of the knife. My eyes followed hers
in the late gray light to the curled free end
of the plain cotton thread my grandma hid
fifty years ago, tucked way inside, so in hands
like mine, it wouldn't come unraveled.

Trying to not write a political poem but my mind came up skunks anyway.

I smell a skunk

another full day
walking the dog at 5:30,
cool, early fall-smelling breeze,
the dark streets of the neighborhood
welcome the morning
with rustling trees and hanging chimes with
their morning songs, an occasional dog's
snuffle bark, a grumbling notice
that they'll get up and raise the alarm
if they really have to, but really don't want to
so just walk on, please, don't bother me...

meanwhile, my dog Bella
from streetlight to streetlight,
an explosion of joy when she heard me
take  her leash down, still in that job state
so  happy to be out in the early dim,
walking with me, so happy to be with me
and not left behind, so happy to be going somewhere,
anywhere, with me


I am more cautious, enjoying the morning, but still
on the look-out for the two skunks I saw on the street
two  mornings ago, a pair, male and female
walking ahead,  the large  male, black and white flag
proudly flying, sauntering down the street that morning
as Bella and I saunter  at the start of this day...

it is the nature of a dog to enjoy the moment,  sure,
in their dog way that all moments are sure to  last, pleased
in their dog  way that such wonderful times there are
as this one, walking in the early morning, under rustling
trees, grumbling  dogs, the sound of backyard  chimes
drifting in the morning breeze

while it is my nature to overlay all the good morning
signs with skunk moments, the day that comes 
that even this early, I smell of the skunk
of  it...

As usual, everything belongs to who made it. You're welcome to use my stuff, just, if you do, give appropriate credit to "Here and Now" and to me

Also as usual, I am Allen Itz owner and producer of this blog, and a not so diligent seller of books, specifically these and specifically here:

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBookstore, Sony eBookstore, Copia, Garner's, Baker & Taylor, eSentral, Scribd, Oyster, Flipkart, Ciando and Kobo (and, through Kobo,  brick and mortar retail booksellers all across America and abroad


New Days & New Ways

Places and Spaces

Always to the Light

Goes Around Comes Around

Pushing Clouds Against the Wind

And, for those print-bent, available at Amazon and select coffeehouses in San Antonio

Seven Beats a Second


Sonyador - The Dreamer


  Peace in Our Time

at 8:47 AM Blogger davideberhardt said...

photos 5 , 19 and 12 (if i counted rite)- am loving poems che guevara liked- poets- leon felippe- neruda, paz- several others che on you tube reads felippe - a p;oem to the sugar cane workers liked yr skunk pome- just remember many creative minds are scheming to pull trump down
hopefully just a matter of time
texas sounds so horrible- who votes for a ted cruz? a gregg abbott? i can't even guess
angry fu kheds?

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