Tag: #amreading

Introducing ‘Twenty-One Jack’ Poetry

Introducing ‘Twenty-One-Jack’ Poetry

 

Might I be so bold as to introduce you to my ‘Twenty-one Jack’? Simply put, it is a poem of your choice with twenty-one lines: rhyme, no-rhyme, free verse, simply, compressed poetic thoughts and feelings. I give you here my first attempt and hope you might enjoy trying it yourself.

 

“Ah, The Sting”

 

Ah, the sting of memory,

The gasp, the dip in sorrow,

All the loves of yesterday…

 

Time, the arbiter, the squire

Upon whose donkey for me

Rode the night’s pleasure…

 

Twas all a moment’s fancy

There in diluted memory,

All gone in morrow’s dawn…

 

Yet, still would I so linger

Among the music and mist

Perchance one dalliance left…

 

For fools exist for pleasure’s

Hopeful lingering at the trough

Of Bacchus eve’s merriment…

 

Only, now, wrinkled fantasies

Visit in grotesque dreams

That deny a relevance…

 

Still, tis good to know that

One’s life does not foretell

Mysteries yet beyond the veil…

Billy Ray Chitwood – May 13, 2019

 

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Westward, Toward the Light

Westward, Toward the Light

There was magic borne on the wind that carried my assorted and disassembled dreams westward. Go West, young man, go west! was the mantra that kept playing softly on my harp of hope, onward to dispel the cravings of a life so unspent, so emotionally charged, to find a place of peace and refuge.

The hay straw still showed behind each ear as the journey took my meager belongings toward the unknowable, the fancy of a young man’s flight. The salt air of an ocean reached and settled sweetly in a naïve mind, its aroma a quiet compelling elixir of jangled thoughts filled with youthful wonder, wild imaginings, and a nervous sense of doubt and fear from an inconsistent past.

So began my adventure into the world where youth gave way to the neon lights, adventures built from beach sand and romance, with but a glimmer, always, but a glimmer to a dream that might come true. Aided by Bacchus’ soothing near-miraculous stirring of spirit, my reach, my grasp, were temporary, daring me to the very edge of some total climactic and thunderous denouement.

And, so it was for a lifetime, this chase, this forever search for some reasonable continuity of existence and purpose. Along with the virginal beginning and the tempest days of debauchery, there came the muse who perchance reached into a soiled soul of enraptured, uncaptured, carousel of desires and bade me be a scribe to all I see, sense, and embrace.

Thus, here I be with the only gauge of my existence, my mind free to roam all expanses, sullied only by its depth and cognition. How much of me is obsequious, imaginary, existent, is not for me to say. ‘Why can you not say’? One could ask. Because I do not know would be my answer.

No long white beard announcing Socratic wonders, still, here in the bosom of old age, I wander down the paths of my mind, still, emotionally, searching, plotting courses uncharted in this, my minimal odyssey.

BR Chitwood – May 6, 2019

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‘A Meeting With The Shrink in Silly-Town’

[Image by Macela Laskoski]

‘A Meeting With The Shrink in Silly-Town’

The Psychiatrist asks, what’s the problem? to the fink.

I’m apathetic, brain-drained, and want a drink!

Well, what’s your problem, do you think?

You hard of hearing, or, what? I didn’t blink!

But that’s what I do, dumb-ass! I get paid to think!

Well, why am I here, almighty Shrink?

You already gave the reason. Is there more to the link?

You, guys! All you do is ask questions that stink!

Well, what exactly should happen, do you think?

Know what? Your questions drive me to that drink!

Then, we’ve accomplished something here, I think.

Yeah, sure, you made $150 bucks in an eye’s blink!

Now, now, relax. How ‘bout that amount with a chink?

How much of a chink, do you think?

Ah, what the heck, I’ll give a 5% chink.

You’re a loon! 5%? You belong in the clink!

You’re testing my good nature, I think.

You think, you dink? I’m gone for a drink.

But, wait, my fee with a 10% chink?

Up yours, shrink, with a chink, to the clink, I think.

Your truly, Billy Ray Chitwink

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Hey, World!

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-Hey, World!-

Hey, World,
Look at my girl…
She’s standing right here
Beside me.
Hey, World,
I’m in a whirl…
I’ve found the girl
For me.

She’s lovely,
And, Wow!
Those Eyes…
She’s Lovely,
She’s Paradise,
She’s Lovely,
Just One of a Kind,
Hands Off, World,
She’s All Mine!
*
She moves with the grace
Of an Angel,
She’s Diff’rent in her own
Special Way.
All that I’ve longed for,
A lady with Style,
Hey, World –
Outta my way!
She’s lovely,
Just One of a Kind…
Hands Off, World!
She’s All Mine…

An Up-Beat Stylish Song by: Billy Ray Chitwood

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River, Keep on Flowing

-River, Keep on Flowing-

I look out over the valley

From atop this tall, tall Pine

And I can see the river flowing

Over this land of mine.

There, on the bank of the river,

Sits a love that I once knew,

Her hair aglow in the sunlight,

Her eyes lost in sky of blue.

River, keep on flowing

River, flow for me

River, ease my heartaches,

And take my misery.

*

Where does she go at twilight?

The love that I once knew…

Does she go in search of tomorrow

In the arms of someone new?

*

River, keep on flowing

Over forgotten ground,

River, keep on flowing

Let my peace be found.

River, keep on flowing

River, flow for me

River, take my heartaches

Relieve my misery.

 

A slow (old-time country) tempo song by:

 Billy Ray Chitwood – April 23, 2019

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‘The Library of Life’

The Library of Life

So often I’m inside myself, searching for the reason I am here on this great orb, so I write my blogs, my books, usually from some aspect of life that beguiles me, terrifies me, or gives me joy. Within the words and phrases of those blogs and books are at times subtle glimpses of universal truths. Wrapping my arms around those subtleties does not bring me the comprehension to understand, but, that they are there, that in writing them, give me some hope that my words in some small way speak to the lives of us all, give meaning to the daily wanderings of our minds, the tedious chores, the chaos, and the wonderment of it all. In all of this I sense a purpose for my living, and there is a literary ‘Saint’ among us who says it so much better than ever I could.

Please ponder these few words from Susan Orlean’s 2018 best seller, The Library Book, rich with some of the most lovely words and phrases a writer can put on paper. Just a few words of ‘back story’, and I shall give you the section from her book that perhaps says it all for me…

That is part of this simple ‘back story’…. My lovely daughter-in-law, Cindy Ruecker, sent Susan Orlean to Julie Anne and me, well, not literally, of course, but her book mentioned above. Our dear Cindy mentioned that, in her reading of The Library Book she thought of me…she at one time years ago typed for me part of a manuscript I had written. When I interrupted her with a question, she quickly told me while she was typing in world speed-breaking time to, ‘hush, I’m reading this as I type and I want to see what is going to happen next’. Cindy is the fastest typist I’ve ever seen type among the secretaries I’ve had and/or anyone in a typing pool – along, of course, with my own wife who is also very swift with her dancing fingers.

At that time, I was so pleased that Cindy ‘hushed me’ because her words resonated with me, giving me some hope for success that my writing might bring. Cindy is part of a ‘Reading Group’ that meets and discusses the book they’ve chosen to read on a given week. This is my way of saying, when Cindy likes a book, is really into it, then I’m comforted that maybe my work has validity. It means so very much to me.

So, that’s the simple ‘back story’, and I shall forever be grateful to Cindy for sending my wife and me The Library Book by Susan Orlean, the Simon & Schuster best-selling author of, The Orchid Thief. It’s an honor for me to recommend Susan Orlean to anyone reading these humble words of mine. Her words flow from the pages with wonderful clarity and meaning.

Now, on to the one page of all the three hundred plus pages in Susan’s book that held me captive, and, with some ‘old man tears’. I think you will love these words and Susan’s book as much as I… Good reading.

The Library Book

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Best wishes to all.

Billy Ray Chitwood – April 18, 2019

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Come, Stray Along

Come, Stray Along

-An Old Man Ranting-

It won’t be a long stray…my mind won’t allow it, and that is good news for those who might not enjoy the straying. Yet, here shall I stray.

I watch Fox News. Oops, I’ve already lost a few of you, I’m sure, but on I go, straying.

I watch Fox News because I wish to hear undiluted words and phrases that present a fairly accurate report of what is happening in the world around me. It’s been years that I gave up on the various network prime time newscasts.

If you wish your news reported without any filters, simply provable facts, then, I would recommend Fox News.

Oh, there are ‘Opinion Shows’ on Fox News that have a conservative cast, but I don’t find indictments of people (close) or mis-truths on this channel (but can be harsh), at least none that my Appalachian brain has been able to discern. If there is a careless negative and/or positive claim that proves incorrect, it is quickly and honestly so claimed.

So, why the ‘stray’?

My ‘Stray’ is written here because I care for my country, fear for my country, and wish only the very best for my country, my kids, my grandkids, and great grandkids.

Am I pure? Am I without a past layered with some mishandling of my life? Of course, I am not. I’ve made plenty personal mistakes, and, in younger years, I was not attentive to politics and the news in general – my head was filled with romantic mush and tomfoolery.

When I left college and the classroom I came to my conservative way of thinking. What do I mean by ‘my conservative way of thinking’? I mean by that phrase that I’ve come to know my country through not only local, national, but, as well, through international lenses. I’ve visited many countries. I’ve lived for a few years in Mexico, so, at least, to some extent, I have a voice that has some validity with which to convey my feelings.

I’ve watched presidents come/go, watched career politicians running our government, and I’ve had my heroes and my villains. My political feelings are just that, feelings, not political theories and/or policy stances, and those feelings are all steeped in one great document, the ‘Constitution of the United States of America’. Can I recite for you that document? No way. Can I ‘run on and on’ about a particular article or an amendment of that grand and aged document? Some, maybe, but, no, I really cannot. However, I do know for sure that our forefathers fought, died, went through their own kind of hell to forge that great document. Ergo, for all their early hard-fought efforts, I love the country they left me and mine. History tells their story in our red, white, striped flag, blue stars, and grand songs.

There is another fact that I know to be true: we are the country which the world envies, and, if that envy is not overtly shown to all of us, you can believe it is respected. I’m sure even China and Russia respect us. Our government leaders will make mistakes, do make mistakes, have made mistakes, but, when the chips go down on the table, our patriots are ready to play.

Today, our country seems to be walking an historical tightrope, democrats unhappy in our choice for a president, entrenched in their hatred for our Commander-in-Chief, taking their fight to unseat him to the very negative edge of decency and democratic fairness.

Where I live, in my heart and mind, I see the actions of this man we call on to make our country great again – in the sense that we could have done better in the previous eight years, maybe, back farther – as a man who can shock us with his words, maybe, even, embarrass us, but also a dedicated man who has already taken us to record market growth, created millions of new jobs in many sectors of our economy, brought back manufacturing, rid all business, large and small of tedious government regulations, taken employment figures to all-time ‘high wages’ for the minorities in our nation, kept his promise to defeat ISIS, got us out of the ill-fated Iranian Nuclear Deal, and stopped apologizing for America to the nations of the world.

Our president, Donald Trump, is no Saint, has a businessman’s approach to solving some of our problems, does tweet and speak daily in some harsh tones, does not pretend to be anyone but who he is, does truly care for our country, and wants to give back to a nation that has given him so much.

So, I can dismiss easily the fact that this man we call President is in any shade like the people who have preceded him, but he is for sure getting the job done.

No big surprise, my chips are all in for our President Donald Trump.

One last thing before I decide whether or not to post this and forever be hated.

President Trump’s number one concern is for America to be safe and secure, hence his wish to build a great wall on our southern border to minimize the illegal entry into our country of millions of people. Many of these illegal aliens in our country have been deported time and again, have murdered, raped, robbed, and some of our cities and states have offered illegals sanctuary…this is perhaps the most difficult subject to understand. We do not have a country if we do not have borders. To have open borders is to destroy our cherished country and our constitution.

I simply do not get it! How can we not come together to get this country on its true path? How can we ignore the guiding pages of our U. S. Constitution? If enough of us do not like this president, 2020 is just around the corner…we can vote him out.

Our country is not perfect by any stretch, but it’s the democracy that all nations respect for its freedom and liberty.

Oh, what the hell! While I’m at it, how can we have people in our halls of congress that wish to destroy us with their socialistic B/S, young moronic kids who believe in their minds we have trillions of dollars to solve all of our climate and social problems?

Has anyone visited Venezuela lately?

Come on, America! Wake up! This is our home! This is our country! Freedom lives here! Liberty lives here! For a while longer, the old coot writing these fiery words lives here!

Let go the hatred!

Billy Ray Chitwood – April 9, 2019

 

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Come, Stray Along

Come, Stray Along

-An Old Man’s Ranting-

It won’t be a long stray…my mind won’t allow it, and that is good news for those who might not enjoy the straying. Yet, here shall I stray.

I watch Fox News. Oops, I’ve already lost a few of you, I’m sure, but on I go, straying.

I watch Fox News because I wish to hear undiluted words and phrases that present a fairly accurate report of what is happening in the world around me. It’s been years since I gave up on the various network prime time newscasts.

If you wish your news reported without any filters, simply provable facts, then, I would recommend Fox News.

Oh, there are ‘Opinion Shows’ on Fox News that have a conservative cast, but I don’t find indictments of people (close, at times) or mis-truths on this channel (but can be harsh), at least none that my Appalachian brain has been able to discern. If there is a careless negative and/or positive claim that proves incorrect, it is quickly and honestly so claimed.

So, why the ‘stray’?

My ‘Stray’ is written here because I care for my country, fear for my country, and wish only the very best for my country, my kids, my grandkids, and great grandkids.

Am I pure? Am I without a past layered with some mishandling of my life? Of course, I am not. I’ve made plenty personal mistakes, and, in younger years, I was not attentive to politics and the news in general – I loved John Kennedy’s ‘Camelot Years’, and my head was filled with romantic mush and tomfoolery.

When I left college and the classroom I came to my conservative way of thinking. What do I mean by ‘my conservative way of thinking’? I mean by that phrase that I’ve come to know my country through not only local, national, but, as well, through international lenses. I’ve visited many countries. I’ve lived for a few years in Mexico, so, at least, to some extent, I have a voice that has some validity with which to convey my feelings.

I’ve watched presidents come/go, watched many career politicians running our government, and I’ve had my heroes and my villains. My political feelings are just that, feelings, not political theories and/or policy stances, and those feelings are all steeped in one great document, the ‘Constitution of the United States of America’. Can I recite for you that document? No way. Can I ‘run on and on’ about a particular article or an amendment of that grand and aged document? Some, maybe, but, no, I really cannot. However, I do know for sure that our forefathers fought, died, went through their own kind of hell to forge that great document. Ergo, for all their early hard-fought efforts, I love the country they left me and mine. History tells their story in our red, white, striped flag, blue stars, and grand songs. Is it just me, or, are our schools still teaching American History, our wars, our sacrifices of so many of our young people on the beaches and the fields across the pond? Are we losing sight of our grand past by tearing down statues conveying historic meanings? Yes, I’m begging the questions!

There is fact that I know to be true: we are the country which the world envies, and, if that envy is not overtly shown to all of us, you can believe it is respected. I’m sure even China and Russia respect us. Our government leaders will make mistakes, do make mistakes, have made mistakes, but, when the chips go down on the table, our patriots are ready to play.

Today, our country seems to be walking an historical tightrope. Democrats are so unhappy in our choice for a president, They control the House of Representatives but are so entrenched in their hatred for our Commander-in-Chief, taking their fight to unseat him to the very negative edge of decency and democratic fairness. I’m not big on writing blog posts that deal with politics. It is so divisive and ugly. 

However, where I live, in my heart and mind, I’ve watched the actions of this man we called on to make our country great again – with a solid sense that we could have done better in the previous eight years, maybe, back farther. President Donald Trump is a man who can shock us with his words, maybe, even, embarrass us, but he is also a dedicated man striving to fulfill his campaign promises. He has already taken us to record market growth, created millions of new jobs in many sectors of our economy, brought back manufacturing, rid all business, large and small of tedious government regulations, reduced unemployment down to 4%. He has taken  employment figures to all-time ‘high wages’ for the minorities in our nation, kept his promise to defeat ISIS (‘defeat’, he said, and, maybe, but more likely, not totally). He did severly damage ISIS! Hegot us out of the ill-fated Iranian Nuclear Deal, and stopped apologizing for America to the nations of the world. President Trump is brash, but it’s way past time to shed our hatred of this man and think about our country…if we haven’t noticed, it’s going too far to the left of center.

President Donald Trump is no Saint, has a businessman’s approach to solving some of our problems, does tweet and speak daily in some harsh tones, admittedly not so eloquently as some presidents in the past, but he does not pretend to be anyone but who he is, and I’m convinced he truly cares for our country, and wants to give back to a nation that has given him so much. That rises for me far above displeasure – or, hatred.

So, I can dismiss easily the fact that this man we call President is in any shade like the people who have preceded him, but he is for sure getting the job done.

No big surprise, my chips are all in for our President Donald Trump.

One last thing before I decide whether or not to post this and forever be hated.

President Trump’s number one concern is for America to be safe and secure, hence his wish to build a great wall on our southern border to minimize the illegal entry into our country of millions of people. Many of these illegal aliens in our country have been deported time and again, have murdered, raped, robbed, and some of our cities and states have offered illegals sanctuary. Immigration in our country is out of control. This is perhaps the most difficult subject to understand. We do not have a country if we do not have borders. To have open borders is to destroy our cherished country, our constitution, and our way of life.

I simply do not get it! How can we not come together to get this country on its true path? How can we ignore the guiding pages of our U. S. Constitution? If enough of us do not like this president, 2020 is just around the corner…we can vote him out.

Our country is not perfect by any stretch, but it’s the democracy that all nations respect for its freedom and liberty.

Oh, what the hell! While I’m at it, how can we have people in our halls of congress that wish to destroy us with their socialistic B/S, young moronic kids who believe in their minds we have trillions of dollars to solve all of our climate and social problems, lecturing to us on principles of Economy? The ‘House of Representatives’ is  allowing their hatred for our duly elected president and their desire to maintain their ‘Power’ by systematically letting hundreds of thousands illegal immigrants to come into our country. The argument doesn’t wash that ‘we are a country of immigrants’! Of course, we are but the vast majority came the way of my ancestors, the legal way, and assimilation took place with these people, learning English along with our rights and privileges. 

Yes, there is a grave emergency in our beloved country! The emergency has at its root hatred, and, friends, it is viral! 

The ‘House’ is not doing their job. They’re mired in continuing a ‘Special’ probe that has gone on for over two years, stalling, manufacturing untruths when they should be handling the immigration issue, providing funding for a ‘Wall’, doing a virtual re-haul of our entire ‘Immigration Laws’. Instead, they’re endeavoring to pass a law that does away with the ‘Electoral College’ – allowing in essence a few states to dictate who our ‘Commander-in-Chief’ will be! What craziness is this? It is an engaged craziness by groups of people attempting a ‘power grab’ of our Constitution and our country.

Yes, there are Crazy times in the United States of America, but we can recover with intelligent, active, and positive participation in our most cherished Democratic ideals. 

Has anyone visited Venezuela lately?

Come on, America! Wake up! This is our home! This is our country! Freedom lives here! Liberty lives here! For a while longer, the old coot writing these fiery words lives here!

Let us let go the hatred!

Billy Ray Chitwood – April 9, 2019

 

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Ode to Lamentation

Ode to Lamentation

 

What is it makes us yearn?

Lonely in peculiar ways?

Is it only hearts of Romantics

That connect to life’s gauzy haze?

 

What of a past we must give up?

Nights in love’s joyous cloud?

Is it so simple to pass and merely

Become one with the crowd?

 

What mocks us most in life?

The mistakes we made in our pace?

The glory that might have been?

Or the wrinkles upon our face?

 

Does dimension lie beyond this orb?

Does Heaven or Hell Await?

Tis written, ‘ours not to know’?

Doth then we yield to fate?

*

©Billy Ray Chitwood – April 6, 2019

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Can You Hear Me?

“Can You Hear Me?”

Pre-dawn, rain storm, and fear gripped me like thousands of little fire ants crawling over my naked body, stinging as they hurriedly moved helter-skelter across my skin.

My forefingers rubbed irritated eyes as the darkness moved on the wall in front of me like angry waves lapping on a stormy coast, grotesque shapes of all sizes in staccato persistence…but it was those deep and growling whispers that tore at my sanity. What was this madness of movement and dulled sound?

For some unearthly reason, an aberrant thought came to my frenetic mind… a distorted and disoriented man with gaping mouth standing silently on a walking bridge screaming without sound. Was there madness occupying my mind and body in these dark hours?

My trembling body sought refuge under the bed covers. The ominous whispers were coming audibly low, rhythmic, but I could not make them out. I felt childish in my fear. Why not get up, turn a light on, and see if there was some logical reason for these melodic murmurings? Alone, I could admit to myself that I was too paralyzed with fright to move.

So, I cowed there beneath the covers, the unmuffled bass whispers still there, still melodic but also changing in different modulations.

Time was lost to me as I lay there in my fetus position on the edge of despair. The whispering had somehow merged into a harmonic blend, coming with the merciful daylight.

Tentatively I stretched my body full-length on the king-size bed and slowly pushed back the covers.

My wide eyes scanned the bedroom, saw nothing but the furniture and a splash of sunlight on the western wall. The whispers were now subdued into a musical sound, almost lovely to the ear.

What the hell was going on?

Was a radio on in the apartment?

I rose from the bed, padded to the closet, put on a robe, and walked into the living room. There was nothing out of place or different about any of the rooms in my bachelor pad. I stood looking out the window at the wondrous blue of the sky and chuckled.

But, wait!

The radio was not on, yet still I heard the whispering musical sounds. I was at a loss to explain it.

After a fast breakfast, I called my doctor, gave him a brief recap of my early AM experience, set a mid-day emergency appointment at 11:30 AM.

*

Soon after my long-time doctor ran auditory tests, he came into the examination room and stood stoically in front of me with a put-on capricious look. We were also friends and golf buddies, so I knew the man very well.

“Okay, Doc, the dramatic pose is good but are you going to let me in on it?”

“Just funning you, buddy. Sorry, but I had to confirm my suspicion. You, Frankie, my friend, have MES.”

Again, he just stood and smiled.

“Well, what the hell is MES, Doc? Must not be too serious, or, you’re a masochist, making me beg for answers.”

MES is an acronym for ‘Musical Ear Syndrome’ – that’s what you have. It’s a rare medical anomaly. You have your very own music system built into your brain.”

“Well, is it a temporary thing? Is it something I have to live with?”

“We know of no treatment for Musical Ear Syndrome at this time. It’s a relatively new phenomenon that only a few people acquire. It’s akin to Tinnitus. I’m afraid it’s something you have to live with, good buddy.”

“It scared me, Doctor Ben, really, truly, scared the hell out of me. The sound started out loud and low like a threatening voice until it finally settled into a slow melodic monotone.”

“It’s likely music you’ve heard over the years playing back for you.”

“Can other people hear this MES music?”

“No, just you, Frankie. You’re one of the select few.”

“Well, ‘bully’ for that, but it’s going to be annoying, Doc.”

“Yes, I suppose it can be in the beginning. You’ll get accustomed to it. It should level off sooner than later. At some point you may need hearing aids, and they will help with the MES.”

“Hearing aids? Damn, I’m not that old, Doc. Hell, you’re the old man here, Ben. What? Three years older than I, you old coot.”

“I know, but hearing is not restricted to us old folks. Soon, you won’t even know the music is playing. And, hey, the song could be one of your favorites.”

“Very funny, Doc. You get no strokes on any of the next golf holes we play.”

“So, that’s the tune you’re going to play for me?”

“Still funny, Doc, but don’t give up your day job…a lot of comics are out of work.”

Billy Ray Chitwood – April 4, 2019

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