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Selected Poems of Steven Curtis Lance

Displaying Poems 1601 thru 1625 of 2780 Poems

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Sep 26, 2007, 1:00 am


Lunchtime in the Plaza

(a fountainside adventure: I ate nothing and enjoyed it)

Large men like cartoon-animals bounce down the street
On herky-jerky animated lunchtime feet
And though their cartoon-watches have no time for me
I sense this is their lunchtime and their lunch is free

Two men teeter on the rim of the fountain's pool
Patiently dragging nets on sticks and gathering
Such leaves and coins as found their way there to keep cool
Or which were cast with reverence in offering
I wish I had found those coins before these men did
Spending money so well-laundered must be splendid

The out-of-towners hit our roundabout and go
Out-of-their-minds as well somehow it seems to me
Strapped in unseemly haste they find themselves to be
Here where it is lunchtime and we always walk slow
Especially after eating when like cattle
Our large men herd back (less bouncy now) to battle

My poetry is not right for the Plaza Review?
I thank God for this (even as I thank God for you)!
Someday we ought to print our own alternative voice
Of those who really live here or who come here by choice

We balance here on the blade of time to keep things real
Newsprint is for recycling so they will not have me
I am recycled anyway but I was born free
(St. Joseph's charged a fee so my father found a deal)

You there! Sleeping on that bench! I like your perspective
Your life (like plastic surgery) remains elective
(Though here plastic surgery has become de rigueur
For those who live forever as if they never were)
You simply do not do those things which you do not choose
For this policemen wake you and find you defective

But we know life is not some race to win or to lose
I (who defected long ago) find you reflective
Through the mirror you have sought your own reality
And having found it here you choose to share it with me

So I am not for everyone? "For Madmen Only!"
Madwomen too (perhaps like you?): for I get lonely

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Sep 24, 2007, 11:51 pm


Beachcombing in Autumn

a love song

Picking among some shards which seem like me
I find among them things I recognize
Clutching at broken bits tentatively
Pieces of hand in hand I realize
What these things must be (as the rain begins)

These are the dried husks of old snake-shed skins
Which I wore at varying lengths of snake
And then there came those times of turning when
I wriggled from my skin made a clean break
To leave here reupholstered once again

And from this process my detritus lies
Here where it fell to tell the truth today
Of growth and change and how things rearrange
Falling leaves on the way to November

I think this is why we find snakes so strange
Because they are strangely familiar to
Evolving humans fitted out with hands
To clutch at broken bits of me and you
Quietly insisting we remember

Whatever a snake knows it understands
Evolving humans fitted out with feet
Now wet from the rain to wake with the pain
Of having come a long way in old skin

It could be time to shed my skin again
Not to replace it but to turn it in
You may come along later and find this
Most recent skin whose shards you might recall
The lips of the face still curled by your kiss

(In this skin I was happiest of all)

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Sep 24, 2007, 8:01 am


The Other Side of the Mirror

Our best poems might not be written yet
Nor would I want to burden them that way
Our sweetest apples bitten with regret
For our fear of missing something someday
Anticipation hesitates to wait
But realization might arrive late

Or some poem I wrote some years ago
For all its crudeness might yet prove my best
Too close to see I know I never know
I wait and study as though for a test
As though life were some university
With grades in letters and work before rest

Is it me or are all things in motion?
Earth pulls the moon the moon pulls the ocean
And each of us is a philosopher
Pondering the meaning of him or her
Of what can be and what she means to me
Loves past persistent loves which never were
But (do I dare to hope it?) which could be

Life itself is the test which teaches me

So without anyone to tell me how
I have to do the best I can for now

N.obody can tell you
O.f heaven or hell you
W.ill simply have to find out for yourself

Nor yet can they show you
They do not yet know you
Except to choose a poem from your shelf

But realization might arrive late
Anticipation hesitates to wait
For our fear of missing something someday
Our sweetest apples bitten with regret
Nor would I want to burden them that way
Our best poems might not be written yet

And yet it is not given us to say

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Sep 23, 2007, 1:36 pm


Mattie and Me in High Society

(Coto de Caza will never be the same)

The cream of the crop at the top of the tree
And in the midst of all of this? You and me!
The hottest chick there was older than your mom
I wore your ruffled shirt left over from prom
And drank a lot of really good wine: I was
Glad I went as a Displaced Person because
That walking stick which was part of my costume
Served as my focal point in the spinning room
Although I blame that stick for breaking that glass
It kept me on my feet and up off my ass

I just woke up in costume now (quite well dressed)
Bleary in the mirror (hung over) impressed
By the way we made our foray into that
Through-the-looking-glass world of the Cheshire Cat
I have some coffee going and this cigar
I found in the pocket of my costume coat
Remembering good cigarettes in your car
Turkish Silvers in that valet-parked Hyundai
Our magical-mystery undersea-boat
In which we sailed 'neath Saturday to Sunday

The old folks jitterbugged back to World War Two
As the Greatest Generation took the beach
With the poolside mermaids singing each to each
They sang to me but wanted to dance with you
We shared their fancy chow but declined to dance
Still we cut a mean rug without meaning to
And did it all ourselves without a tailor
But then Mattie Fisher and old Stevie Lance
Are known for being stylish in all they do
And our hostess made a seaworthy sailor

I never would have gotten there and back alive
Without your uncanny ability to drive
And you bid for and won the silent auction too!
They took pictures of us and I hope we will be
Written right up in the Register on page three
Or two or one or headlined on the social page
To witness our assault on high society
And increase our notable notoriety
As souvenir of our ascending pilgrimage
Up to where those with lives to die for go to die

But Mattie: we live lives to live for you and I

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Sep 22, 2007, 4:04 am


Will

Will is the ability to say: "No"
Will is to lay down our lives for our friends
To lose the battle yet to win the war

Will is the agility to say so
Should we be the means to somebody's ends
That we will not be held back anymore

Will is our essence insisting to be
Asserting our equal right to exist
Remembering what we have come here for

Without will no one has ever been free:
As long as time turns till the wheel stands still
I would we have the will to say: "We will"

Will is the steel in our back to resist
Will is the steel in our back to resist

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Sep 21, 2007, 11:16 am


For Shelby Cundiff: My Poetry Pal

an acrostic and then some

S.o here we are my friend my poetry pal
H.igh on life itself and some other things too
E.nlightenment elusive and mystical
L.eans light across this bench to bridge me and you
B.eing far more friendly than most people think
(Y.our Starbucks cup contains no mere coffee drink!)

C.ara mia! I pronounce you: a poet
U.ntil the whole world knows at least I know it
N.ow and as always we pals in poetry
D.are to test the limits of reality
I.f such limits are for some they are not for
F.ree spirits like us who seek and thus find more
F.ree spirits like Shelby my poetry pal

And if your name were longer
(But of course it is just right)
This poem might be stronger
(But I wrote it late at night)
Your name will be known soon and quite as long as mine
(Now share with me that Starbucks cup of Napa wine!)

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Sep 21, 2007, 4:08 am


With Salem Far Behind Me

I enjoy doing things which once were forbidden
Right out in the open where once they were hidden
And writing it down then (if elliptically)
All rhymed and reasoned into cryptic poetry

They meant well I know as they tried to repress me
And they succeeded if they tried to impress me
In fact I remain so impressed I get depressed
While passing from the repressed to the unrepressed

(Though to have told it this way is to have digressed)

I started as a puritan became a witch
Left Salem altogether and never got rich
But oh what a way to go! What sweet poverty
Is this perfect freedom to do what pleases me!

Should anyone repress you then anyone lies
We must each live our meaning now before each dies
My path has been circuitous and very strange
But I have learned the only constancy is change

You feel (nor do I blame you) change is frightening
But this is how to bloom feels! Your enlightening
Is only strange to you because you have just met
And yet better to love and lose than to regret

(A few lost bets but no regrets as blooms the rose
Yet if a bet is won or lost: only God knows)

With Salem far behind me I will not burn now
Except with curiosity to find out how
To get out of this life all I can while I can
Evolving as a poet from a puritan

While those who repressed me only did what they knew
I know nothing and (I suspect) neither do you
So live it up now and should you come to see me
You can share in my adventure of breaking free

Why wait? Why hesitate? What do you save it for?
You think you have lived but you can always live more
A few lost bets but no regrets as blooms the rose
Yet if a bet is won or lost: only God knows!

How about this? Savor those longshot bets you win
Whether we know it or not we are in this race
Called life yet our destination is not a place
But a process (what a process!): let us begin

I seem strange to you now because we have just met
But come and love me win or lose without regret
A few lost bets but no regrets as blooms the rose
Yet if a bet is won or lost: only God knows

If God is love then in his image so are we
And love like life and God himself is always free

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Sep 18, 2007, 11:30 pm


Straightening My Cigarette

When I was in jail once not too far from here
For trying to die by crashing my fast car
I wore a cigarette behind my left ear
Had a jolly time but now it is too far
From here after all in a distant dead year

All my fellow jailbirds and I got on well
As united in the solidarity
Of those who find themselves together in hell
It seemed more fun than my university
So I felt a bit let down to be set free

I had been ready for anything at all
Having expected to die the night before
But they threw me out so I rose from my fall
Blinked into a future I could hardly see
Straightening my cigarette to live some more

I smile now to remember my delousing
Which without lice I found unnecessary
Young shoplifters yelping and old drunks grousing
Each maintaining his innocence steadfastly
It seemed the only guilty one there was me

"I know my rights!" some cried "You have no rights here!"
Some replied and those were the ones with the sticks
One cracked me on the head since I showed no fear
(Being suicidal) of bully-boy tricks
He paused disappointed then left me alone

If he felt anything it was jealousy
And I gathered that he rather liked the tone
Of my answer given insouciantly
But with coming dawn he knew I would be gone
Leaving him behind and he wished he were me

So I was in jail once now too far from here
For trying to die by crashing my fast car
I wore a cigarette behind my left ear
Was cast out of hell to rise a falling star
All in all I came out better than before

My fast car was repaired my psyche was aired
Lots of hugs and love and memories were shared
And it seemed to me that I was meant to be
Having come out of a coma that same year
Apparently I am supposed to be here

Straightening my cigarette to live some more

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Sep 17, 2007, 11:49 pm


(I simply cannot tell you...)

In the adolescence of my efflorescence
Like a sunflower I turn my face to the sun
As hopeful as ever as true to my essence
As I was to sprout when this cycle was begun

(I simply cannot tell you how I love the girls
All of them as each of them with or without pearls)

At the crossing of a life spent wondering why
I realize that I should have been asking how
Trying so hard to live I was ready to die
My never-ending journey had better start now

(I simply cannot tell you how I love their eyes
That sparkle which intoxicates yet terrifies)

If I took care of myself I could live for years
But I would rather have someone take care of me
With our cupboards full of love and empty of fears
Should I go home with you or you come home with me?

(I simply cannot tell you how I love to kiss
And short of that to tease your lips with lines like this)

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Sep 17, 2007, 12:16 am


Dark Angel

You are more beautiful than anyone could be
And yet you took my arm and you embraced mere me
I ought to write a thousand poems just for you
And read them to you with your perfect arm in mine

So long these lonely years without a dream come true
But now you offer me your cup of angel's wine
I drink at last to find it never empty now
And drunkenly drown in dark sweet depths of your eyes

(You touch me and you bring me back to paradise)

A miracle to silence why to transcend how
A thousand times dark angel I thank God for you
I thought I had forgotten my humanity
But you encompass man and you have come to me

As you have read my books and know the rest of me
The torments and the trials of the tortured past
Touch me dark angel: bring to light the best of me
My life was not in vain! The best was saved for last!

I seek to speak unspeakable delight tonight
More beautiful than anything could ever be
Which only one (dark angel you) could bring to light
And when you took my arm and you embraced mere me
A life lived upside down revolved to turn round right

Now you dark angel shall be my reality
A life lived in your crucible of ecstasy

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Sep 16, 2007, 1:41 am


I Too

A half-forgotten fixture of my days
An unremembered eccentricity
Becomes more precious threatened in small ways
To be worn like a cap of liberty
As doves descend and evening bells strike praise
If to someone else's imagined norm
As though to truth and not some someone's law
I am expected to somehow conform
My independence sniffed at as a flaw

It is not that I am not up to it
I am up and down as quick as a cat
It is just that I refuse to do it
I am no fool and no one likes a rat
Or more like I cannot cooperate
To ring in a wrong of stupidity
With someone interfering in my fate
Just that in that case I would not be me

I would not want to appear ungrateful
Although I must if that is how it is
But to be ordered about is hateful
I have my ways as someone else has his
The sun sinks in the sea yet does not drown
The friends embrace the light is shared in kind
Stars emerge softly as the friends lie down
Though the sky grow dark it will not go blind
The eye of the moon comes watching behind

A half-forgotten fixture of my days
My sun will rise as surely as it sets
A remembering eccentricity
Truth remains true no matter who forgets
And I will rise remembering to praise
Early next morning heedless of warning
Rise as always no matter what who says
Since to be ordered about is hateful
When doves ascend and morning bells strike praise
I too will strike for I too am grateful

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Sep 14, 2007, 6:38 pm


Success

I am doing better than I thought and I hear
That people now are beginning to notice me
After thousands of poems which leads me to say
All I have done is be here to write of my stay
If only in my tea-drinking maiden-aunt way
But there is a side of me they will never see
Since I cannot let them nor anyone that near

I want before I die to write great poetry
Because I have lived a life of meaninglessness
And whatever meaning is it seems it would be
Something which feels like the contentment of success

And yet what does anything mean ultimately?
I sit here on my bed with my cat at my side
Wondering whether or not I should make more tea
Wondering deeper what might the world make of me
I will embrace the honor but will shun the pride
A maiden-aunt's first dance first kissed by fate tonight
Let fire fall and light lance me and I will burn bright

So people now are beginning to notice me
Since I am doing better than they thought I guess
But there is a side of me they will never see
Because I have lived a life of meaninglessness

Maiden-aunts come and dance by the light of the moon
Success has not come yet but they say it might soon

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Sep 12, 2007, 7:24 pm


Now and Then

for Bart Wolffe

Have I finally suffered enough to see
Now as really always (both effect and cause)?
Nothing in my pocket nothing in my hand
No smoke no mirrors and nothing up my sleeve
This is it and this is what is left to me
That understanding is not to understand

The letting go of what really never was
Is like leaving to come or coming to leave
This essential potential which still can be
Though ragged by the roadside still can be found
Gathered from the ashes and sacrificed at
Bonfires of my vanities I dance around
My burnt offerings the smoke by which I see
The crossing is the focus of clarity

As I have no future so I have no past
As death becomes nearer life becomes dearer
I just want to slow it down and make it last
As each night fades away each day comes clearer
And what I touch has never been touched before
This moment which is the crossing: I see that
Now is always true no matter who thinks when
This being the ultimate I have no more

Now is always the beginning of the game
Once dealt the cards have to be dealt with this way
Whether fifteen or fifty it is the same
Crossing: the point at which all intersects now
Balancing on the brink between night and day
Before after always and never somehow

There is only now as there is never then

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Sep 11, 2007, 4:50 pm


Phone Home From the Twilight Zone

"Is that loud man schizophrenic
Or on his mobile phone?"

She asked since I taught this tactic
Once when we were alone
How when somebody is talking
To some unseen unknown
We discern which type of squawking
We hear just by the tone

My teaching failed though I accept no blame
Since it turned out both were one and the same

If you wonder: "schizophrenic
Or on his mobile phone?"
It could turn out both or neither
Or maybe neither nor
But whichever of the either
What are they shouting for?

I do not like their tone

The type of phone which I prefer
Sits quietly and still
As mine does and as all phones were
And has a modest bill
Because the bored utility
Throws the poor a bone rate for a landline

My mental disability
Although not schizophrenia says: "fine"

Now we can phone home from the Twilight Zone
Stay lonely in a crowd
Argue with ourselves in a drumming drone
But must we be so loud?
I might offer a word
Of advice with a cord:

"Come home with me speak softly and use mine"

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Sep 10, 2007, 6:49 pm


Matchsticks

We tend wounds left by those who desert us
We work out the hurts of those who hurt us
Torture ourselves as they tortured us and
Never forget they let go of our hand

We will not eat because they forced us to
Not out of nurture but out of control
We starve ourselves through a hole in our soul
Not good enough no matter what we do

Beaten and broken we nonetheless rise
Through brokenness we triumph after all
Look closer and see the pain in our eyes
We rise to beat back the scene of our fall

We are those matchstick people you might see
Brief candles burning through internal night
Perfection-bound by internal decree
Strike anywhere and we will share our light

Some mock at us and call it all in vain
"Just eat something!" "Get over it!" they say
We keep the secret weep the stain away
But we have to show them: never again

We tend wounds left by those who desert us
We work out the hurts of those who hurt us
Torture ourselves as they tortured us and
Never forget they let go of our hand

We smoke because we are on fire and yet
We light the world consuming our regret

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Sep 10, 2007, 1:39 am


One Love

No time like the present
However unpleasant
The only time we have is only now

And if we can bear it
We learn as we share it
To turn the lead of life to gold somehow

It is this alchemy
Gives hope to you and me
As we transcend the limits of our day

And if we don't lose heart
At least we make a start
To live our most at least and have our say

One life one hope one moment in the sun
One love by which our world is new-begun

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Sep 9, 2007, 10:32 pm


Threshold

Pausing here at the threshold of my age
My youth appears chaotic to me now
At this more peaceful place along the way
A rest stop on this road of pilgrimage
I thank God I survived it all somehow

The road is long and I have far to go
But I will be at peace at close of day
And until then I will wander and grow
As curious as ever and even more
With better understanding of the quest

I see there is still so much more to know
Yet know more clearly now what I quest for
And after contemplation rise refreshed
With pockets full of treasures I have found
Which are ideas and are not hard to bear

They comfort me here and lead me to where
The journey ends in quiet victory
My steps toward the future stacked on the past
Create this work-in-progress which is me
Joy in the journey and peace at the last

I enter this the threshold of my age
My pockets full of souvenirs of when
These ideas which help me understand now
And what I do not know I will know then
Embracing such days as God will allow

I must be on my way now homeward bound

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Sep 9, 2007, 5:31 am


A Misfit Born and Bred

(for all the pretty girls)

A misfit born and bred I do
Exactly as I please
But kindly as my mother taught
("God bless you" if you sneeze)

And if I spend the night with you
I'll thank you in the morn
For all the wonders we have wrought
(How lovely to be born!)

The world has turned and I have learned
A trick (or maybe two)
While hardly working I have earned
A place in poetry
A "name" though I have never sought
To turn the world to me

And best of all (as falls the fall)
I've had a roaring time
If quietly if poor and small
Mucking about with rhyme

A misfit born and bred I do
Exactly as I please
But love to entertain you too
With nonsense-lines like these

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII Mind the Cows








Sep 8, 2007, 5:14 am


I Just Want Him to Love Me

a tale of two fathers

Howling at the hollow sky above me
Alone and lonely waiting out the night
I only ask of God that he love me
And if he would please would he put things right

Haunted unwanted I wait for good news
With so little warmth and even less light
Drowning in words not knowing what to say
From what they tell me why would he refuse
To hear the cry of one lost lapped by waves?

I feel his presence if from far away
A sailor becalmed too far from the shore
Afraid of night yet more of coming day
With both hands full of emptiness held tight
Alone where it is love alone which saves

Down deep hope flickers if ever less so
Yet deeper still the hope of hope burns bright
Too smudged and smoked and stained to light my way
Drowning in debt which can never be paid

I founder as I flounder here alone
On this rising tide with no place to hide
I was not present when these plans were laid
My past is full of those who loved but died
And of my future nothing can be known

I ask for now not for eternity
But ask and ask God grant what I ask for
In memory of promises once made
I stand like Peter sinking on the sea
I just want him to love me: nothing more

God of my fathers my father is gone
It was your will not his I came to be
Although I fear it: bring me to your dawn
O God if you are there remember me

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Sep 6, 2007, 6:59 pm


The Dance of Life

The dance of life continues as it always has
Surrounded by and lifted by the dead
We dance and we die without knowing why: we dance

Eschewing little deaths I choose instead
To dance myself to death the way I was
As my soul rides the wheel on three and red

Not bled away on penny bets but One Great Chance
I would rather be wrong than stay too long: I go
But as I go now I go all at once: I know

The dance of life continues as it always has
The living lifted carried by unnumbered hands
Which turn the wheel which carries me on three and red

I am a fool yet one who understands
That those who would live must dance with the dead
I will go dancing instead of to bed

O you with eyes which smile at mine would you dance too?
The dance of life continues to continue: You!

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Sep 5, 2007, 7:22 am


Along the Way

You never know except you always do

Animal cunning saved your life today
And though you might not quite admit it yet
You will remember (and maybe regret)
Things your mind does while your heart is away
Each needing each as one nature is two

The game of life is not so hard to play
And if you play too hard you get played too
A truth which is too easy to forget
When you fail to distinguish false from true

Take care of yourself and also of those
Who exist because of the way you chose
If the ones you love should have feet of clay
Forgive their trespasses as they your debt
And as to your answer? Only God knows

But enjoy your question along the way

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Sep 4, 2007, 7:17 am


Among Friends

for all my friends with all my love

Favored by friends from far and near
I know I can be happy here
Renouncing renunciation
To embrace the liberation
Which pleasant company affords

Communion which requires no words
Or we can speak or laugh or sing
Of humanness in harmony
Which is no less than everything
Our lifegiving propinquity

This to me is reality
As beautiful as I can bear
Here dancing on the window's ledge
Where there is here and we are there
Balancing on the razor's edge

Now is the Tao of you and me
Transcending fortune fame and fear
What are we here for but to be?
Never early and never late
No time like now to celebrate

Life in all its intensity

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Sep 2, 2007, 8:09 pm


Thank You for Being Friends with Me

Between one and the other lies
The difference which specifies
This our complementarity

What we share is that rarity
Where you like me and I like you
For and in spite of what we do

We get along I mean to say
And in a happy healthy way
Friendship like ours is seldom seen

But you my friend know what I mean
(You always know just what I mean)

Our paths diverge yet always cross

Beyond the profit and the loss
We stood the bad times with the good
And all of it was understood

You are the best friend I have had
Nor will there yet a better be
Thank you for being friends with me

The world devolves as it revolves
And only friendship like ours solves
The riddle of what might have been

And I my friend know what you mean
(I always know just what you mean)

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Sep 2, 2007, 5:24 pm


These Snorting Snouts

I tend to walk hesitantly
Tentative on uncertain feet
Hoping the cars will wait for me
When I attempt to cross the street
On existential pilgrimage

They just as soon would run me down
Were it not for legal reasons
Round the roundabout here in town
As I to be or not to be
Advancing through my middle age
Step gingerly through the seasons

So I attempt to smile and greet
Them as they pause reluctantly
These snorting snouts of cars I meet
Accepting they will wait for me
As my act of faith in their grace

Therefore I thank the ones which wait
While dodging like a matador
Those which make plain they feel it late
To contemplate in time of war
They do not care to hesitate
With one who seems less than their more

I hope someday that more might see
Life as a journey than a race
Till then these snorting snouts and I
One at a time and warily
Negotiate the day I die

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Sep 1, 2007, 11:39 pm


Butts on my Butt

My cause of death in my pocket
Destined to be worn by me
Like a cursed and poisoned locket
My own memento mori

These darts of death remind
Of what I left behind

What should my diagnosis be?
A death wish I suppose?
Perhaps I crave eternity
And what else heaven knows

+Steven Curtis Lance


Copyright MMVII











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