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Can you stop it?

 

I can’t breathe. No, I can’t go on. I hope you understand.

My life, with you, is in a paper bag, in-and-out hyperventilation.

 

You can’t find the answers. Let it be—

 

Oh, you agree it’s a riddle, and yet you feign sanity as if the weight won’t crush you like a boysenberry. Splat! Blood and unwillingness everywhere.

 

Look! The shrubbery is green, the flowers are trying desperately to hold-on to Spring, but that blessed time has passed.

The ever-present avoidance. 

Yes, nature, a glorious magic spell. I am aware, but please.

 

Why, because two espressos, and the morning’s black and white print, reading between the lines, makes you self-assured. In the meantime, the sky went grey hiding from a pessimistic interpretation.

 

To the contrary!

The sun called my name, and I was singing its praises.

I was spinning in optimism, about to create seven perfect days ahead.

You, however, toil for whatever tidbits the world feeds you, gullible—a sponge for imaginary gossip.

 

That’s your problem in life, taking it for something it is not intended to be. Dreaming of Eden.

Hard work and planning, I tell you! 

I wish you’d wake-up in the truth far from expectation and madness.  

 

When in the end, the plan of hard work and no pleasure are a tombstone and daisies?
Honestly, I would not die from your silence. Being captive in its daily oppression is overrated.
Do you remember being inquisitive, less stringent?  

 

I recall more space in your voice for reason, less bitterness, long locks of auburn hair that embraced simplicity sweetly, a blade of grass, the vase-center table with tulips.

 

Before I became a victim! A scissor for a tongue, cut-out replicas of a heart,

tore to pieces, and the hardness in bones that struck the core, oh such pain

inflicted by arrogance.


Sorry.

(Black, shark eyes, no emotion. There is no sincerity in apologies). As if I could believe, and even if possible, would no longer want to. This time I will be a bird, courage, soaring into a time that is generous with love, reciprocity, a field that never ends in gratitude, sees me as fragile and simultaneously powerful, then takes me to its heart—a new home.

Unphased. Imagine his silence—

I will clear the gutters before the storm, board the windows, keep nature and life far from us.

I shudder at the earth that never moves inside of him, even on fire. For this, I can always
trust—insipidness, steadfast in the things that hold us secure in mediocrity.

I want to die, at least, in the fever of reckless abandon.

Each step was carved-out in the endless days of years that passed too quickly, and I, waiting, always waiting, for the one thing to save me, lost myself in the process.

I adhered to expectation, stretching only my fingers and toes to brush the excitement of a churning sea or dreaminess of a Marigold. I remained sincere to fear, and the guilt that prevented ever fully submerging and emerging.

I am confident that I could breathe underwater living as I imagine:

Free from solid ground, as a yellowtail fish, a seeking white gull, as salt in waves, and mist in the air, the moon when it rises—the whole majesty, or each star’s wish,

and the glorious sun like an urgent heat that falls onto shoulders embracing a new day.

I want to be who I am unapologetic, free from the memory, delighted in a moment.

 

Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte ©2020 All Rights Reserved

 

I’m sorry. I’m a few minutes late.

What’s going on?

Ah, nothing. I mean, I’m tired. Today had a mind of its own.

Days often do.

Yeah, it would seem so… I just wanted to get the things done that I had planned.

It happens. What stopped you? Were you able to clear things up so that tomorrow, perhaps you can stay on track with your plans? 

You see, that’s the thing about days with minds of their own. There’s no telling. If I get everything out of the way, it’s still left to be determined. They are non-committal that way, those days, or I am to them. 

Right about the days, and you? What do you feel you’re not committed to, or that you’d instead be promised to doing? 

I don’t want to be responsible for the external pull that drags energy from me and diverts attention to everything else. The daily minutia is so goddamn important, isn’t it to our survival? The rotten details in every aspect of living and not being. I want to be. Myself! Not selfish, but existing wholly, which I can’t seem to do with the pull, this way, that way, the needs and wants from everything and anyone else. 

Did someone ask you to do these things for them today? 

No.

So, why did you feel obligated? 

It’s an internal struggle—a self-induced argument with my conscience—pressure to be perfect. I want to be, and simultaneously am resentful. I don’t want to care, not about my thoughts, or the dirty counters, the slippers left under the table, a dirty stovetop, or the dog wanting to go out for the third time. Most of all, I can’t bear to think of anyone else’s judgment in the case it isn’t all done. 

Would they judge you?

I don’t know. Maybe. I mean sometimes silently, or by their martyr act. I know that I resent anyone else’s implication that I’m not up to par.

I think that’s more your internal dialogue and the things you’ve been made to feel, the tags assigned to you that hold no real truth. 

I agree. Maybe I can have a tag sale. 

Gentle laughter–Maybe you can. 

Tell me what you’d like to be doing? If you could remove the distractions. 

I’d live! I’d have fun doing everything that I want with zero roadblocks. I’d be free and perfect at the same time. Yes! I could find a place for everything, then all I’d have to do is maintain. I could stop worrying all of the time. I’d sleep like a baby and wake up years younger. I’d have time each day to breathe, not the way I do now with doubt or hopelessness, but empowered! I could silence the things that do not serve me. I would see myself in the mirror and be sure it was me looking back. There would be so much space that I could come alive, not the way someone said I ought to be, but the way I was meant to be.

I see. Thank you. You do have a beautiful way of expressing yourself. Perhaps your creativity is repressed by your expectations of being something or someone you cannot be to please a phantom. 

Yes, the phantom ever-present within me because I care enough to listen. That’s my downfall—a need to please, to be validated.

Did I tell you, my muse has woken? She was angry with me for giving into fear and filling my world with clutter to mask the heartache. 

No, you hadn’t mentioned it. I’m happy to hear if, as a muse, she is serving you. 

Yes. I found her while taking my daily walks. She’s, of course, supplying me with incredible ideas far from anywhere I could write them down. But something happened last Tuesday.

What is that?

I was walking along my way when suddenly I was captured by a beam of sunlight perfectly situated on a green leaf on a low tree branch that I was passing beneath. It was so much more than what I describe. It was Omnipotent. I’m confident because time stopped, and I was given a gift of relief and clarity. It seemed possible that I could cross over into another dimension. I was overcome for seconds in pure joy, the kind unimagined or impossible in this life. I wanted to own the feeling forever but was left with only its memory.

Wow. That was certainly a powerful experience. What, if anything, did you take from it outside of the few moments of joy and their memory?

The knowledge that freedom exists to be truly happy. It’s a matter of believing, I could be or do anything, even on days with minds of their own.

Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte ©2020 All Rights Reserved

 

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The problem is people have had it too good, too easy. The days of gratitude and grit became lazy and demanding. Sadly a portion of our country’s citizens has forgotten their blessings. A different part never appreciated our greatness. And worst of all, another group has betrayed us. Throughout the years, America has been a great beacon of hope. People from all lands made the journey to America with a dream of a better life. History has seen nations suffer, ravaged by war and famine. People of those nations have fled to America. We have opened our arms and cradled them with newfound hope. No doubt, there were struggles. People had to learn a new language, navigate foreign land. They prayed to be accepted and sometimes initially were not, but they persisted and simulated as proud Americans until they were. Everyone with this American dream worked hard to build their new lives towards prosperity. It wasn’t easy. Hardship was real. There was a depression, war, plague, but a strong foundation. America was worth the effort, and the place happily called their new home. Different ethnicities built us strong and made a great melting pot. We thrived on Christian-Judeo values, one nation under God. Today, we still have those that make the journey. They do things the right way, follow our laws, work hard, start businesses that build our economy, share their cultures through food, language, art, fashion, trade, building, music, so many essential things we embrace. They are proud to become Americans, and it shows in their ethics. They educate their children, teach respect and gratitude for all this country has to offer. Together, we form a strong community that is the United States of America.

Those who have forgotten, never known, or betrayed us, with hatred and division tear at the fabric of what we are as a people and country. A system of laws, our Constitution of rights, corrupted by insidious politicians that, by greed, turned on their citizens. By selling out our farmers, mom-and-pop stores, technology, manufacturing of all kinds, pharmaceutical, to name but a few things that America was perfectly capable of but got robbed. These politicians, socialites, and their demanding classes have replaced our values for hard work, family, worship, unity, and building dreams, with entitlement, abortion, breakdown of the family, belittling of God, and division, hence creating a culture of hostile demand, while they perch above. They manipulate laws to control a portion of the population and destroy those that will not comply. To line their pockets while collecting votes from those they have fooled. They’d rather people be needy to build big government’s wealth than be self-sufficient. “Let them eat cake!” Their selfish actions have opened the door, like ancient Babylon, to the enemy—With furious souls and jealousy in their hearts, have hated America from the start envious of its successes and wealth. They thrive on our discord from outside of our borders, seeking the opportunity to destroy. Traitors from within fuel the fire and turn dreams into nightmares. Together they have formed a trojan horse.

Until now, it was inconceivable to imagine a less than fortunate life in America because of what our forefathers sacrificed for us. Yes, we’ve had it too good, too easy. Great men and women courageously stood up and defended our liberties, and because of those people, we have our freedoms. Today, they are screaming to our spirits, pulling on our heartstrings, encouraging us to be brave, as they see our great democracy threatened—Save the country we built that you call home! Don’t let the traitors steal your souls! Don’t let the enemies win! Remind those that have forgotten! Educate ones that have never known! Punish and disown the ones that have betrayed! This era of wanton evil is your call to rise, as, without a doubt, this time in history will define us. It will determine the rise or fall of America—land of the free, home of the brave if we defend or give her away. The future of our children is at stake—the future of the world. We mustn’t let them down, those that have fought and died, carried the weight on their backs and built, preached for peace and good, those that have embraced our values. We must not let ourselves down.

—Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte ©2020 All Rights Reserved

2020 Remember Us in History

 

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We are living through a time of stillness.

Our lives are on hold.

 

Waiting. Fearful. Doubting. Hopeful.

For permission—

 

Yet, neither time nor life pause for us.

They remain precious and fleeting.

 

We brace in frustration to save both:

our time and lifeaging.

 

As if either promises to be waiting.

 

The world is rapidly transforming.

Political powers are gaining,

against us!

 

Who is in your head, and their bed?

 

Quietly and patient,

God remains a while more in observance.

 

He weeps for us, simultaneously amused

by our presumption of control, the situation.

 

There was never a guarantee, only our illusion.

 

A bus on the corner out of sight, cancer in the water, 

murder in the night, starvation for some,

a slip in a bathtub, 

or choking on hard candy.

 

So many ways to die! 

 

Despite it all,

we looked away from what might happen,
and took the chance to live regardless,

 

a free life worth living.

 

Maria DellaPorte ©2020 All Rights Reserved

 

Who remembers going for a Sunday drive?

A treasured memory of mine from when I was a young girl, was going for a Sunday drive after our traditional early afternoon family dinner of macaroni and meatballs. A celebrated family gathering of delicious flavors, and of varied conversations that often included stories, laughter, and debate. After which, my mother often would say to my father, “Freddie, let’s take a ride.”

It was the 1970’s. The sun appeared to shine differently, magically-brighter. Entering through glass panes, it landed on every article in the room with beams of hope, and a subtle but distinct at-ease sense that lingered in the air. It traveled through one’s spirit—a hopefulness down to the feet infused with innocent joy eager to move throughout the day. There’s never been more distinct sunshine. Not for me.

I’d join my parents in my father’s Pontiac for a drive. I was the youngest of seven children. Older siblings opted-out with their own agendas. Sometimes, but not always, my sister, Joanie, and brother, Freddy, would take a drive. The three of us were closest in age in what my father liked to call his “second family.” The split between his seven children—the first and the youngest with eighteen years between them. I can distinctly recall thinking to myself about my oldest brother, “but who is this guy?” when he would visit from college on sporadic weekends, then try to administer authority over me at the ages of three and four years old.

Sunday drives were either aimless in nature in which nine out of ten times we’d stop for Carvel ice cream, because second to my mother’s saying, “Freddie, let’s take a ride,” she’d say, “Let’s get ice cream.” I was in love with all of my mom’s ideas. I also loved a vanilla-chocolate twist on a cone with colored sprinkles. Other times, when the drive wasn’t merely to get out of the house routine and to enjoy a mild breeze through a partly rolled down window while taking in the Long Island sights, it would include visiting my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We’d alternate Sundays, between rides with no destiny but ice cream, to going to dad’s family in the Bronx, then to mom’s family in Brooklyn. Talk about the best of worlds (and food!)

Importantly, I must not forget to include the occasional drive, after relentless pleading on my part, to Palisade’s Amusement Park in New Jersey. “Daddy, can we go to Palisade’s Park today? You said, maybe last week. It’s this week. Can we go, please? Daddy, Palisade’s Park, today, please, the rides… I can chuckle to myself now when I recall my mother’s not so subtle cringing, or eye-rolling upon seeing their commercial air on television.

In Brooklyn, my maternal grandparents lived in a beautiful brownstone that included their own Italian specialty store. Imagine the bread, tomatoes, and sandwiches for a few things. You could enter the store from their kitchen through a heavy Dutch door. Sometimes, my grandmother would open the top portion of the door, and I enjoyed leaning onto the bottom half to peer into the store. I remember my grandfather coming home from a long day of work down a hallway and through that door on nights when I’d sleepover. He always took the time to play with me and my dolls at the dining table. His cigar burned, and there was a nearby jug of homemade red wine that sat on a sparkling Formica table with silver-edging, surrounded by six vinyl chairs. Later, my grandmother would make me comfortable on a pull-out couch to sleep with a blush-colored satin comforter.

In the morning, the backdoor to the courtyard was opened to allow a refreshing breeze. My grandmother nearby in her railroad-style kitchen, which was really part of the whole room. There was a dinged-up large aluminum coffee pot that sat on the stovetop with freshly percolated coffee at all times of the day. I remember her cutting fresh vegetables and the sizzling of meat in a pot filled with olive oil. She was robust in an apron that went over her head and tied around her back.

A black buzzer was attached to the backdoor molding that connected with the apartment above where my Aunt Marion and Uncle Charlie lived with their children, my cousins. They would buzz each other when they needed to speak and communicate by talking outside from one floor to the other. I loved going between each apartment up the grand staircase in the entryway with its gorgeous mahogany railing. When you first entered the home, my grandparent’s German Shephard, Bart, would jump up for a kiss and pat on the head before my grandmother would tell him, “Va bene, basta. Bravo ragazzo. Vai a sederti.” (Okay, enough. Good boy. Go sit down.) My mother grew up in this brownstone with her brother Vincent, and two sisters, Catherine and Marion.

The Bronx. A different story. A different dialect. My maternal grandparents did not even believe that my father was Italian when they first met him with his Sicilian slang. He lived in Harlem and shined shoes to help my grandmother put food on the table. He would speak to me about the importance of eating my potato skins, and never to throw anything out just because it’s burned. His sisters were Lucy (my godmother), Josie, and Mary. His brothers were Tony, Vincent, and Sammy. My father told me of how he swam in the East River and played stickball. He was hit by a car three separate times!

I never met my paternal grandmother. She died the year I was born. Catarina was her name. She was dark-haired, and quite tall compared to my grandfather that stood only 5’1″. My grandfather, more often referred to as Pop-Pisciotta, or Grandpa-Benny was not one to be reckoned with. Despite his height, his stature was like that of a sailor. Think Popeye. He had thin lips and a sturdy nose that took a turn to the left. He was a bricklayer, tough as nails, and as he aged into his nineties, my father, uncles, and cousins would laugh in amazement as he’d start fights with neighbors half his age over one thing or another. One time, when he was elderly, he grabbed a bat and went after a younger tough guy wising-off to him, and the man in total disbelief, fear, and respect, backed-off.

Going to the Bronx was more about visiting aunts and uncles. Grandpa Benny lived with Uncle Sammy and Aunt Mela. My father’s family were seven siblings all together, and there was no shortage of first cousins, each of them with jovial personalities. Our aunts and uncles were great fun and big love. The Sunday drive over the Throgs Neck Bridge was one that I always looked forward to, watching all of the sailboats gather on the Long Island Sound.

Though we had already eaten an earlier dinner, once we arrived, the cold-cuts would immediately be placed onto the table. Everyone enjoyed sandwiches, my favorite was always Genoa Salami, followed by fruit, nuts, and sweet desserts. My aunt Mela had the voice and smile of an angel with magnetic blue eyes when she asked with the warmest sincerity if she could get you anything else. All of the aunts and my mother were brilliant at making everyone feel nurtured. The men were strong and steadfast. There were voices across the table speaking in the Bronx-twang, which is what I like to call it, but soft, and refined by Italian family love. The kids played together in another room while the women talked and drank coffee, and the men played cards.

The ride home on a Sunday was always contented. On the way home from Brooklyn, the Bronx, a Long Island drive to get ice cream, and even the occasional one from Palisades Park, it was quiet and reflective. There was easy gratitude in knowing we were rich in what we shared together.

Sometimes, I’d let my eyes give into their heaviness and close on the way home as the road hummed beneath us. I knew my father would carry me inside, and I’d rest my head on his shoulder. I knew I’d sleep comfortably in my bed, with my sisters and brothers nearby, and parents that loved all of us. I knew when I got out of bed in the morning, I’d smell something tantalizing that my mother was preparing in the kitchen. I could count on, without doubt, feeling loved—magical sunshine, even on a rainy day.

Today, at times when life is painfully still, lacking luster, and there’s waiting, desiring something more, or different, I like to recall the sunshine of the 1970s, even if it’s only in my mind, it carries my heart through hardship. Sometimes in a brief moment, I catch a glimmer of yesterday that feels profoundly real today, and I imagine I can actually step inside of that car for a drive and see them all once again.

Until then,

Perhaps someday in the liveliest sunshine of Heaven—

Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte ©2020 All Rights Reserved

 

Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte ©2020 All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

Restricted

I am—

 

Stopped in my tracks,

but not the clock, it continues:

2020 –

12, 6, 3, tick-tock…

 

to use the time, I call,

unavailable.

 

In a big world, become small.

 

Though I have learned to see

outside of me, grass and sky,

 

indeed, to dream,

but not to move, in action, so eloquently.

 

More like trekking through mud.

 

You, in your space, how do you do

with time not right,

the way one wants to control

day and night?

 

Space is given to choose.

On my toes about to spring!

 

Every breath, a birth,

thankful yet restrained.

 

Thoughts that don’t know how to go.

What if this, and that, if only each thing

would fall into place?

I’d lack the excuses for keeping me,

from shining right here.

 

Because –

the aches and pains of standing still,

with passion screaming, please,

 

do not fall back into immobility.

They are agonizing!

 

It’s like the bird I want to soar,

to sing over the world:

I am here to be—

 

Take the unremarkable life, and

drown it, bitter, in vinegar,

 

but not me.

 

A will and way, present yourself,

heal these limitations,

that I should be remarkable,

in whatever space and time available.

 

Inhale, exhale, easy.

Embracing full life—

 

Joy is the ability to make love and peace 

with what is here and now, and to offer it faith 

to grow exponentially for good.

 

Before it is gone, a new season,

opportunity, a distant memory of us.

 

Maria DellaPorte ©2020 All Rights Reserved

My Brother the Playwright

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Today, I am proudly sharing with all of you, my brother Vincent’s website. He is a playwright, having written an array of exquisite works on different subject matters throughout his years. Several of Vincent’s plays have been performed Off-Broadway, New York, with great success.

–to anybody who’s looking for a new, electric voice in the American Theatre:

https://vincentsessa.org

 

Naked Bud

I wonder what part of me it is, the creative, spiritual, or innocence, that beckons at the same time I look out of a window, not looking at all, but inside of my head, thinking thoughts that bring me to tears. Desperate to control the outcome, and rearrange what has past. Then in a split-second interruption occurs. I see what’s outside the window, outside of me. Wow, I say aloud, stopped in my tracks—splendid beauty! I must capture nature’s perfect story, its thoughts perhaps. Suddenly, I realize all of my parts are on loan and in unison with the Creator, asking I cast the fragile and human, limited ego aside. Dry your eyes. Trust everything is evolving as it should. See the tree rooted in nourishment. Upright, forming intricate branches—each having gone through rough, barren winter, the hopeful new birth of spring, joyous, playful summer, sprouting blooms of love in color, and in fall surrendering its leaves. I am witness to the miracle of existence. Every second, season, choreographed to perfection. I, a naked bud.

©Maria DellaPorte 2020 – All Rights Reserved

Photography by Maria DellaPorte

No one can save me, or you, from ourselves. It’s about vision. Literally seeing. When you can see something differently that’s always been there, suddenly you have the gift of sight, and everything gets simple. There is no set time for this to happen. There are no perfect steps to follow. There is no one teacher. Everyone has a different journey and lives at different energetic frequencies. We’re in the same pot, ingredients if you will, to a perfect recipe. Simpler doesn’t mean easy, either. It’s, in fact, the most challenging work of your life, through every aspect of our lives, but it’s only as complicated as we are blind or oblivious to the truth of our story development’s “why’s.” Once you turn that corner, the lightbulb goes off, the click-I-got-it moment happens, then you’re like, Oh!! Once that happens, initially, so does resistance to acceptance because you can’t believe what you’ve been under the impression was so hard was as simple as under your nose. Seeing…

Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte – ©2019 All Rights Reserved

Below – My Logos

I am poetry in motion.

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Pizza for Love

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Julian stood on line along with more people than usual during his lunch hour in anticipation of his favorite pizza. The day was bustling. The holidays were approaching with celebrations underway everywhere.

Today, the chatter in the restaurant was loud, and it competed with Dean Martin’s, Let it Snow playing on the radio. Julian was hungry at 12:15 pm, which is unusual since he typically didn’t have lunch before 1:30.

Suddenly appeared, Sada – a wispy-haired, tall, and slender woman in her thirties. Her hair was the color of a tequila sunset. It was as unnatural as it was natural on her. Julian was enamored. The restaurant then seemed quiet to him as if watching a silent movie.

People moved about busily: Men in business suits with hearty laughter, others in jeans and uniforms, a group of female nurses from the nearby hospital, two secretaries in pencil-skirts collecting long glances for their curved figures, and the moms with distracted toddlers trying to have a decent conversation. They were all muted to Julian. He saw only the woman with tequila-sunset-hair and a perfect pair of painted-lips. Her spacious child-bearing hips swayed beautifully on top of her slender legs as she moved into the line like a wave above the rest.

“I ordered the Sal-Salad to go.” Her voice was assertive over the crowd yet delivered at a frequency that landed softly over the counter to Lorenzo. “Buon pomeriggio signorina. Lo sto avvolgendo per te adesso.” Then he folded over the top of a white paper bag and handed it to her. “Godere. Buona giornata.”

Sada turned to walk from the line and out of the door when, Julian, clumsily stopped her. She looked at him, not unpleasantly. He was tall and easy on the eyes with his waved dark hair and Roman nose. Still, she stared down at her arm and then back up at him in a way that questioned his intrusiveness. “I’m sorry, Julian said. It’s just that… I mean, has anyone ever told you…” STOP, Sada exclaimed! “What, he questioned? Truly, I’m sorry. I only wanted to…” “Seriously, stop, Sada responded. Don’t you know you should never start a conversation with, “Has anyone ever told you…”” Julian mildly laughed, then tried to retract it back into his throat, and suddenly with confidence, asked, “And why not?” “Because it’s typically bullshit. Don’t you want to be original, she wondered? I mean, if anyone else has ever told me this before? Don’t you want to be authentic?” Then she smiled at him wisely. Dumbfounded, Julian stayed quiet. Sada then turned towards the door then back again at Julian and said, “We should get off to a more profound start. Don’t you think? Julian was a combination of stunned, confused, and amused. Sada continued towards the door. Julian then managed to yell across a row of people, “Wait, what’s your name?” Sada smiled and said, “See you…”

The three slices Julian was starved for, handed to him at that moment on a plastic tray, no longer seemed important. He understood on a soul level that he’d just met the woman who would be the love of his life, and he was simultaneously woozy, elated, and terrified.

To be continued…

Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte ©2019 All Rights Reserved

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