“Plum Blossom Snow”

February 22, 2018


My beautiful picture

Peach blossoms in the back yard. Spring

OLN (Open Link Night) over at dversepoets where you can post one poem of your choosing.  Come read some wonderful poetry there.

Lady Nyo

Plum Blossom Snow

The present snowstorm of
White plum blossoms
Blinds me to sorrow.

They cascade over cheeks
Like perfumed, satin tears
Too warm with the promise of life
To chill flesh.


This week I finally finished “Kimono”, a novel I have been writing for eleven years. This above poem comes from that novel.  “Kimono” will be published in a few months on Amazon.com.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2018

“Kimono”, Chapter 28, Earthquake.

February 21, 2018

Samurai Lovers, #2

After ten years I have finally finished writing “Kimono” a novel that flies between 21st century  and 17th century Japan.  My dear editor, Nick Nicholson in Australia wrote to me this morning.  It took him three days to read the entire novel from start to finish but he was ecstatic with the results. I am too close to this work so I have lost perspective. But I trust Nick, a friend for twelve years and an excellent writer.  I thought that it would take months perhaps nine months to revise/edit this long novel, but I have been careful in the writing…and Nick’s eagle eye has kept things on track.  Along the way I learned to read Japanese (somewhat), learned about Japanese culture,  learned medieval Japanese literature and so much more about a mostly alien culture.  Now we have the task, or I do….of designing a cover for this novel…or perhaps Nick can work his computer magic.  I need a vacation.

Lady Nyo

 Plum Blossom Snow

The present snowstorm of
White plum blossoms
Blinds me to sorrow.

They cascade over cheeks
Like perfumed, satin tears
Too warm with the promise of life
To chill flesh.

Lady Nyo, circa 2018

Mari was dreaming of snow falling on her face, but somewhere in her mind she knew it was spring, now too far from winter. She woke up, cold, as Lord Mori had turned in the night and taken all the quilts.

She sat up, pulling her thin kimonos around her. The dawn’s light hardly infused the bay before them, only thin tendrils of light skimmed the sky above the distant mountains.

Something was wrong. It wasn’t snow, but cherry blossoms. They covered the ground. There was a humming beneath the soil and Mari placed her hands firmly on the ground, feeling the vibrations. She wondered why Lord Mori did not awake up.

Mari stood to get a better look at the bay, but even standing was difficult. She felt drunk, unstable on her feet. Something was wrong, and the water before her looked as if something was punching beneath with a million fists, causing it to roil and churn.

Lord Mori woke up with a start, sat up and for the first time, Mari saw fear on his face.

“Do not try to stand, throw off your geta and run”, he whispered.


He grabbed her hand and at a crouch, they ran up the hill towards the others, Mari gathering her robes above her knees. They were knocked to the ground with the tremors of the earthquake a number of times, and each time Lord Mori covered her with his body.

They could hear screams and shouts in the distance. Nothing seemed real to Mari, and those beautiful cherry trees were uprooted and fallen in a jumble against each other. Lord Mori saw Lord Nyo scrambling towards him and shouted for him to try to get back to town and get their horses.

They must ride to Gassan or get as high as possible. They were in the lowlands and following an earthquake could come the feared tsunami.
A small fire had started with a brazier turning over on some quilts. Lord Mori stamped it out, and then looked for survivors. Lady Nyo and her servants were lying under some branches of a fallen cherry tree, and Lord Mori and some of the men lifted the tree to pull them out. Lady Nyo had blood streaming down her face mixed with soil, but other than a flesh wound, she would survive. Others were not so lucky. A few servants from the inn were buried by a fallen trees, or laid out like they were asleep on the soil. Lord Mori’s men dragged them out and laid them together on the ground. Someone covered them with the half-burnt quilts.

Mari scrambled to where Lady Nyo was sitting against a half-fallen tree and with her kimono sleeve, wiped the blood from her face. Why didn’t Lord Nyo free his wife first before he obeyed orders from Lord Mori to bring their horses? Clearly the rules of this century, and this country were very different than her own. She would hope that Steven would have attended to her first, but then again, this was a very different culture.

“I am fine, don’t worry about me, please”, whispered Lady Nyo. Mari could see that she had suffered shock and her pale face showed the effects of trauma.

“Is my Lord Nyo alive?” Mari nodded  and told her Lord Mori ordered him to bring the horses from the town.

Lady Nyo looked doubtful. “Surely the town has suffered what we have here. The horses might have bolted and he will not find them.”

“We can only hope he does. Lord Mori wants us all to ride to Gassan Mountain. He says the higher we are the safer we will be.”

Suddenly a man appeared over them. Startled, Mari looked at him.. It was Lord Yoki.

“Do not fear, my ladies”, he said bowing. “Lord Mori is right. The higher we get the better our chances of surviving will be.”

Another tremor, this one lasting only a few seconds, but Mari screamed in fear. Lord Yoki laid his hand on her shoulder to steady her. Mari buried her face in his robes. Either he had very hairy legs or she was feeling feathers through his clothing. In any case, she was glad he was there. Lord Mori was off directing the men, gathering what they could that would be useful for their flight to Gassan Mountain. He was not around to comfort a hysterical woman.

She continued to wipe the blood from Lady Nyo’s face, using the other sleeve of her kimono. Lady Nyo was chanting something in a low voice. Mari thought she was praying.

Suddenly, Lord Mori was bending over her as he pulled her to her feet, leading her away from the others.

He put his arm around her waist and drew her to him.

“You must leave. If you stay, you will die.”

“Yes”, said Mari. “Then I will die with you.”

Lord Mori grimaced and put his hand around her neck, close to her chin, bending her head back. He increased his hand’s pressure on either side of her jaw and the last thing Mari saw was his eyes, two black pools to drown in.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2018


“Ahmed Is Dying Of Love”, a short story, and a true one.

February 20, 2018

Rachel Brice doing her thang…Tribal Dance, not Classical Turkish/Egyptian stuff.


Once upon a time I was a belly dancer.  I was never a ‘great’ dancer, but I worked at it.  I met some wonderful people, men and women and especially Berbers in the cafes and restaurants I danced.  Ahmed was a sweet young man.  He and others, taught me how to play the dumbeks…drums.  There were nights I would rather play dumbeks than dance and the drummers always made room for me.

I am working hard on editing a 60 chapter novel, “Kimono” that has taken me 10 years to research and write. So, I will be doing this instead of being on this blog unless there is something I have to answer. That novel is a swamp and it needs draining.

Lady Nyo

The ney is a wooden flute, only played by men. Women aren’t to touch it.
The Zar is a trance ritual to get rid of demons. Men don’t touch it. (except to play the ney at it…)




“Ahmed is dying of love”….

I hear Hadil next to me, chanting something under her breath.

“What? Is Ahmed sick or something?” I ask, for Ahmed is a young Algerian waiter in this Lebanese restaurant. He’s a sweetheart and a good ney player.

We are bellydancers, applying our makeup in this ‘green room’ Nicola has given us behind the kitchen. An old sofa against the wall, a curtain over the doorway, and the same tray of dried fruits, nuts and bottled water on the table. Since we rarely touch it, we think he recycles it nightly. Nicola is the owner and he’s very protective of the dancers. No window in the room, typical of the seclusion of Muslim women. I hear Hadil chanting again.

“So, what is wrong with Ahmed?” I am trying to apply mascara, and since I don’t wear it except for dancing, I look like a raccoon. Leila, the head of the troupe, the uber bellydancer, insists on the heavy makeup. We look more ‘professional’ she tells us. Yeah, more professional, but what profession?

Hadil, the graceful one, puts down her blusher brush and looks at me with a deadpan expression. Or her usual expression because Hadil is languid to the extreme for a bellydancer. I always feel she should be given some catnip to perk her up.

“Ahmed has a huge crush on you.”

What?! My face reflects my amazement. I have to be 30 years older than Ahmed. He’s so sweet and innocent. Perhaps not so innocent.

“Do you suppose he has noticed my wedding ring? And besides, he’s met my husband. You know, the one who sits at a table by the door? His asthma kicks in, he says, when we dance because of Nicola’s moldy carpet.”

“Well, he’s hopeful, then.” Hadil adjusts her lovely breasts in the heavy bra. We all suffer because of the costumes, heavy and uncomfortable. We wear double bras, something soft sewn into the costume bras. The women in Turkey who hand sew these bras must be sadists looking for masochists to torture. They have found us.

“Hopeful of what?” I turn and stare at her instead of looking in the mirror before us.

“Well, you bring him presents.”

“I brought him a couple of dozen eggs. What’s so special about that?”

“Think about it, Aurora. In his country, when a woman brings a man such a valuable present, she is announcing her interest. And besides, you’re American.”

“What? Does Ahmed have trouble with his green card?”

I think over what she said. I have brought him a basket filled with my chicken’s eggs. I have done this several times. Usually Nicola grabs the eggs and says that he will make himself a six- egg omelet. I wondered if Ahmed ever got to eat an egg.

I thought about one of the first conversations I had with Ahmed. I gave him a dozen eggs, and his eyes, those beautiful black pools, grew large at the sight of them. I was touched. He explained in Algeria, in the countryside, at 11am sharp, he and his brothers would hear the hen cluck her egg-laying song and they would rush out to find the egg. Ahmed was younger than his brothers, and rarely got the egg. He would disappear from home, and lay in wait for that egg, but usually he was summoned back to the chores or the field with the others. This constant supply of eggs from my pet chickens was of value to him, and not just for the eating.

“So”, I said to Hadil, now brushing out her hair. “The price of love in Algeria is a couple dozen eggs?”

Hadil snorted. “No, it’s also because you are American.”

“And American women put out?”

She laughed uneasily. Obviously, she knew more but wasn’t telling me. Then She’nez came in, the beautiful Amazon from Somalia, and bending down, she put her face next to mine, and I saw our light and dark reflections in the mirror. Painted day and night.

“Ahmed is dying for love of you.” She chanted.

“God no, She’nez…not you too!” I was laughing, but concerned a bit about Ahmed.

“Did you see how his ney fell out of his mouth at the Zar? He saw you writhing around with your demons and the poor boy forgot what he was there for.” She’nez laughed, a deep rumble from her dark, silky throat.

I thought of the Zar. We were 12 women, dancers and students, and we were doing the ritual as a ‘bonding’ between us. We danced out our demons, drawn by our drama queen lives to the attention of compassionate hands. We twirled and jerked, our hair flinging outward with our spins, our demons holding onto the ends of our hair before we threw them off and into the waiting arms of the Sheikha. I have no similar cultural rituals and I was a bit abandoned in my behavior, but then again, I am the class clown. I have been called down for this before. I just like to make people laugh.

“Ahmed thought you really were possessed. He told Abdul that he was mortally afraid for you. He burned incense and said many prayers that night.”

I started to laugh. My antics were getting me in trouble again. I had thrown myself on my back, and wiggled like a roach dying of poison. I would be dead, only to come back to life with my arms and legs in grotesque positions, and I would do it again. I had my friends around me laughing, but we were all high on the turkish coffee and friendship. We didn’t get much chance to let loose like this. So many petty things were dissolved in that afternoon of vigorous fun. The stolen mascara, the blushers not replaced, the intentional bumps on the dance floor, the exchanged nastiness between us while smiling at the audience. It was a clearing of many problems at that Zar. Women things.

“So, Miss American Belly Dancer. What are you going to do about Ahmed?”

I thought about it. There really wasn’t much I could do. He was a man, with all the yearnings for the kindness of a woman. Even a much older woman who only gave him eggs.

That night, when I went out on the dance floor, I saw Ahmed at the other side of the room, playing a drum. I waved at him and threw him a kiss, making him blush heavily. At least a kiss, so public, from the pretty American belly dancer, would begin to repay his concern and his prayers.

I made a mental note to bring him eggs and spring plums from my trees. Let the girls talk about that! Ahmed’s concern would be repaid with this coin of friendship.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2012


(Me, sweaty from the dance.)


“In The Hollow of Winter’s Twilight”

February 19, 2018


(“Off the Coast of Ireland”, watercolor, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2004)

In the hollow of winter’s twilight
The ground of the soul is darkened,
Silent, waiting,
Winter’s winds now shallow breaths.
Muted tints
Flood earth and sky,
Black bare-armed trees,
Softened in this sullen light,
To clothe eyes with longing.
True winter has begun.
This season of scarcity,
Survival never assured,
The very thinness of air,
A sharp, searing bitter breath of air,
The inhaled pain alerts to life.
No excited cries of birds,
No rumble of young squirrels
Turning tree hollows into hide and seek,
Only faint tracks in the layered snow
Given evidence of others,
Small three-point, delicate prints
As if a creature pranced on tiptoe.
There is little left to do
In this darkened ground of soul-time
But rest before the fire
And fill the hollow of the season
With hope, patience and desire.
Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2018


“Metamorphosis Series” to the end.

February 18, 2018


Moon dec 30, 2017

 (For those who have not read Metamorphosis I-IV, Bart and Laura are bats. Well, Bart is a large common fruit bat with interests in Shibari and BDSM, and Laura is a middle- aged woman who finds she is transforming into a bat and really confused by Bart’s interests…) 



 “Come on, Laura, pick it up!  I can’t stay up here all day.  It’s exhausting.”


Bart was suspended in mid air, about ten feet from the roof apex, twenty feet off the ground. 


 “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.  What if they don’t work?”


 Laura, mesmerized by the languid flap of Bart’s massive wings, stood on the top of the roof.  She remembered the times he trapped her small, delicate wings within his and felt the power of his dominance. Bart had many faults, and a sadistic nature, but his sexual allure could not be denied.  Laura was blossoming like a rose, with little Japanese beetles buried deep within her petals.  She felt Shibari was helping them bond, though Bart left her too long in the bindings. Parts of her had turned temporarily blue.  She was finding this ‘freedom of the ropes’ one knot at a time.


“Come on, Laura, I’ll catch you. Trust me. Now, run fast and leap. Your wings should work fine.”


 Laura did as she was told and hit the air running.  She dropped like a stone. 


 “Bart! You Fuckerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!” 


 “Hey, Laura!  Next time flap your wings, not your gums.”




When Laura fell of the roof she smashed her ankle. It took all of Bart’s Shibari bindings to stabilize her limb and now Laura was making Bart wait on her, wing and foot. He wasn’t too happy with the ‘fetch’ thing but was puzzled why Laura’s wings hadn’t worked.

“Bart,” Laura whined, “The ice melted in my drink. Make me a fresh one, darlin’.”

Bart came from the kitchen, an apron tied around his middle. He was pissed being a house-bat but what could he do? A dominant fruit bat, this apron went against his nature. But the dishes had to be done, guano shoveled.

Inactivity made Laura horny. She spread her legs, flapped her pinkish wings alluringly. Bart’s eyes gleamed as he climbed between them. He lost his head. Laura had used a new perfume, “Peaches and Cream”.

“Bart! I’m not a cantaloupe. Your teeth are sharp!”

“Sorry, Laura. I’m just following my nature.”

Of all the kinds of bats in the world, I get a fruit bat, thought Laura. Life is unfair.

But he did look cute in a frilled apron. That big bow on his butt suited him.
Nature be damned.



“Bart? Whatchadoin’?” Laura yawned, just waking up.

“I’m working on a pathology.” His ‘go away answer’. Back hunched over the keyboard, typing fast.

“Which one?” Laura blinked, trying to see what Bart was writing.

“Funny. I’m looking at this Gorean website.”

“Ah geez, Bart! It’s a comic book.” Laura’s eyes widened at the picture of a woman kneeling on her knees, lips parted seductively, naked. She thought of her own knees and knew she could never hold that position. Plus, she didn’t look ‘cute’ naked. Not before, and not now with these pinkish wings attached to her elbows.

“Hey Bart? Are you serious? How am I to hold that position serving you on my knees?”

“You could levitate a bit with your wings, take pressure off your knees. You could use your imagination if you wanted to please me.”

“Please him.” There it was. Always please the Dom. What did she get out of it? Seemed like life with her dead husband, Howard, except with guano.

“Bart? I don’t think Gorean Doms wear aprons.”

Bart looked down. He forgot to remove it after the dishes. Maybe he really was a Gorean submissive? Not a good thought.




“Greetings Laura”.


 Bart Bartowski spotted Laura reading at the dining room table as he fluttered into the room.


 Laura looked up from “Kajira Daily” and stared at him.  He saluted her with his right hand thumping his left shoulder.


“You still playing at Gorean stuff, Bart?”


“Not playing, Laura.  I’m convinced John Norman is a visionary.”


 “Oh Bart,” said Laura, flipping through the magazine and turning it sideways to view the Kajira of the Month.   “John Norman is a terrible writer, what makes you think he’s any better at Philosophy? Plus, those Gor books are old.  And you know my knees are bad.”


Bart opened his mouth to argue, then clamped it shut.

“Gorean bats don’t debate with kajiras.  Get me orange juice, girl.”


 “Good idea, Bart.  Make it two,” said Laura studying slave jewelry on the model.


 “Ah come on, pleaseeee Laura, honey? Can’t you pretend I’m a Gorean bat for a few moments?  You never play with me.”


 Laura started laughing.


 “Ah, Bart? Gorean  bats  don’t beg.”


Bart glowered at Laura. Then his wings sagged


“Tell you what, Bart.  You’re a fruit bat, right?”


 Laura wiggled her peach-fuzzy butt.


 “So bite me.”



Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2018














Metamorphosis III and IV

February 18, 2018

from ‘the schoolbell.com’


Continuing the series….



Now a widow, Laura’s life took on different dimensions. The house was on the market, and she decided to travel. She thought of spelunking, exploring caves, climbing mountains.

Pouring over brochures, she heard a scratching sound. She unlatched the second story window and allowed Bart Batkowski to flutter in.

“I wish you would use the door like a normal person. You will draw attention this way.”

“Laura, do you forget what I am? Besides a co-conspirator in murder?”

Laura sighed. Harold was dead, gone, Bart now sharing her bed. But it wasn’t the bed where the action happened. It was the damn closet and sex was gymnastic at best. Though Laura had known a transformation, it wasn’t complete. The angle of penetration was off. Bart would insist on hanging from his heels, and all attempts at necking gave Laura a stiff one; neck, that is.

Since Bart said his DNA required the closet hang, they compromised with a vertical 69 position. Bart would embrace her with his wings wrapped tightly around them, and Laura would get comfortable with her pubis level at Bart’s nose.

It was a strange mating, but when Bart snored it sent Laura to heaven.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2010-2017




Laura twisted in the wind. Well, rotated in the air conditioning. Bart had a new kick, called ‘Shibari’. An ancient Japanese practice of wrapping things. Precisely. With hidden knots. She should have thought twice when he insisted she strip.

Arms wrapped behind her back, more cloth holding her legs together, she sighed. She didn’t mind hanging upside down, was even getting used to the headaches.

Bart, however, was having a bit of his own transformation, and Laura didn’t know if she liked this one bit. He was becoming ‘weirder’, taking up hobbies. Piercing was one, this shibari another. Laura was seeing Bart in a different light, helped along with her new, nighttime vision.

*Goddamn Japanese! Why can’t they stick to wrapping small packages?*

Bart told her ‘shibari’ was the ancient art of “wrapping the heart.” She bought it, didn’t even mind the bananas, mangos and kiwi he stuck between the bindings. He was, after all, a common fruit bat.

Up on the roof, Bart had other plans. From under his wings, he drew out a new black, leather- riding crop. He slapped it on his palm, laughing with glee.

Laura was about to obey.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2010-2017

Metamorphosis Series

February 17, 2018

Supermoon in dec.

About ten years ago I started this series.  It was supposed to be a ‘horror’ series, about a bat and a woman who was transforming into a bat, but I couldn’t maintain the horror.  It just didn’t feel ‘natural’ to me.  So I continued on and it evolved (devolved??) into farce.  I write  better that way….

Lady Nyo

Part One.

She stood at the window, lost in thought. The crispness of autumn
purified the air at dusk. The moon had just risen, the sky was still
light, that peculiar time of evening when both sun and moon balanced
in the sky. Watching the swifts and swallows flit over chimneys and
rooftops, wheeling like tiny black crescents in the sky, she wondered
about her unrest, her weird illnesses. As the moon rose, the swifts
were replaced with bats speeding like rockets back and forth in front
of the window. She could hear the sound of their twittering as they
flew by, sharing the day’s gossip.

“Laura!” Her husband’s voice near. “I’m coming” she called back.

Peering out the window her pupils opened wider. She saw strange
things. The veins in the leaves, the mounds of disturbed soil from
moles far below. The moon so close! The night beckoned to her, she
felt like flying out there.

Under her gown she felt thin membranes grow under her arms. The
tissue, transparent, joined with two hooks on her elbows. Her breasts
shrunk to nothing, only large nipples remaining. Her sex seemed to
shift backwards, her vulva misplaced.

“I’m coming along nicely,” she whispered.



“Laura, come to bed! What are you doing out there?”

Laura was doing nothing. Just drinking tea and looking out the
window, humming to herself.

She had lost weight, grown taciturn, seemed sexless. Harold,
confused, was getting on her last nerve.

She entered the bedroom. Harold, bald and boring, glared at her.

“What is wrong with you? Didn’t you hear me?”

Oh yes, thought Laura. Thirty years of marriage doesn’t stop up your
ears, just your mouth. And your heart.

Laura opened the closet to hang up her robe. Inside, on a hanger, was
a giant bat, its dull black wings wrapped around itself, hanging
upside down. Laura shoved it aside, looking for a hanger for her
robe. She got into bed and turned off the light.

The police looked at the carnage on the bed. Blood everywhere, a real
massacre. Something was wrong, damned if they could figure it out.
The wife, mute, had to be in shock. Weird batty woman.

Laura, her gown bloody, drinking tea, looked out the window. Under
the tree was a big dark man, standing with his arms wrapped around his
chest. He looked up and nodded.

Laura smiled back and winked.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010

“Gauzy Ghosts”……

February 16, 2018


Frank Hubeny, over at dversepoets.com is hosting right now and challenges us to write short verse.  Maybe tanka, maybe other forms…but brevity is the key.

Lady Nyo

The moon floats on wisps
Of clouds extending outward
Tendrils of white fire
Blanketing the universe
Gauzy ghosts of nothingness.

A companion piece written the same time….

Shooting star crosses
Upended bowl of deep night
Fires with excited gaze-
A moment– and all is gone.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2018

“Poem To My Husband”…..

February 14, 2018

Valentine's Roses

Roses from Fred this Valentine’s Day.

And Happy Valentine’s Day!….


“You’re all I have”
Heard in the dark
Heart almost stopping
In an inattentive breast.

I dare not look at him
Too bald a sentiment
And too true to bear
A light, comforting answer.

What would occasion
Such a piteous sentiment?

When one has lived
Within another’s hours, days, years,
The fabric of this making
Can be forgotten.

The warp and weave, the very thread
That appears as if out of air
(and it does…)
becomes substantial,
it covers and clothes more than the body
and the life blood of sentiment,
Becomes the river within, unending,
Even transcending the pulse of life.

“You’re all I have,”
A whispered refrain
That echoes in the heart
And burrows deep.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2010-2018


‘A Fortunate Fate’, a Japanese inspired short story.

February 13, 2018

Geisha picture 2016



Hana Takate was nineteen years old, a courtesan in old Edo. When she appeared in public, men’s eyes turned like sunflowers to her sun.

Lovely Hana had bones like melted butter and skin shaped from powder. She was a creature so luminous a flower of purest jade could not compare. When she rose from a nap, wearing a simple gauze robe, free of makeup and perfumes, she floated like a spider’s web. A vision of culture and desire, her laugh was a tinkling bell, her hair of bo silk, and her movements like cool water.

One day during cherry blossom time, she was entertaining, her robes folded open like gossamer wings, her rouged nipples suckled by another. A young daimyo was admitted to her rooms by mistake. This new lover was so angered he cut off the head of his rival with his katana in one swift blow.

Hana knelt before him, head down, exposing her swan neck, awaiting death. Seeing her trembling fragility, her obedient meekness, he could not take her life and disappeared to write some bad verse.

She became known as “The Immortal Flower”, a courtesan of first rank. She prospered and became fat.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017, “A Fortunate Fate” is from the second edition of “A Seasoning of Lust”, Amazon.com, 2016


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