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Dec 2019 · 45
'TIS THE SEASON
Del Maximo Dec 2019
for many
Christmas is a time of traditions
tree decorating
lights
gift exchanges
caroling
candles
family dinners
where planning all the above
is half the fun
and caring for one another
is proof of the pudding
(razzleberry dressing)

for some
traditions go on
skewed and miscued
existence shattered
heartbeats shuttered
life just holding on
but the world keeps spinning
albeit upside down

inconsequential, random memories
trigger teardrops
bird sightings and dragonflies
stir yearnings
both measures of comfort
and reminders of unbearable loss
proverbial double edged swords

time doesn't heal
but it moves on
doors close
windows open
and dreams show the way
for new beginnings
every year lights a new candle
of hope

so
Merry Christmas!
Happy Holidays!
and Happy New Year!
'Tis the season of change


Del Maximo
©12/22/2019
Dec 2019 · 42
DÉJÀ VU
Del Maximo Dec 2019
have we met?
is time a circle
that we’ve travelled before?
will we get it right this time
or are we destined to repeat
the same mistakes
never learning our lessons?

is each day the same old play
but with different actors
in different places?
does life move  on
from theatre to theater
with tryouts, auditions, and fails
keeping it real?

has it always been like this?
softness, wetness, and passion
like the first time?
from strangers to friends to lovers
my body and heart remember
and I swear I’ve known you before

is life a Mobius strip?
a one sided infinity
fate twisting upon itself
a roller coaster with no beginning
or end?
I swear I’ve known you before
and I want to know you again
© 09/10/2019
Del Maximo Jun 2019
imagine he was your child
your infant
imagine your child clinging to
and fighting for life
breathing on his own
after ventilator’s plug was pulled
imagine the doctors deciding
against your wishes
to let him starve to death
depriving him of the strength
to hold on
and the nourishment to function
and grow
(miracles do happen, after all)
imagine that you have another doctor
a second medical opinion
telling you there is HOPE
but the medical monopoly
and the courts say NO!
imagine your helplessness and frustration
imagine your rage and pain
imagine a piece of you dying
with your child
How do you get over that?

Del Maximo
@06/27/2019
May 2019 · 440
ASCENSION
Del Maximo May 2019
he saw razor wire atop perimeter walls
guards on walkways with rifles ready
“what have I gotten myself into”

early, early
driving out to the high desert
pulling over to check a map
I saw Easter sunrise in the Mojave
the rising dawn bending light’s spectrum
its pink brightness silhouetting
clumps of dark green sage brush
casting long spidery purple shadows
between streaks of golden light
as morning’******broke mountain’s peak

continuing on
I spied something moving in the distance
within a shroud of clouds
that was blanketing the ascending road
way high up ahead
tiny white angel wings came to mind
thought perhaps I was hallucinating
entertained the idea that I had crashed
and was going to heaven
as I got closer
driving through the warm mists
that strange movement proved to be
mundane yet fascinating
I’d never seen wind turbines before

I had never been to Tehachapi
got lost in the winding upper mountains
my friend told me to turn on valley road
but there was Bear Valley Road
Apple Valley Road
other valley roads
had to circle and back track through the greenery
but found my way

when I finally got to the prison
there was a long queue of cars
I passed them up to see what was happening
then drove back and got in line
a lot of visitors that day
to celebrate Easter in incarceration
but I was here for a pick up
I signed in and a guard called my name
Donnie came out
processed and ready
we shook hands and the guard let us leave
after I signed a release form

Don was always the get-away-driver
so as soon as we were away
from warden’s watchful eyes
I let him take the wheel
forgot to inquire if he had a valid license
he threw his gate money at me to hold
said, “that’s how much I trust you”
“I’d never let anyone else handle my money”

back downhill
driving through the desert
he heard a helicopter above
“they’re being VERY cool right now”
as he kept it at 70

approaching San Diego
we decided to take the scenic route
through the canyons
a treat for this city-boy
ascending once again on a lone highway
into dusky mountains

greenest hillsides were covered
with giant granite boulders
of all shapes and sizes
intelligently strewn in primordial design
an ancient herd of petrified buffaloes
frozen in time
foreshadowing the stampede of clumpy clouds
rampaging above in crisp cerulean

we happened upon a tickling town
people in period costumes
riding horse drawn coaches and carriages
selling jars of jams and jellies
too bad we didn’t stop and get out

back on the freeway
approaching the city
a cop car pulled up behind us
right up on my bumper
a uniform with a brown brim hat
probably a state trooper
intimidation tactics
hoping we would make a run for it
probably alerted to BOLO
for my friend
we froze at first
looking straight ahead
then I remembered to act natural
started talking to calm Don down
started pointing out the sights
along the freeway like a tourist
the cop gave up and backed off
I wondered if he thought
‘that must not be him’
or
‘these guys are good’
I’m sure he ran my license plate

I brought my friend home
met his mother and sister
bought some gas
(you don’t have to pay first)
and made the two hour drive home
just another day
in my boring life
©04/01/2019
Feb 2019 · 116
HAIL TO DOROTHY
Del Maximo Feb 2019
a cold, rainy day so apropos
as an era comes to close
what could have been great
what should have been great
is tumbling like Jericho’s wall
some (including me)
see cause to celebrate
but a loss for one is a loss for all

like a phoenix from civic ashes
it came to be
raising noble purpose and intention
helping throw away’s child
kids fallen through cracks
fostering transition from poverty’s cycle
from gangs and crime
to mainstreaming
to expungement
to independence
to jobs
to college

then the blame game came
like a virus
attempting to fix
what wasn’t broken
pointing fingers
instead of looking in the mirror
and falling on one’s own sword
in support of others

telling lies and making **** up
faking knowledge of laws and procedures
expressing ego angrily
without getting to problem’s root
tossing morale to wind
favoring brown noses

ding **** and heigh **
with melting waters thrown
it’s time to rise again
from sage’s ashes
a rededication to leadership
to loyalty
to noble purposes
to service
to new beginnings
© 02/01/2019
Sep 2017 · 411
HE LAUGHED
Del Maximo Sep 2017
got locked out today
came home from the grocery store
and couldn’t get in
wandered around
knocking on a couple of doors
looking for help
no one answered
never realized before
that a house without people in it
can be cold as stone
an older couple down the street
let me in and called a locksmith
such gracious, neighborly neighbors

as I sat waiting on my peeling painted porch
on a cool cloudy day
memories burrowed up like a mole
about how I wandered dreamlessly when young
just wanting to survive
thoughts of future shot down
by relative poverty and low self esteem
perhaps it was just delusion
once thinking that I could be anything
I wanted to be

we memorize the ***** and chains
we place on ourselves
like once tethered elephants
never straying from our post
it took a long time to come into me
it took a long time to come to like myself
it took a long time to come to love myself
but at times I still doubted
feeling the pull of my elephant’s chain
the tug of my tether
while wasting away where I stood

finally got myself together
and made plans
it tickles me to think
how I made God laugh
© 08/20/2017
Jul 2017 · 427
SUMMER DREAMS
Del Maximo Jul 2017
swaying leaves and shadows
afford an illusion of cool
complementing my tower fan
set on breeze
as I melt upon the couch
dressed in t-shirt and boxer briefs
blueness invades my eyes
looking out at palm trees
silhouetted in sky
I can’t complain
contrarily, I like it
fed my fat face with a Fatburger
downed with plenty of cold water
now I’m just chillin’
enjoying my socal summer
it would be nice to actually be at the beach
rolling with the waves, sand *****,
and scents of salt air
but that’s all inside me
day dream memories of being buried in sand
and dipping in ocean
floating
my diffused eyes stepping back from the heat
bathing me in timeless
endless summer
© 07/08/2017
Jun 2017 · 385
THE GASP
Del Maximo Jun 2017
thinking of Pops
with Fathers Day looming
at the witching hour
saw someone give CPR
in a movie today
brought it all back
trying to keep count
while pumping his chest
watching his first gasp of breath
I thought he’d be all right
just like in the movies
but he didn’t keep breathing
so I just kept pumping
till the paramedics arrived

I know other details intellectually
I know his eyes shot upward
so I could only see the whites
but I can’t picture that anymore
thankfully

the image that remains strong
is that deep gasping breath
a whole upper body heave
just like in the movies
when they regain consciousness
I thought he’d be all right
but I had to keep pumping

with that deep gasp
I thought he’d come back
like a newborn baby
awakening to life
© 06/17/2017
May 2017 · 303
LET THEM CRY
Del Maximo May 2017
two dear friends
have lost their husbands
just days apart
verily they comforted me
at my times of loss
yet I can’t find the words
I ache for them
but my tongue is twisted
my keyboard locked
perhaps that realm
is still too painful for me

they say that love
is such exquisite pain
shared intimately by two lucky ones
beyond bedrooms
throughout the life they carve
while traipsing the universe
unalone

loss, then, is the obverse
the looking glass’ opposite side
through which survivors see
the lives their love has touched
where mourners share eloquent memories
embedded in their Brownian motion
movie clips etched inside closed eye lids

is it possible to walk alone
after having known
such infinite endlessness?
does love stop at death's door?
you see it in a stream of colors
shooting towards the sky
you see it in the misplaced moon
hiding in the sprucetops

the loss will always make you sad
but the memories will make you happy
and that exquisite pain in your heart
is but a measure of the love you feel
present tense
for one another
© 05/08/2017
May 2017 · 373
ONE OF DA BOYS
Del Maximo May 2017
in the fourth grade
his father showed him
******* a man
by breaking his neck
my young friend demonstrated
“first push, then pull”
he got expelled
for unknown reasons
transferred to another school
didn’t see him again
till Jr. High

he didn’t have the grades
to get into my classes
except for P. E.
we enjoyed playing football
and basketball
one time some crazy dude
decided to jump on my back
I cracked him in the head with an elbow
he was dazed and said
“nobody hits me in the ******’ head”
as he staggered and backed down
I heard my friend proudly telling others
about it (hehe)

still the same old bad boy
but he was always cool with me
the things people said about him
stuff he did with a dog
a total lack of respect for women
he got convicted for ******
a seventy year old lady
he says he didn’t do it

part of the crack generation
with all that went with that
dealin’ and usin’s cycle of survival
I heard he got beaten up
nearly to death
and mysteriously dropped off
at E.R.’s door
he says the police did it
strangely
despite his corrupt ways
he was always candid
and seemed honest
it makes me wonder

saw him at Tito’s
getting tacos with his girl
he had cleaned up well
driving a Cadillac
with a Christian crown
in the rear window

ran into him at the corner
the liquor store near my job
he had been clean for three years
that last time I saw him
now he was living in that Caddy
with his big brother
back in the alley
he told me he was sick of this ****

caught me up with the boys
who had died
who got sick
who got sick and died
he asked if my car
was in the parking lot everyday
like he was gonna come and find me
I told him not to
he needed to go downtown
get to a shelter
to a program

as I turned to walk away
he called out, “love you”
I turned to face him
still back peddling towards the car
tapping my fist on my heart
© 08/21/2016
Apr 2017 · 619
FALLING STARS
Del Maximo Apr 2017
they say the stars are falling
falling from the skies
I see them falling with my eyes
but never heard a falling star cry

I sit and watch the life of leaves
conversing with the breeze
but when I try to eavesdrop
tinnitus’ tones peal

they say the stars are falling
falling from the skies
I used to miss their music
the inflection of their rise

their lyrics became mealy
melodies to mysteries
but I can still feel that baseline beat
and follow lips while watching oldies

birds fly by in silent soar
without flap sound, flutter or tweet
perhaps my heart has gone numb with my ears
I don’t miss it anymore

does loss decrease life’s value
or make it all the more precious

they say the stars are falling
falling from the skies
I see them falling with my eyes
but never heard a falling star cry
© 04/21/2016
Sep 2016 · 434
COLIN
Del Maximo Sep 2016
knew a man who threw a ball
champion Reds
back in the day
he refused the anthem
for religious reasons
staying in the tunnel
till it was over
and no one ever knew

there’s a man now who throws a ball
refusing to stand for the anthem
not about religious rights
he stands on civil protest
citing police brutality
and social injustice
a simple nonviolent act
the courage to face public’s outcry
a willingness to accept
commercial monetary ramifications
placing heart above wallet

o, the uproar
the unmitigated gall
this spoiled rich athlete
should be grateful
for 19 million reasons
he should take the money and run
turning a blind eye
to the suffering of others
his allegiance has been
bought and paid for
how dare he think for himself
if he’s written any books
we should burn them
or abduct 300 of his girls

patriotism dictates
that he stand heartfeltedly
but conscience tells him otherwise
some say he should stay hidden
locked up in the locker room
as if Sister Rosa’s protest
would have been noticed
in the back of the bus

my parents came to this country
for a better life
for freedom and opportunity
I stand for the anthem
and the country it anthemises
I stand for the police
and the good works they do
but I also stand
for the right of others
to choose not to
after all
it’s not like police brutality
or social injustice
do not exist

let it all play out
see where it goes
after the outrage passes
as it always does
will his message be remembered?
was it ever even heard?
was it dismissed for patriotism’s sake?
he says he’ll sit until he sees some changes
I think he’ll have a long wait
till then, let’s go burn some books
or throw some tea in a harbor
© 09/11/2016
Sep 2016 · 368
IF I HAD A HAMMER
Del Maximo Sep 2016
for some it’s difficult
seeing beyond one’s own nose
anything or anyone different
any opinion opposing their own
seems it’s so hard to see
the other

egocentric mindsets
with the world as their reflection
and any piece that doesn’t fit
their ideology’s puzzle
doesn’t make sense
they paint by numbers
with every color in ever space
preassigned

is it truly so unreasonable
to accommodate another?
especially someone with special needs?
is it so difficult to slowly syllabicate?
is raising your speech level truly yelling?
would it pain you to write things down
for someone who can’t hear you?
do you not trust email over voicemail?

a deaf counselor told me
it’s due to laziness
that people won’t pick up a pen
she may be right
but I think it’s nearsightedness
a myopia of mind and heart
I’d hit them over the head
if I thought it would help
© 09/11/2016
Sep 2016 · 312
THE FIFTH DAY
Del Maximo Sep 2016
the world was good
light shown through the dark void
waters parted to reveal dry land
Flora and Faunus presided
over primordial paradise
the green earth breathed crisp
cerulean skies
stars twinkled laser-like
through the unpolluted vastness
and every month a dragon
swallowed the moon
lions and lambs played peacefully
roses bloomed in deserts
rivers and oceans teemed
with every kind of cat and dog fish
buffalo roamed by the millions
and chickens came before eggs
nightingales sang songs
with humpbacks
butterflies flapped their wings
without consequence
the earth was new
the garden was fresh
then God created man
© 09/11/2016
Sep 2016 · 303
HOLDING ON TO THE NOTES
Del Maximo Sep 2016
the boy could sing
even took professional instruction
was told he had a beautiful voice
by singers he respected and admired
and he knew how to use it
he loved singing out load
choir or solo
songs or vocal exercises
emotional range and dynamics
full voice, in character
transporting him to joyful
but he seems to be losing it
progressive hearing loss
makes him unsure

gave away his guitar
chords smelled garbage-like
gave away his cello
he couldn’t hear her voice
but he kept the flutes
beautiful bamboo flutes
and shakuhachis
handcrafted by a magic man

he picked it up quickly
people thought he’d been paying for years
they would stop to listen
complimenting his clear tones
one professional flute player
heard him playin’ from ‘round the corner
came across the street to see
told him he played “whole heart and soul”

he only sings to himself now
voice is a body part
talent plays role
but body just knows how
to listen with ears
and repeat with voice or fingers
his ears no longer hit
on all cylinders
his hammer and anvil out of tune
he understands now
why Lucy couldn’t find her notes
they’re hiding somewhere
behind a brain cloud

the last one to hear him said
“you used to play so beautifully”
if it were just a matter
of fingers on holes
anyone could do it
but it’s something inexplicable
a mind/body gestalt
more spiritual then physical

he plays now to remember
go like this and that’s a ‘G’
go like this, that’s a ‘C’
reminding the body
retraining the brain
rebuilding the memory
refinding the fun
reclaiming the heart
© 09/01/2016
Aug 2016 · 233
GET A LIFE
Del Maximo Aug 2016
it’s amazing how much you think of food
when you don’t have much
stretching out the week
with whatever you have
hot dogs and eggs
food pantry vegetables
and stale bread
quelling my hunger
deliciously

sometimes I take my pulse
to remind myself that I’m alive
I am, I think, but is that living?
is a beating heart the same
as having a life?
thump…thump…thump…thump…

forever settling
happy to have what I could get
a kid in a candy store
only able to see
what was within arm’s reach

the dignity we trade
for survival in life’s jungle
staying in ****** jobs
under under-appreciative management
waking and watching the world
with dispirited eyes
then realizing it’s all our own fault

but everything is temporary
a moment only lasts a moment
and life goes fast
you have to  keep dreaming
REM’s in perpetual motion
blueprints drawing forth
from the back of your mind

o, to find what you love to do
to became the creator
to see in the mirror
the person you want to be
to work hard and
put your life on the line
to soar with masters
of cerulean skies
to want something so bad
it makes you cry
© 08/30/2016
Aug 2016 · 258
ONE OF DA BOYS
Del Maximo Aug 2016
in the fourth grade
his father showed him
******* a man
by breaking his neck
my young friend demonstrated
“first push, then pull”
he got expelled
for unknown reasons
transferred to another school
didn’t see him again
till Jr. High

he didn’t have the grades
to get into my classes
except for P. E.
we enjoyed playing football
and basketball
one time some crazy dude
decided to jump on my back
I cracked him in the head with an elbow
he was dazed and said
“nobody hits me in the ******’ head”
as he staggered and backed down
I heard my friend proudly telling others
about it (hehe)

still the same old bad boy
but he was always cool with me
the things people said about him
stuff he did with a dog
a total lack of respect for women
he got convicted for ******
a seventy year old lady
he says he didn’t do it

part of the crack generation
with all that went with that
dealin’ and usin’s cycle of survival
I heard he got beaten up
nearly to death
and mysteriously dropped off
at E.R.’s door
he says the police did it
strangely
despite his corrupt ways
he was always candid
and seemed honest
it makes me wonder

saw him at Tito’s
getting tacos with his girl
he had cleaned up well
driving a Cadillac
with a Christian crown
in the rear window

ran into him at the corner
the liquor store near my job
that time I saw him
he had been clean for three years
now he was living in that Caddy
with his big brother
back in the alley
he told me he was sick of this ****

caught me up with the boys
who had died
who got sick
who got sick and died
he asked if my car
was in the parking lot everyday
like he was gonna come and find me
I told him not to
he needed to go downtown
get to a shelter
to a program

as I turned to walk away
he called out, “love you”
I turned to face him
still walking towards the car
back peddling
tapping my fist on my heart
© 08/21/2016
Aug 2016 · 185
BACK IN THE DAY
Del Maximo Aug 2016
knew a guy who robbed a bank
an old ‘friend’ of mine
the kind I don’t hang out with anymore
the crowd I walked away from
he actually got away
and made it home
don’t remember the details
even though I read about it
in the paper
I just know they caught him
and put him away

once watched him
dissolve a pill and cook it
in a bottle cap
then draw it into a syringe
a rubber hose strapped around his bicep
Lord knows where they get
the paraphernalia
slapping his veins to make them pop up
he stuck that needle in his arm
and let the blood flow
back to the syringe
to ensure a good hit
shot up and released the tourniquet
he closed his eyes as in ecstasy
and leaned back
I felt sorry for him
a slave to madness
he asked me if I wanted to try crack
I knew a true friend would never offer
who in their right mind
would want that for anyone else

I saw him recently
after 20 years or so
he must have gotten that 3rd strike
didn’t recognize him at first
then pretended not to know him
those days are gone
forever
© 08/17/2016
Aug 2016 · 289
MOTHER'S VOICE
Del Maximo Aug 2016
she used to sing around the house
songs from the Hit Parade
there was a little transistor radio
slim, dark green with a telescoping antenna
kept on the kitchen windowsill
she would listen to music
singing along while cooking and cleaning
or going solo a Capella
Rosemary Clooney, Della Reece
Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams
Jo Stafford Weston
she told me that when ‘Daddy” was in the hospital
he had his favorites
Don’t You Know and You’ll Never Know
he asked her to sing them again and again
her singing came from a good place
somewhere deep inside her
a place where she could just be herself
apart from life’s responsibilities
far away from the roles of wife
and mother to too many children
leaving behind the frustrations
of carrying on in poverty’s face
if only for the moment it took
to sing a song
she would sing about pyramids and sunrises
about a lady with an enigmatic smile
cheating hearts and when she might fall in love
and we learned all those songs  too
as her hearing worsened
she stopped singing
as if she lost a piece of herself
she’s gone now
but we still have those memories
a musical legacy for her talented children
© 08/14/2016
Aug 2016 · 319
ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS
Del Maximo Aug 2016
some days you wrap me up
like a blanket
and smother me with kisses
other days you get to me
cocooning me in an envelope
tossing me to trash

some days you cut me
bleeding me dry
laughing in cynicism
other days you stitch me up
light up the world with your eyes
and heal me with your smile

some days you are my rock
my reason for living
the gemstone in my heart
other days you pick me up
and cast me down
or skip me on the water

it's just the crazy games we play
to keep life interesting
things done in the sun
but every night you rock me, baby
every night we rock
© 07/22/16
Jul 2016 · 960
HER EMPTY NEST
Del Maximo Jul 2016
the sun is setting across the pond
silhouetting the tree line
with its golden fire
mirroring on the water
rippling with the wind
seems the catfish are getting big
"I wonder how much
my granddaughter has grown?"
the clouds are scribbled in wisps
no discernable shapes to ponder
such a lonely sky
© 07/17/2016
Jul 2016 · 206
ON THIS DAY
Del Maximo Jul 2016
for Yarrow

the sun rose at dawn
its filtering soft brightness
gradually warming
the coolness of the wee hours
awakening chirping birds
opening morning glories
giving sunflowers focus

the day begins like any other
a stretch
a yawn
a cup o’ joe
a new day’s problems and delights
yesterday’s thoughts lingering
fresh ideas sprouting
in a fertile mind’s garden

but on this day
so many years ago
a child was born
her beauty springing forth
like Venus on a seashell
with the morning’s radiance
emanating from her innocence
and life echoing in her first cry
© 07/16/2016
Jul 2016 · 244
THE CROW
Del Maximo Jul 2016
it floated down from a street sign
without a single flap
floating down slowly
as if by parachute
like a single feather
gliding on a current
or a dandelion seed
fulfilling a wish
its sleek black wingspan spread
using tail feathers for balance
landing on concrete with a gentle hop
was it an omen of sorts?
a black bird crossing in front of you
portending a warning?
or was it a metaphor for life?
following signs
choosing your way
traversing gently if you can
arms outstretched, all encompassing
appreciating each moment
keeping your balance
always landing on your feet
knowing you can fly
© 07/16/2016
Jul 2016 · 322
CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
Del Maximo Jul 2016
clear light skin
dark hair with big curls
he resembled a kid we used to babysit
slight in stature
humble in posture
a look of shock and disbelief
deep seated in his baby face
and bubble eyes
his demeanor saying
“I don’t belong here”
a soft peach colored long sleeved shirt
clean, pressed and tucked in
with pants pulled up
no gangbangers’ stereotype
a picture of innocence
clearly a child
being tried as an adult

I kept close watch
during jury’s selection
with the miracle of real-time captioning
listening with my eyes
darting from screen
to arena’s drama
back to screen
observing potential jurors’ interaction with
defending and prosecuting mouthpieces
body language says so much
trumpeting the seriousness

with capital punishment looming
jurors absorbed spiels
the presumption of innocence
the credibility of evidence
the ability to objectively choose death

I would tell myself
the defendant didn’t just do this
to the decedent
I would tell myself
the defendant did this to himself
I would tell myself
it’s not my job to decide
if he lives or dies
I would tell myself
only to decide
if the crime defines death’s statute
all personal feelings aside
but I’d also tell myself
this is just a kid

thank God
I wasn’t selected
© 07/06/2015
Jun 2016 · 529
MY PERSONAL JONAH
Del Maximo Jun 2016
she appeared in a dream
way back in my younger years
a solemn, solitary white woman
kneeling silently at the altar rail
her long brown hair covered
beneath a long white veil
looking like Mary
she spoke not a word
her hands clasped in prayer
we all watched from the pews
mesmerized
without moving, she called my name
sounded like Mrs. Pino
my 5th grade catechism teacher
she kept calling
she wanted me to come forward
to receive recognition or an award
glued to  the kneeler in the pews
I thought to myself
‘Lady, you’ve got the wrong guy’

he appeared in a dream
many, many years later
decades
he drove a red Honda
up to my back porch
in the projects
I often dream of that childhood place
as still home
he got out of the car to address me
tall with faded jeans
gray hoody and sunglasses
obscuring his face
couldn’t even see his skin tone
as if he were purposely unviewable
my unempowered eyes searching
he stood there in glory
looking like a son of man
he wanted to know if I knew him
I kept ogling to see who he was
but I couldn’t tell
he asked again
I didn’t answer
still focusing on ****** features
instead of the all of him
he turned back to the car
got in and drove away
leaving me still wondering
©06/18/16
Jun 2016 · 320
MISPLACED MOON
Del Maximo Jun 2016
the elders say the sky is changing
stars aren’t where they should be
Earth has shifted her axis
misaligning the heavens

driving home on date night
respite from daily’s grind
ice cream cones and country songs
breezing through open windows
with Charlie in the back
wailing and wagging to the music
spruces swaying in clear evening sky
“stop the car”, she said
“the moon isn’t where it’s supposed to be”
he rolled his eyes and got out with her
Steph, Mel and Charlie on his leash
trekking a quick adventure
searching for the misplaced moon
walking in the beauty of the night

it took a short while
but they found her in the tree tops
shining in full magnificence
conversing with Venus and Mars
while the man on the moon stole a kiss


Del Maximo
©06/16/2016
©06/16/16
Jun 2016 · 306
TIME SIGNS
Del Maximo Jun 2016
shadows of rolling clouds
changing my mood
a herd of buffalo stampeding sky
intermittently blotting out my mind
with flashbacks of sun
the days are warm
the days are cool
Meteora is consistently confused
do patterns exist in chaos?

the world is racing faster it seems
its pendulum tick talking quickly
hate rears ugly reminders to love
to tolerance and neighborly acts
calls for peace
cell phones ringing rapid-fire-like
attempting to communicate with the dead
a worst rated shooting on American soil
leaving family, friends and strangers
questioning, “Why?”
dance club mourners echoing
our schools and movie theatres
for pain and loss
can happen anywhere

the game has changed
they’re shooting more threes
vitriolic rhetoric runs rampant
he hates everyone not like him
she lies to your face
both seeking glory over service
popularity trumps decency
in this age of reality celebrities
talent has lost its voice
seems it’s all about money
poisoning the earth and its people
GMO’s and pharmaceuticals and pesticides
OH MY!
each new generation a product of its times
can we turn back the clock?
should we even try?
if we knew now what we knew then
would we be better off?
©06/13/16
Jun 2016 · 503
THE HERMIT GENE
Del Maximo Jun 2016
so many times I’ve stood alone
without friend or family
family or friend
although we’re all connected
like blocks in a Jenga tower
with fate’s choice pushing and pulling
after the collapse
we stand alone and rebuild
so many dictates in the re-invention
holing up for a while
caught up in ‘musts’ instead of ‘cans’
‘needs’ instead of ‘wants’
limited resources finding a new path
instead of creating one

the front door ajar
ideas breezing in coolness
a yellow porch light
illuminating the climbing tendrils
in my mind
manifesting the cosmos
with blue and red pizza boxes
brown rice and beans
tastes like chicken

communication holds many keys
but which one fits the lock?
so many unexpected turns
so many pieces in life’s puzzle
but I’m good at solving puzzles
every time I fall
I long for preparation H
to soothe my **** hurt
but sometimes when you think you’re drowning
you only need to  stand up
and remember that you’re good
but that’s totally up to me
as it should be
although we’re all connected
we stand alone
we stand alone
although we’re all connected
so don’t leave me in my cave, baby
hit me back to the moon if you have to
hit me back to the moon
©06/13/16
May 2016 · 427
THE BEST MEDICINE?
Del Maximo May 2016
they were the last to see her
alive and conscious
a post-surgical stint in rehab
meant to be a temporary stop
on the road home
they said she was asking for me
she said I was the one
who knew about her health
then they laughed
don’t know if they found her situation
laughable
or if they were mocking her
for asking for me

I understand a gallows laugh
immaturity’s release
when one can’t fathom or process
laughing in helplessness
not grasping onto gravity
heads in the ground
in plain sight

next morning she was found
unresponsive and bleeding
cardiac arrest en route back to ER
upon doctor’s prognosis
we agreed to let her go
ER and ICU proved to be her last stop
on her way home to eternity
I know they’re not laughing now
I hope they regret it
but I can’t seem to forget it
I don’t think I ever will
© 05/17/2016
I needed to get this off my chest.  And it's going in my next book.
Apr 2016 · 610
FALLING STARS
Del Maximo Apr 2016
they say the stars are falling
falling from the skies
I see them falling with my eyes
but never heard a falling star cry

I sit and watch the life of leaves
conversing with the breeze
but when I try to eavesdrop
tinnitus’ tones peal

they say the stars are falling
falling from the skies
I used to miss their music
the inflection of their rise

their lyrics became mealy
melodies to mysteries
but I can still feel that baseline beat
and follow lips while watching oldies

birds fly by in silent soar
without a flap sound, flutter or tweet
perhaps my heart has gone numb with my ears
I don’t miss it anymore

does loss decrease life’s value
or make it all the more precious

they say the stars are falling
falling from the skies
I see them falling with my eyes
but never heard a falling star cry
© 04/21/16
Apr 2016 · 407
WOULD IF I COULD
Del Maximo Apr 2016
the joy of breaching
have you ever seen stingrays fly?
not just popping their heads up
taking a quick peek at sky
but completely clearing the ocean
even doing alley-oop-summersaults
vertical 360's in mid air
strength and gracefulness
their flight as fluid as paper airplanes
the wetness of salt watered skin
shimmering in sunlight
dark gray against cerulean
fin wings flapping in wavy curly movements
outwardly oscillating like sound waves
wagging tails like happy dogs
leaping out of their element
with confidence and exuberance
and bidding onlookers to do the same
© 04/04/16
Mar 2016 · 419
ON GROWING OLDER
Del Maximo Mar 2016
for a Lovely Lady

we're growing old and things have changed
our health ain't what it used to be
at times my eyes can't really see
fine print can be tough for me
my ears can buzz, snap and ring
flattening the notes I sing
my strength has gone the way of youth
and dentures now replace my tooths
my knees may creak and fingers ache
but emu oil works, for goodness' sake
I've earned my stripes and can't complain
we still enjoy walks in the rain
we may no longer be so young
but, Lord, we still have lots of fun
our time together is not over
as far as I can tell
we've plenty of moments for picnics in clover
and so many roses yet to smell
© 03/28/16
Mar 2016 · 464
IF I DIED TONIGHT
Del Maximo Mar 2016
If I died tonight
if I closed my eyes to sleep
and never awakened
beyond the initial sadness
would anyone really care
did I make a difference
did my life truly matter
to anyone
or in the grander scheme
was I kind and generous
did I treat people well
thoughtful of their needs and wants
did I take care of myself
so others wouldn’t have to
did I hold a door for a stranger
and give food to someone hungry
did I look in a passerby’s eyes
and smile a greeting
did I live in a cave
or commune in a village
did I appreciate my circumstances
did I have fun and laugh often
did I get anything done
did I love anyone
and did anyone love me
© 03/06/16
Jan 2016 · 340
UNTITLED
Del Maximo Jan 2016
elevator was full
when the bell 'dinged' and the doors opened
on the geriatric floor
mom was lost in the back
intimidated by the crowd
she held out her hand
for me to pull her through
some folks chuckled
with their haughtiness and sun glasses
such silly, ignorant people
I guess they thought I had an old girlfriend
from then on
whenever she needed to
she would hold out her hand
for me to help her

got to know her better
in her old age
learned to ignore her crankiness
and façade of always knowing better
just watching tv and joking with her
evoking a giddy laugh
or a toothless smile
drawing her bath
seeing to her needs and comfort
dealing with her doctors
eyeballing her meds and diet
comforting her tears

paramedics whisked her to ER
they found a tumor in her stomach
her children and grandchildren kissed her
on her cheek and forehead
en route to pathology's biopsy
when they rolled her bed past me
I gave her a thumbs up
hoping she would return it
instead, she held out her hand
she must have been scared
I held if for a moment's reassurance
but this time I couldn't pull her through
she survived the surgery
but never made it home
©11/29/15
Jan 2016 · 992
HER ZINNIAS
Del Maximo Jan 2016
every year she cut the biggest and brightest
keeping them in a brown bagged pantry to dry out
reaching in to crumble them at season
winnowing the chaff to wind
like her mother and aunties before her
back home in their island paradise

a magical notion
jostling seeds in slow motion
looking like crests on the ocean
neither too high nor too low
broken petals fly free
as seeds fall back of their own gravity

the kids would come ‘round
as projects kids do
to watch and maybe try something new
she would pass them an old melamine plate
a small handful of crumblings to ply
tossing and scooching to catch them again

crimson reds and magentas
lemony yellows
monarch butterfly oranges
violet and lavender purples
crowning petals layered
resembling elizabethan collars

they caught the morning
protected by snail and slug repellent
people came from all around
to admire her oversized zinnias
occasionally picking one and running
garden’s variety of dine and dash

we gifted them to mourners
small packets of zinnia’s seed
extolling them as one of her favorites
soil, water and sunshine
all you need to sow and grow
and watch the memories bloom
©08/13/2015
Jan 2016 · 494
A PEACEFUL RIVER ROCKS
Del Maximo Jan 2016
distant fading dulled blue mountains mist
cerulean eyes peek through rolling gray smatterings
rain’s aloneness petering her drops; quiet dribbles splash
outwardly radiant circular wakes renew the fresh
an already illogical current slowly skips over treasures beneath
chaotic babble chants to movements
a river’s concertos streaming in the key of cold
evergreenest grasses sprouting in spurts and clumps
bright colored wildflowers intermittently decorate her ostentatious banks
as he wades in toward the challenge; a thrown gauntlet of smooth rock
a natural outcropping base as platform
he stacks one rock atop another, atop another, atop another
in improbable, impossible, asymmetrical design
ordered without regard to size, weight, shape or color
randomly selecting whatever rocks the river offers
discerning surfaces support point and counterpoint complements
exploiting gravity with unconscious physics and body language
a wiggle this way, a lean that way, trying to find the balance within
“becoming the balance”; feeling it in your core
strong hands breathe stillness
his creation held with steady gaze and o’ so deep concentration
relaxing fingers first; then pulling his arms away to reveal
a consummation of peace
a manmade natural temple; testament to the art of patience
a magnificent mystery
a satisfying moment frozen in time
precariously awaiting eventual collapse
© July 21, 2015
Jan 2016 · 442
ANOTHER DAY
Del Maximo Jan 2016
sun’s light plays through disbursing clouds winding the day down; long legged spidery shadows
glinting reflections ignite phosphenes inside his closed eyes
cool finger-like breezes a sensual treat for warm body and tired mind
beyond papa’s peeling painted porch, sparse leaves on a rose bush’s bramble of dying brown branches sway and tickle with wind chimes
white wood railing diminished by dry rot
carnitas’ aroma remoras, zephyring eastward, riding in from a nearby restaurant; the faint perception of hunger
birds and traffic rush silently by; muted by hearing loss, drowned by tinnitus’ ringing and snapping
neon’s colors flash down the daytime street too far to read
miniature pedestrian people peddle in the distance, dwarfed by utility poles and power lines perspectively
from the hospital bed set up in his living room, he watches his open front door like tv
amidst a clutter within arm’s reach
© 08/04/2015
Dec 2015 · 390
HER LITTLE ANGEL
Del Maximo Dec 2015
for Steph

a shroud of low clouds
dampens the cemetery’s mood
a chubby stone cherub
sits amidst the mists
his green gold patina
weathering the cycling seasons
throughout the years
bathed in spring’s renewal
April’s showers and morning’s dews
basked in summer’s thermal waves
expanding like the days
chilled in the crisp crackle
of autumn’s change
enduring bitter snows
of frozen white winters
but every Christmas Eve he’s comforted
moved by dance of candles
warmed by heavenly halos’ glow
little cathartic coronas twinkling
like a mother-made indoor constellation
commemoratively flickering on her mantle
in annual visual manifestation
of her lifelong heartstrings
illuminated by the depth of their reach
honoring her child
her little angel
born too soon
and too perfect
for this world
© 11/26/15
Dec 2015 · 322
SITTING IN THE SHADOWS
Del Maximo Dec 2015
there's a shadow in the house
lurking in the kitchen and hallway
sometimes peeking out
into the living room or dining area
I catch its movement peripherally
a flash in the corner of my eye
gone before I turn my head to look
a ghost of the past?
a haunting in the present?
a purposeful visitation?
something insidious?
imagination's figment?
should I be afraid of karma's regurgitation
or comforted as I sit alone?
or is it just a shadow
the movement of leaves and branches
breezing in the window's wind
outside this cold, drafty old house
© 11/30/15
Nov 2015 · 303
LAST WORDS
Del Maximo Nov 2015
fourth of nine
I was nineteen years young
when he asked me to stay
he went “back home” and got a young wife
knew he would pass before her
asked me again when I was twenty three
crediting my older brothers
as having lives of their own
I guess he thought I wasn’t entitled
to mine

at first resentful
feeling trapped unfairly
especially since I was never a favored child
but ended up not minding obligation’s onus
appreciating her more in her elderly fragility
realizing a caretaker’s privilege
even underneath the family’s
unappreciative eyes

when he had his “fatal” heart attack
I’m glad I was there
to administer CPR
but I carry the question always
did I really help him?
or did I prolong his suffering
for two and a half months?

after awakening
from semi comatose’s state
his memory was in and out
some were upset
by his lack of recognition
but he never forgot me
and in that I take solace

he reiterated his wish
on his deathbed
like an anointing
its oil poured upon my forehead
and radiating inside me
he thought I was good enough
and equal to the task


I’ll never forget his final words
a barely audible muttered plea
that I figured out later
he raised his eyebrows and nodded
with a seemingly joyful expression
as if we had an agreement
he closed his eyes
and went to sleep
© 11/25/15
Del Maximo Oct 2015
don't know what it's like
to be super healthy
but I remember running at full speed
knees lifting high with long strides
fists pumping hard to keep my rhythm
with elite athletes cheering the fat kid on
I remember knocking down and through
every opponent on the football field
including my older brothers
no one could block me or get by me
I remember jumping shoulders above the rim
before slam dunks were popular
grabbing every rebound
and making court length passes
like they were nothing
I could kick a soccer ball
from end zone to end zone
and hit a softball into the next diamond
I could do more sit ups and push ups
than anyone thought a fat kid could
I've always been strong
my older brother called it my "brute" strength
meant as both compliment and put down
but I've never known lean and fit
they've always been strangers to me
health's basic formula has never changed
eat right, exercise, get plenty of rest
lean meats, fruit and vegetables
healthy fats and nuts
keeping fiber's eye on glycemic's index
portions are everything
green tea, vitamins, supplements
working out to burn the fat, baby
I've never known lean and fit
but we're going to get well acquainted
they're going to become my new middle name
© 10/25/15
Aug 2015 · 432
LIVIN' THE LIFE
Del Maximo Aug 2015
he was going to teach me how
to pick a lock and hot wire a car
but he went back to prison
I swear, he had a good heart
he was just livin’ the life he knew

adopted in infancy
an idyllic ranch life
going out barefoot and shirtless in the snow
to feed the horses
still, divorce happens
his mother got custody
but blanked out in permissiveness
allowing him whatever
she wanted to play good cop
as divorced parents sometimes do
he would disappear for a week
communing in the canyons; survival skills
drinking water by the rocks
checking jack rabbits for spots
“everything is seasonal” he would tell me
when his mother remarried a drunkard
my friend would don dark clothing and a ski mask
to rob his drunken step dad every payday
to put food on the table
you see, he had a good heart
just livin’ the life he knew

leading a life of drugs
and not just using
he could drink his stuff but also liked Perrier
a life of crime
store front window smash and grabs
in stolen cars
getting involved with big time dealers
still, I swear he had a good heart
just livin’ the life he knew

once asked him why
he never offered me drugs
“Why would I?” he replied
you see, a friend would never do that
he would jump up and say, “No!”
if I pretended to reach for a cigarette
--a regular cigarette
he knew well their addictive nature
knew his lungs were tweeked
and didn’t want me to ruin my voice
I had a beautiful voice
he had a good heart
just livin’ the life he knew

sent to the fire camps up north
in his element in the woods
at peace with himself out in nature
knowledgeable, skillful, personable
upon release they told him
"stay clean till November"
he would have a job waiting for him
he had a good heart
but went back to the life he knew

the last time in prison
he “stuck” someone
it scared him because this time
he didn’t feel anything
didn’t ask him what he meant
we never talked about it again
still, I swear he had a good heart
just livin’ the life he knew

he was in the hospital
last time we talked
he knew he was dying
his sister told me he was scared
it’s been a long time
but I think he was in his twenties
a life of hard times
a death in regret
surely God knew
he had a good heart
he was just livin’ the life he knew
© 08/26/2015  a new stanza added
Jul 2015 · 879
HELIOS SMILES
Del Maximo Jul 2015
his golden chariot climbs high
pulled by four fiery steeds
his corona ablaze
shining and radiant
bringing light and warmth
to a mundane world
rising in the east
setting in the west
from horizon to horizon
for eternity
his only respite
was resting inside a golden cup
catching the red eye back east
via Oceanus
to start the day again

a solemn, solitary figure
dedicated to daily duty
Zephyr felt pity for him
she whispered a sweet perfume
that struck him like Eros’ arrow
his eyes followed his nose
he spied a maiden so fair
frolicking amidst flora and fauna
a wreath of yarrow crowning her hair
Helios had never taken notice
of mortals before
but found her beguiling
an innocent, unassuming hottie
so unlike the haughty goddesses
he left his chariot
to pursue her visage
the earth plunged into cold darkness
as mighty Atlas moved his shoulders
trying to see what was the matter
the earth quaked
humans shrieked in fear
“The gods have forsaken us!”

Zeus heard the commotion
and looked down from Olympus
he found Helios gazing upon his lady
entranced as if by Sirens’ call
unaware of the darkness
entrenching earth
enraged, Zeus hurled a lightning bolt
temporarily blinding Helios
shaking him from his stupor
Helios blushed with shame
for his dereliction of duty
creating the first red sunset
as he climbed back into his chariot
in a pre-emptive strike
a preventive measure
Zeus erased Helios’ memory
and first froze the girl in a block of ice
but took pity on her
and transformed her into a cloud
to the delight of humans
Helios resumed his duties
oblivious to the eclipse of his memory
but somehow feeling strangely at loss

to this day
every now and then
on the rarest of occasions
he would glimpse a peculiar icy cloud
dancing before him
uncertain as to why he would notice
one cloud from so many
he would just smile brightly
and carry on
© 07/17/2015  This is to explain the sun shining through a cloud of ice crystals resulting in a "dancing" light in the sky.
Jul 2015 · 544
PASSION'S FROOTS
Del Maximo Jul 2015
life’s slippery slopeyness
keeping us on edge
moving forward
avoiding Sisyphus’ fate
preparation is paramount
educating ourselves
for proper execution
of meaningful moments
discovery and discernment
stoking passion’s fire
fear of failure and
mediocrity’s nothingness
quieting doubting demon epaulettes
turning our mind’s soil
to aerate our roots
fomenting growth
with no need to impress
others or self
or even think in those terms
exploiting one’s own personal
weaknesses and strengths with
grace sanding smooth
rough passages
today’s deferment is
tomorrow’s regret
posture your head high
with joyous eyebrows
feeling alive
appreciating the privilege
of the fruit of your passion
© 07/01/2015
Jun 2015 · 421
ONE AND DONE
Del Maximo Jun 2015
there are days when
the sun seems out of place
setting in the north
you don't know
what you need or want
and don't go looking for it

still, fate happens
an unexpected encounter
a bar, a club
a restaurant or church
the market parking lot
the office elevator
a coffeehouse

a meeting of eyes
a glint of sunshine
or lighting
a sweet perfume
an accidental touch
an unsolicited opinion

a want for company
and social connection
a need for intimacy
and softness
a gushing of blood
running on instincts

small talk conversations
a tentative trust
in this age of
STD's and AIDS

the door is closed
lights off (or on)
no clothing not optional
protection a must

the warmth of skin
the heat of passions
the sweat of effort
the grunts of climaxes
uttered or unuttered
smiling, thankful eyes
calming a beating heart
with deep breaths
caresses and stillness

no commitment or strings
a confluence of souls
a fork in the river
a parting of ways
call it maturity
call it immoral
or sinful
call it one and done
written in the vaults
of heaven
© 06/11/2015
Jun 2015 · 1.1k
HIS FISHING NET
Del Maximo Jun 2015
(tales of my mamasita)

after breakfast
father would tend his tuba
father and mother
would then forage the farm for
cassava, sweet potatoes, green bananas
tarot roots and fruits
sometimes harvesting enough
for two days
while mother prepared lunch
father would fish for viand with
his fishing net
going to the far side
of our part of the island
or staying not far from the house
sometimes big brother and little brother
would go with him
to carry large baskets for catch
father was an artist with
his fishing net
circular and hand knotted
lead pieces sewn to the rim
his fishing net
was carried folded over his shoulder
the tip held in front of him
the heavy weighted part hanging behind
eyes shaded with hands
he searched for schools near the shore
in the clear turquoise
putting it down on powdery dry sand
his fishing net
was supported on his forearm
grabbing another part with his free hand
he would turn and fling
his fishing net
over the blueness
seemingly effortlessly
arms stretched skyward
his fishing net
would expand in mid-air
arcing like a geodesic dome
hovering like a frisbee
floating down to the water
in slow motion
finally sinking into sea
father would wade waist deep
stir the fish with his hand
then haul
his fishing net
full of  mullets and other small fish
we would feast for lunch and dinner
with a plentiful catch both
father and mother
would scale and clean
sun dried, smoked or salted
preserved for tomorrows
everything was cleaned up
and put away after lunch
siesta time
afterwards, mother would
do her pottery
fix the tree bark for father’s tuba
or repair
his fishing net
using a tatting device
father and mother
always kept themselves busy
never whiling away the time
till dark
© 06/04/2015
May 2015 · 451
FORGOTTEN SPRING
Del Maximo May 2015
I can’t remember Spring
can’t remember a cold May morning
with overcast skies
in the land of endless summer
roses bloomed in winter
guavas ripened in February
but I haven‘t heard the wrens
chirping and twittering
since we cut down the lemon tree
or the mocking birds
that used to nest there
seasons still turn
in changing climate’s confusion
but where have the blue jays
and butterflies gone?
the banana tree still grows
the native sweet potatoes spread
but it seems there were always flowers
and I miss the scent of night jasmine
the gardens have withered and browned
without her tender care
© 05/07/2015
Apr 2015 · 694
MOM'S SHOES
Del Maximo Apr 2015
awakened early this morning
too early
sat on the edge of my bed
and fell back asleep
sitting hunched over
wearing my glasses
as if I were staring at the floor
I entered dream's state
saw my mother’s feet
standing on the floor before me
as I looked down
she was wearing red, silver and blue
shiny, glittery high heeled shoes
a dream within a dream
I was a little boy
fallen asleep sitting on the floor
next to the dining room table
can’t remember the furniture
we had in childhood
but this was someone else’s house
I saw her feet standing before me
tapping her left foot
with those red, silver and blue high heels
tap tap tap tap tap...
I awakened, in life, and laid back down to sleep
one or two years before she passed
she asked me to buy her a pair of shoes
picked from a junk mail catalog
open toe with blue and red leather straps
latticed loosely across the front
and solid natural wood high heels
as kids we called them “samba shoes”
she loved them
but hid them from me for awhile
before admitting they were too small
I guess she got to wear them
after all
© 04/28/2015

I dream dead people.
Apr 2015 · 414
A BLUE WHALE'S WONDER
Del Maximo Apr 2015
got back in bed this morning
to visualize a healthier me
running on the beach
splashing in the froth
like a chariot of fire
the song playing in my mind's ear
but my image maker wasn't working
I lacked control
out of body and out to sea
the ocean's table glistening
I came across a sole blue whale
his back's expanse above water
eyes just below surface
he approached me slowly
without threat or fear
we held eye contact for a moment
a melding of minds
a baring of souls
in silent conversation
intense black irises told me
he was lonely
I thought he wanted
to speak of his plight
his species' endangerment
ecology's pollution
his journey's migration
seeking food and warmer waters
instead, he was looking at me
discerning my life
and mankind in general
wondering if everything
will be all right
(C) 04/13/2015
Apr 2015 · 466
A DAY AT THE BEACH
Del Maximo Apr 2015
sitting in seclusion
on early morning's beach
with a friend
eating potato chips
talkin' 'bout life
he was jobless
I was playin' hooky
a gray sky hovered
cool winter breezes blew
for some reason
he thought his pain
was greater than others'
but he wouldn't talk about it
the chips were salty
seagulls screeched and cawed
the ocean crashed
life went on
but not for him
(C) 04/07/15
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