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The Backbone Flute by Vladimir Mayakovsky translated from the Russian by Andrey Kneller Prologue For all of you, Whom I've admired or still am admiring, Hidden like icons in the cave of the soul, Like a goblet of wine at a festive gathering, I shall raise my heavy, verse-brimming skull. More and more often, I'm wondering- Why shouldn't I place The period of a bullet at the end of my stanza? Today, Just in case, I am giving my final, farewell concert. Memory! Gather into the brain's auditorium The bottomless lines of those who are dear to me. From eye to eye, pour mirth into all of them. Light up the night with the by-gone festivity. From body to body, pour the joyous mood. Let no man forget this night. Listen to me, I will play the flute. On my backbone tonight.
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