The Ballad of Olivia Hussey | by Emily Linstrom

When I was a child, my mother sat me down and showed me Beauty:

Beauty has long dark hair and blue eyes, petite where petite matters,
the rest of her is the sweet spirit of the Sixties, the cigarettes and mini-skirts
and did she really let Romeo take her in the seat of a ’64 Alfa?

My parents just adored their era,
the reckless Riviera, sans sunscreen or birth control,
because babies could be washed away with a few cocktails
and summoned again with Leonard Cohen;

Back then was when the rich and wretched played without a guide or compass:
It’s summer on the yacht, darling! daddy’s yacht or hubby’s yacht
or whose yacht is this? Can we purchase it with youth and Quaaludes?
We carry cash in all currencies.

I was taught that Beauty hangs over the balcony
beckoning love with her peek-a-boo breasts,
the breathless husk of hash throat and musk of Elizabeth Taylor
still sporting her Cleopatra at a party somewhere in the Mediterranean,
the skinny dip and canapes and what is scandal anyway?
Does it make us behave like gods & daughters—
directors falling for their underage muses—
is it a revolution if everyone’s doing it?

I don’t believe in innocence, only the undocumented.



Emily Linstrom is an American writer & artist living in Italy. Her work has been featured in a number of publications including Three Rooms Press, Nailed Magazine, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, The Continental Review, The Wisdom Daily, Literary Orphans, and Yes Poetry, as October’s featured poet. She was the first prize recipient of Pulp Literature Press’s 2015 The Raven short story contest. Linstrom is a regular contributor for Quail Bell Magazine and The Outsider, as well as faculty historian for The School of Witchery. Her latest poetry will be published in Carve Magazine this April. You can view her work at:

Instagram: @betterlatethan_em