by Linda J. Albertano
Photographed by Alexis Rhone Fancher
Virtue rides into town on a
convertible Clydesdale. She’s wrapped
and is eating an apple concoction.
Ah, Virtue! They want
are so succulent! They want to use
for purposes of personal
adornment. They want to pin
wholesome and lovely, to their lapels.
Virtue drinks nothing but
from glaciers and the sap of lacebark
Ah, Virtue. You’re deep
in danger. Of becoming a dull
the most fascinating females are
with hearts of gold. They smoke
their cheroots and sing in their
tenors. They wear flamingo
and kiss your boyfriend on the mouth.
Virtue goes to a square
with the cleanest of all the
Outside, dark-eyed men
smelling of rum
and rosewater. Ah, Virtue!
Don’t let them handle
with their hot hands!
Virtue wears a starched
and a pristine pair of gloves to
church. A silver
in the crook of her neck. Virtue is
She kneels at the altar. She swallows the
and the body of Christ. Ah,
At the far end of the road,
they’ve masked a
and paraded him as you. You! Who
are as creamy and innocent as
Don’t let them
leave you too long in the
Don’t let them hang any
in your name!
Virtue has blue, blue eyes. And genuine
blonde hair. She’s the
Spring. Really. Is that fair?
I mean. She never wears gardenia
She doesn’t know how to swing
a hammer. But she looks
on the couch in any living room. I
about you, Virtue. Are you tasting the
juice of life? Are you afraid to
the bib of your dress?
Oh, Virtue. Run! Run before
they snare you in their pious and
nets! Save yourself, Virtue! They want to use
you for purposes of
They want to turn you upside-down
and imprison you in their green and glorious
Their hounds are howling
in the hills! Hide! Be the
letter, Virtue. They can’t hurt you
if they can’t see you. They can’t see you if you’re
Be everywhere, Virtue.
Be nowhere. Be something. Be nothing. Hide.
out of town on a white Clydesdale. Ah,
Virtue. We love your girlish
Don’t ever change.
This post originally published January 20, 2017 and has since been updated.
Linda J. Albertano has run the gamut from the political to the ridiculous, unleashing her language on unsuspecting audiences in both the US and Europe. As a poet, she represented Los Angeles at the One World Poetry Festival in Amsterdam, and she’s featured on the Venice Poetry Wall at Windward Ave. with such local notables as Jim Morrison, Viggo Mortensen and Exene Cervenka.
At the LA Theatre Center she presented a full-length work complete with artists, dancers and a 30-piece marching band from South Central LA. Then for the Santa Monica Arts CounciI, she mounted Calisaladia – a condensed history of California — with a large, multi-cultural cast. In the new millennium she studied West African music (kora and bolon) in Guinea, returning to perform for more than a decade at such venues as the Getty, Royce Hall and the Sacred Music Festival with kora virtuoso, Prince Diabate.
Recently she’s been published in Maintenant, a contemporary journal of Dada art and poetry featured in the New York Museum of Modern Art. And she’s been performing experimental works at Beyond Baroque, City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco and Cabaret Revoltaire for the Los Angeles celebration of the centennial of Dada. In the winter months, she’s appeared as Prince Diabate’s accompanist at intimate home concerts in both Pasadena and Venice Beach.