by: A.C. Westerman (1979- )

      UT parties and press passes aside, could you have loved a single one of them? Could you have loved the so-called idiot-- the self-proclaimed Eskimo, or the one with a bruise on her cheekbone?

      And why did you follow the larger-than-life blonde actress across the piazza at four in the morning and wade after her into the fountain, simply to tell her that she was the first woman ever, when she could have just as easily been the next?

      At a castle one weekend the second richest woman there professed her wish to be only yours. She whispered it into an urn and it filled the room in which you sat on the solitary chair. When she fell silent and vanished, you went ghost hunting with the rest of the party, looking for her, your smooth face floating among their bobbing candelabra.

      You had a place comparable to many of them-- a car even some of them envied. Still, no one was poorer than you, Marcello, king of the Paparazzo, king of chicken feathers.

      And the one woman who was literally crazy for you, you didn't believe her love-- and you did, which explains why you sped off and left her on the side of a dirt road after you had argued for hours one night (nothing new), then returned in the morning to pick her up and she was waiting, her head covered in a silk scarf, holding a bunch of weed flowers, with her high heels still on.

      Stroke the many cheeks that lean close to you, Marcello. Remember the collective smell of their necks and wrists. Caress their eye sparkle with the wave in your hair and know that the only one who could have saved you was that angel-of-a-girl waiting tables at the beachside hut where you tried to type in peace one afternoon.

      Months later she recognized your handsomeness, remembered your flattery and called out to you. But since you had expired all desire by sunrise, you didn't care enough to try and hear her words over the surf that morning, to try and decipher her hand motions. Since you had only admired, not treasured the shape of her chin, you would have never recognized it at a distance.

      Since you had worn yourself through until night had fled, you didn't-- couldn't yearn enough to take a step closer and recognize the profile, the young breasts, the bright forehead, but instead turned to the black-haired woman wearing pants who pulled you back towards the cars and everyone hung over. Since your saccharine heart had no aspiration left over for her, Marcello, your love can never amount to more than an echo in a costly bowl and an empty piazza cradling a dried up fountain in the Roman dawn.

"They Call It the Sweet Life" is copyright © 2004 by A.C. Westerman. All rights reserved. No part of this poem may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the Author. All inquiries should be directed to the Author's Representative at



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