Heart Beats on a City Street

Words, the author’s building blocks,
filling half a city block.
One after another, bound words,
alphabetized and organized, surrounded by gray bricks,
one after another, neatly stacked.
Words transformed into books and bricks transformed into a building,
by artists’ hands, inviting others to step in.

I meant to
accept the invitation and lose myself
in the place where there is a place for every book
and where every book has a place.

I remained outside
where life is messy,
where nothing stays in one place for too long,
and where water stains don’t land one in a trash bin.

I got caught up
in the living and breathing
happening outside in real time,
keeping me from shelved and closed books.

On printed words,
I did not dine,
but the pulsing city life
I did devour.

A bagel and a sidewalk shared with a stranger,
whose sad eyes and deep lines revealed a lifetime
of stories, just as dramatic as any found on the printed page.

Silhouetted curves and skin merged
when into a fitted black dress, I did slip
through the sliding glass door, greeting a moon dimly lit.

Dusty brown boots traded for barely-worn black stilettos
that skipped over puddles, stepped over cracks, and
swayed to the rhythm of cool jazz, uniting breathing shadows.

Rooftops raised to the stars by live music,
created by musicians whose calloused fingertips
and dark circles are not the result of staring too long at pages turned.

Sirens switched on by paramedics
who blur down the city block, night after night, checking pulses
and listening to slurred words spoken by those stuck in their worn-out story.

Someday, I may return to this city block
and if I do, I will step into the brick building
and enjoy a quiet dinner for two – just me and a delicious book.

Any city, however small, is in fact divided into two, one the city of the poor, the other of the rich; these are at war with one another.

~ Plato

If it has been a while, I invite you to step out… of your comfort zone, with your shadow, in stilletos (men too – you should know what it is like to walk a mile in a woman’s shoes), and enjoy some live music, or step into a library and read a book. That is good too. 😁 Thank you for visiting and reading. Be well. 💗 Michele

Find my photos and micro poems on Instagram ~ @mlsefton

Photos 1, 2, 4 : my images Photo of me: taken by JS

© 2021 Michele Lee Sefton.

58 thoughts on “Heart Beats on a City Street

    1. Thank you, Brad. Yes I was, “dancing with the sirens of city life.” Well said. haha Stilletos are fun but also a bit challenging on cracked city sidewalks – best to save yourself from injury and maybe embarrassment too. 👠 Of course I was appropriately dressed for a night spent capturing city life. Living it is an entirely different look. 😄 Enjoy your weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Timothy Price

    Wonderful and powerful poem, Michele. The city life has its allure. I experienced all the grandeur, and so many things a big city has to offer living in Madrid, Spain. I loved all the live music, the museums, the readings, plays that were constantly available, many free. But I love our little piece of paradise so much more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Timothy. It was a fun write and vibrant city vibe. 🏙 Living in Madrid sounds like a dream. Wonderful memories, I am sure. Based on your photo shares, you are surrounded by paradise. Thanks for sharing with us. 🙏🏼 Enjoy your piece of paradise.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. In a city of tall buildings, bright lights and dark alleys, you stand out with a poetic urban tale which is refreshing and well-rounded, both energetic and empathetic. That’s also a very nice black & white (and jeans, too). 😉 Happy weekend, Michele.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Phil. I joined my husband on a recent work trip and kept myself delightfully busy in the dark alleys, under the bright lights. 😆 I enjoyed the city vibes and the city write. ✨ Thanks about the photos. Maybe Levi’s will endorse my site. 😂 Enjoy your weekend too, thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, Levis should endorse your site, perhaps with you in a commercial – imagine…its night time on a poorly lit street, with the steady pulse of background sounds from the city and steam wafting from manhole covers. The camera pans left, stopping to focus on the shadowy silhouette of a beautiful blonde woman wearing a cowgirl hat and boots, black top, and, yes, a pair of well-fitting Levis. She slowly saunters forward under a dim street light, when suddenly – the crashing sound of a metal trash can lid hitting pavement! She makes a quick quarter-turn, drawing her DSLR camera as if it were a gun from a holster, and snaps a shot of a cat racing away with fishbones clenched in its teeth. The camera zooms in for a close-up scene of her face, as she remarks, “Here’s looking at you, cat”. She raises her camera, winks to the TV camera, and, resembling a gun having been fired, blows the smoke away from her lens. Then, Levis runs their slogan on-screen, perhaps in conjunction with the camera maker.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think you did enough imagining for both of us. 😂 That is quite a scene you created, Phil. You outdid yourself! 😆 Here is another idea… pitch it to Levi’s, and if they are interested, you can have the standard agent fee, just be sure they include a nice selection of jeans. 🤣 I will be there with bells on or spurs, or anything else they want. They will have to provide the cat and fish bones. 😂🤣

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hello, it’s me again. Following up, I did send an email to Levi’s pitching the idea of you in a jeans commercial with the storyline I shared, including your post-link and a link to my site. Who knows, right? 🤞

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Hey, me again. Keeping me from my laundry again.🧺 Joking or not, thank you. 🙏🏼 Should they come calling, I will be there, with my boots, camera, and jeans, hopefully clean by then. 😁 Cheers and cheerio!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful 🙂

    A bagel and a sidewalk shared with a stranger,
    whose sad eyes and deep lines revealed a lifetime
    of stories, just as dramatic as any found on the printed page.

    This is just the kind of person I imagine you to be, Michele – and I love how you’ve described the scene.



    1. Your comment is a gift for me. Thank you so much, David. 🙏🏼 I would rather share a bagel on the sidewalk with a “forgotten” human and have real human connection, than share a feast with an overindulged king in a penthouse. Enjoy your special weekend. 💖

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh Michele, what an amazing symphony of life in the city you have beautifully portrayed here. Trading those dusty boots 👢 for black stilettos 👠 …now you’re talking my kind of language ladybug, even if I am not strolling in the city, gotta have those dancin’ shoes! 😜

    Yes, I would love to be in the building where the rooftops are raised to the stars by live music,
    created by musicians whose calloused fingertips. I can connect to the calloused part reflecting on my days in our high school band, and even as a majorette. But those were good callouses though. 🎵 🩹 🎶 I will certainly enjoy my dinner for two as I wear my stilettos, cross my legs, sip on some tea and allow my guest, my favorite book to serenade me with its musical, magical words! What an uplifting poem girlfriend! Like Calgone…it takes me away!!! 🛀 🎈 💃🏽

    Have a fun and deliciously divine weekend my friend!!! 🥂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh my, Ms. Kym, you sure know how to complement and compliment my words. 💖 Like my French and Spanish, my stilleto language is rusty. Must work on all of them! 😂 So worth my time. To stroll in high heels with ease while French words roll from my tongue with ease – now we are talking. That is a dreamy moment I could lose myself in. ✨ Nice to meet you fellow band nerd. 🎶 🤓 I agree – “good calluses” indeed! Enjoy your stilleto-sipping afternoon. Love that visual! I may join you after I finish unpacking and get through all this damn laundry. 🤣 Cheers my fun friend! 🥂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Girl, you got me crying here! 😂 🤣 😝 I love your spirit and I love the way you seamlessly worked complementing while complimenting your words! 🤗 We certainly feed off of each other when we’re in that zone!!! 🤔 🤭 🤫 I just finished mowing the lawn and while cooling down I thought I would catch up on the latest WP news! So, I understand the laundry thing. Think I’ll delegate that task to my husband! 🧺 😏 LOL Until next time…Smooches!!! 😘 🍸😘

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The Twilight Zone! 😆 I am not sure how laundry delegation would fare in my house… I have too many delicates, but, since I failed to separate “Dry Clean” pants from the pile this morning, maybe it’s not a bad idea. 🤔 Too fun, guess I better get some work done. Boo! 😆 Relax and enjoy your book.😊

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh girlfriend, I’m careful with the delicates too. Trust me. 🤨 I’m getting ready to take my bath and I’m taking a book with me. Can’t do the stilettos but I can certainly be entertained! 😜 Hugs!!!🤗 🤗 🤗

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Self-expression in this piece is alive and on fire, Michele. Beautiful words, colorful and deep imagery, and of course, tons of feeling. I LOVE this stanza,
    “Dusty brown boots traded for barely-worn black stilettos
    that skipped over puddles, stepped over cracks, and
    swayed to the rhythm of cool jazz, uniting breathing shadows.” My, my, you are such an elegant and talented poet. Just beautiful. Happy weekend, my friend. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ooooh, nice! Thank you, Jeff. I did have fun skipping, swaying, and writing. Knowing my work (if that’s what it is), I am sure that comes as no surprise. 😂 I don’t get enough city life, but I do enjoy it… unless it is downtown Phoenix during the summer, of course! 🥵 😢 Very kind. Takes one to know one. 😁 Thank you, you too! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love your analogy, Jaya. You always introduce a fresh spin and perspective. ✨Thank you. Bustling cities offer many sights, sounds, experiences (and smells). I did enjoy it and look forward to another urban experience. Now I need to finish unpacking and take a nap. 😆 Have a lovely rest of the weekend – I hope life is treating you well. 🌻

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wonderfully vivid images and metaphors. I love your description of the city and the building of words just like the buildings and just as enticing!

    A bagel and a sidewalk shared with a stranger,
    whose sad eyes and deep lines revealed a lifetime
    of stories, just as dramatic as any found on the printed page.

    What a great statement! We all have our stories to tell!
    Well done Michele!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dwight. I did enjoy my city time, both experiencing it and writing about it. I love knowing what stood out to you and greatly appreciate your feedback. It is fun building poems and stories, isn’t it? Placing the words, one after another, and making connections to the world around us. Laying bricks is beyond my expertise, but all talents are needed to make this life more enjoyable and meaningful. 💞

      Yes, we all have stories to tell. Absolutely! The writing workshop I help with is based on the book, The Story You Need to Tell. 😉 Have a wonderful week.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A wonderful poem of contrasts, Michele!

    ‘Words transformed into books and bricks transformed into a building,
    by artists’ hands, inviting others to step in.’

    That’s a marvelous image ❤️

    You’ll be pleased to know I dressed in my best for a wedding yesterday and even hit the dancefloor! 💃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Ingrid. I love that and the contrasts became more apparent to me when I sat down in a city park and worked on this poem. A small city park that was “home” for a few. These contrasts exist in many places, but I think they become more concentrated in a busy city. 🏙 I love that image too… imagining writers and brick layers working side-by-side to create a city sanctuary. 💗 Thank you for enjoying and commenting on that line.

      I am most pleased and smiling at the thought of you out enjoying life and dancing. 💓 Thanks for sharing that happy news! It is also wonderful to hear that celebrations and gatherings are happening in your world. Wishing you a peaceful and productive week. ✨

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Your writing has no rival – it is pure escapism typed out onto a page. You mention in the poem that words are the author’s building blocks. This is very fitting because with these words that you have shared – you have built a beautifully detailed re-enactment of the busy city. I’m sitting alone in the purple-painted walls of my bedroom but your worlds have taken me straight to those busy streets.


    1. Hi Simone, it is wonderful to see you and read you here! You are too generous, but I do appreciate your words that are a joy to read at the beginning of my week. Writing brings me many gifts and I am most honored when my words connect with others. Thank you so much. I hope you are doing well ~ wishing you joy and inspired moments. 💖


    1. I do love when you join me, Diana. 🥰 The intro, at least the fragmented thoughts of the first stanza, came to me late one night when the city sounds (and energy) kept me awake. ✍🏼 Thank you so much. You too beautiful poet. 💗


  10. Pingback: Heart Beats on a City Street by Michele Lee – Gobblers / Masticadores // Editores: Manuela Timofte / j re crivello

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