Life/Lines - April 24

Submitted poems for April 24, 2020

A daily poetry practice to generate and sustain the Life/Lines among us, for published and novice poets alike

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Write a short poem (rhyming not necessary) that includes each of the following 5 words (anywhere and in any order). Poems should not exceed 7 or 8 lines.


Send us your poem via our Submissions page or post on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #lifelines.

Today’s words were contributed by Treasure Shields Redmond, a published poet, master educator, community arts organizer, and entrepreneur. She is author of chop: a collection of kwansabas for fannie lou hamer.


Poems submitted for April 24

Breathe from a distance.
Shelter! Live digital life.
But where's the remote?

— Basho


It is easier to breathe
at a remote distance—
in my digital shelter,
for instance.

— James B. Moog


Digital dominance . . .Remote learning
Shelter in place . . . Social Distance
New world . . . small world
New normal??



As I shelter at home
I might as well be in Rome
Feeling so far from family and friends
Keeping my distance you know that is smart
Digital Zooming with creative backgrounds has become an art
Remote communication will never end
So just breathe and be patience that’s what I recommend

— Maureen Kleekamp


Writing from remote shelter

Nothing digital satisfies

Send dog
Distance irrelevant

— James Goodman.    4.24.20


It was a remote shelter.
The distance was incredibly
safe, one I chose carefully, with
plenty of air to breathe.
The only problem was
nothing digital, only my abacus.

— Becky Lewellen Povich


To breathe, it’s digital now; pixels covering the tongue,
the lungs, the distance between your lips
and mine. Your remote shelter and my bright
hermitage, are two of the heart’s chambers.
We own the privilege of selfcare and not
going out. The option of shutting the door.
The bit bucket overflows, but we stay in.

— M.E. Hope


24 April

Eat, sleep and breathe digital
Die remotely
at a distance in a shelter
of your own.
The society is dead.
Man is a digital animal.

— Jey Sushil (Track for International Writers)


Astral Travel, II

Breathe into the distance
which really isn’t. The remote
view of me and you
away from digital infections.
Perception can be a shelter.
Connection is everywhere.

— Julia Gordon-Bramer



There’s no comfort of home at the shelter.
A digital divide, no remote sheltering, you see.
In acrid air stay-in masses there swelter.
Socially distancing the homeless, a problem indeed.

— Ted


Grief, a cataract of silent thunder,
you feel so remote and in cold rain.
No shelter from the necessity of sorrow.
You breathe but that is such an effort.
Even your heart beats at such a distance away.
Thoughts are just digital tapping on a keyboard.
You see her eyes in memory, and cry.

— Dan Cuddy


Seen from four-walled shelter,
the old life feels remote—
Swear and perfume and woolly hugs and even air kisses
reduced to digital bits of light.
Are they even square anymore? Or were we so hip, we turned them into a stream,
water foaming over smoothed rocks, moss bright, all of it
shining in a thin, temporary light
we cannot breathe.

— Jeannette Cooperman


Viva la digital revolution
Which closed the distance
Between our soldiers.

No longer taxed by physical battle
We send remote signals
While the 4th Estate takes control.

Seeking shelter
From the real world
Is how we'll win the war.

Yet inside this bunker
I'm finding it
Hard to breathe.

— Ally Betker



from my digital shelter
I can breathe
even unto
all remote
distances and times

— 2020 04 24                by Lloyd Klinedinst


Somewhere in the distance we cannot yet see
beyond the shelter of this slow-ticking clock
outside the digital footprint that doesn’t overlap with another
we hold to the remote inkling of a thought we cannot yet speak
a hymn of sanity to breathe instead:
All shall be well
and all shall be well
and all manner of thing shall be well.*

— Steve Givens

*Julian of Norwich was an English anchorite of the 14th century. She wrote the earliest surviving book in the English language to be written by a woman.


Too serious was the promp
Too serious is this pandemic
For my remote, it found shelter quick
Breathing delight at the TV from a distance
Digitally controlling experiences of many

— Braveheart Gillani


3 a.m. Dance

I dream distance and desire as bad math, ravenous
mouths divided by the square route of your longitudinal
arch, as you breathe my name into darkness. We craft a shelter,
straining arms and legs and language to bridge what isn't so remote,
subtracting miles and adding kisses in this digital bump and grind rhythm.

— Casey Hampton


From this remote digital shelter
I see my friends talk to them
Flat two-dimensional talking heads
The distance is too great

I need to be in a room with them
Breathe the same air
Enjoy the warmth of their touch
Feel their energy dance around me
Be with the wholeness of them

I check my hand to be sure
I am not beginning to flatten

— Carol Haake    4/24/2020


My digital distance
Means I'm remote, as always.
But now you breathe easier.
The pandemic gives you shelter
From my toxic presence.

— Rita Winters


Once a home, the remote farmhouse
Is now a weekend shelter, a place we go
To distance, to breathe. Simple are its
Days. I kindle fire with cedar branches,
Fix a window the wind has wrecked, catch
A wild animal on a digital camera. You make
The peanut butter and jelly. I staple my soul
To the land.

—John Randall


From the distance my illustrious
ancestors are reminding me to breathe
and let the Real breathe through me. So
I threw the remote control against the wall
and made all my jottings digital.
They are now where there is no shelter,
and I'm way up high in a tree.

— Matthew Freeman


Love Knows No Divide

In the shelter of our own homes
My siblings and I reconnect -
Bridging the distance between us.

Digital tools make it possible
To watch each other breathe
Even though we cannot touch.

— Karen Engelkenjonn 4/24/2020



The distance between a wince and a sigh
of satisfaction is a thousand miles to my barefoot
exfoliation, where I yoga-breathe sunshine,
exhale tension, stroll with pleasure, expose naked
emotion, and moisturize with tears of joy.
Today I will shelter in place, take a digital stroll
on a live beach cam, and reconcile to my remote location.

— Linda O'Connell


Pass me the remote
So I can enter
My digital shelter
And breathe at a distance
From reality

— Mason A.


shelter in place
keeping our distance helps
nature breathe again
digital tech helps us command
remote-control animals

— John J. Han


i long 2 breathe your exhale
savor our warm embrace
just leaning n2 your sacred shelter
digital or remote

— Cheryl D. S. Walker


Go the Distance

A tranquil shelter can be found,
not in any remote area,
it’s only a few steps away
to where you can breathe,
breathe deep,
breathe and relax.
To get there
turn off your digital life,
head outside, take a walk,
enjoy your surroundings.
Go head, you can do it.
Go the distance.

— Terrie Jacks



Breathe…..I say after masking
(I’m not claustrophobic, BUT ….)
Shelter……I’m always saying to myself
Distance…… whenever I’m able
Remote… I communicate
Digital…..the best way to get info
Living is just not LIVING!
So alone….

— Betty Springfield



At all



And for
Outside distance

counted by a toothpick

Why at all breathe
The digital land

— Ellery Saluck


In all this digital distance you're finding it
hard to breathe. You want to remote yourself,
change the channel of all this lonely,
take shelter in some carved out space for you
or some animal, whatever needs care the most.
A sudden something sweet: ozone, thunderclaps,
and you pressing into the hole, or a whole, and hope
for someone to find you in the mourning.

— Stephen Reaugh


Poem Not About COVID

As the young warriors counted, in the old digital way,
The last, desperate breaths of the great fighter Machythumos,
Who in a ruined, remote battlefield shelter,
Was dying before them,
They suddenly knew that never again
Would they see their distant lovers,
And their hearts broke.

— Robert Henke


if I could span the distance


the current digital ice
and a remote paradise,
I would lift my head
my wings would spread;
flee this shelter
and breathe the sea
of a summer swelter.




Doing digital distance
such shelter seems sustaining
breathe by breathe
remotely recovering

— David Bates


Distant Equations

And, again.

Breathing remotely within digital shelters, creating
distance. More + more=

— Billy Acree


Why are we so afraid of solitude?
life is draining from our limbs
through faint promises of digital bliss.

Let the heavens be my only shelter
under a sky blacker than coal
sterling stars, pressed in place
then I’ll breathe floating free.

Remote places are a salve for unknown sickness
and distance fills emptied out hearts, so go.

— Anonymous


When the digital
Is the shelter
And distance
Lets you breathe
The social
Seems like
A remote promise.

— Anika


Book, Computer, Phone or T.V.

Presented with a digital dilemna
but not thinking too much in this sheltered space,
I pick up the book once more.
Breathing deeply, I sigh.
There is too much distance to the remote.

— Laurie J.




Fortunate, we are, to be here today.
We have shelter, water, and food aplenty.
Our digital signal is strong! We follow the rules about social distance.
We're all set. Now, breathe and push the Netflix button on the remote control.
Pity that that's the only thing we control at this time.
Better than life as Carole Baskin's husband, God rest his soul.

— Kim Lehnhoff


The digital clock is a reminder of all the things young people are not being taught
How to tell time on a regular clock
How to read and write cursive
How to breathe without a phone in your hand
How to take shelter under an umbrella
How to walk a distance

We owe it to them to teach them

— T.M.Wilson


I am exhaling distant lullabies of 0s and 1s
Breathing nonsensical untruths and intruding in your
digital homes and channels and spaces
Scrolling. Sheltering.
All I can see are
Feet, hands then eyes— cosmic pixels for the eyes
fabricating fusions between remote and remoteness
earnestly asking
What else could come of this?

— Nicci Mowszowski



There is a shelter in the distance;
a remote cabin hidden in the woods.
A place to breathe, to finally be free,
of our digital prisons.
A place where love and humanity still exist
and community is what we put into it.
There is a shelter in the distance.

— Susan Lively



Sitting inside, only my breathing lays close.
Captivity oppresses but reigns unquestioned.
Pacing about, my steps tap the wood floor.
Considerations impinge desired tranquility.
Living within, the proscribed shelter shields from threats.
And newly, distant is found freedom.

— L. Dennis


Lean To

The remote shelter seemed almost primitive.
Some rocks. Broken trees. Corrugated tin.
But for the hiker, the cross-country skier, the distance runner,
This is the chapel in the woods. The sanctuary.
A respite from the weather. Or maybe just a rest. For a moment.
Set the journey aside. Even the earbuds. The last tether to the digital world.
Listen to the nature around you. Or the silence.
Or the sound of your own life as you breathe.

— Kevin Farrell


The news buzzes:
"Remote learning,"
"Social distance."
My mother texts:
"Take shelter with one you love,"
"Breathe--that's enough."
Her digital wisdom interrupts the headlines.

— Rebecca D.


Take a deep breath as you shelter in your home.
Keep a safe distance as you leave your secure environment.
Don’t lose the remote in this digital age.
Relax and enjoy the beauty right outside your door.
Be patient and reminisce of better times.

— Dave Brendel


Loving you,
Even from this remote distance.
I breathe in the sound of your voice,
A digital presence, if not a physical one.
You are my shelter.

— Pam Hughes


With every gush of wind, the tent took a deep breath.
The walls collapse and expand.
In and Out.

Surrounded by trees, the shelter stood alone.
At a distance from the digital, from the noise, from the mess.
The walls collapse and expand.
In and Out.

Finally, now she wouldn't be controlled by a remote.
At a distance from the digital, from the noise, from the mess.
The walls collapse and expand.
In and Out.

— Tanvi Kohli


Zeroes and Ones

Seeking remote shelter
Unable to take another digital breath
My mind seeks peace in the distance
Between the zeros and ones.

— c coleman 42420


While I shelter myself
From this pandemic
Keeping social distance
Inside a digital sanctuary,
I commune
With my fellow remote yogis
Together in Namaste
We breathe.

— J. Thomas


Ozark Aria

We sought soul shelter
Paddled up a remote river
Far from anything digital.

Distanced from the city
It became easier to breathe
Sun, moon, stars, sky

In the forest is my salvation
The moonlit wet frog orchestra
Split by the whippoorwill’s cry.

— Jo Schaper


I grew up pathologically sheltered by my father and his church.
That was the distant past, the pre-digital age.
You'd think it would be remote enough
But sometimes still, it feels as if I cannot breathe.
— M. Wilson


Breathe poetry.
All of this digital news
will leave you breathless
in a physical world
that feels as remote as the stars.

The distance will smother us
until we find air and poetry enough
for all of us who shelter here
together under one celestial sphere.

— Bethany J. Davis


It feels so ordinary, this new world we have
being home is now a shelter in place.
Safe is a distance of six feet or more.
Digital’s the path of human connection, still
all is familiar, on our screens and devices,
remote feels real as we zoom in to meet.
Is this how it was for the people before us—
living through cataclysms that plowed through their lives?
The numbers of dead make no sound at all
surreal to consider to the motionless many.
Days like dry leaves, fall one after the next—
and we who live on in life ordinary, we just breathe
and we breathe
and we breath
and we breathe

— Bernie Mossotti


analog blood poured over digital bones,
distance learn your remote anatomy.
i can't breathe! find me shelter
under the binary sun.

— Sabrina Spence





Headline image: Jace Afsoon on Unsplash