31 | Joe Neubert | DC Poems

Second Place Winner of the 2020 Vallum Chapbook Award

In DC Poems, the sublime is all around. Joe Neubert’s new chapbook is a collection of snapshots from everyday life, where the poet is the observer, watching and wondering from a distance. With sparse language and precise images, Neubert records the seconds of the day before they’re gone:

“early March the sun
the streetlights the people
the afternoon men
playing checkers on a trashcan.”

Time and space are reconfigured—we are in DC, but also Siberia, and also rural Spain, and also the southern pole. Neubert charts these moments in a circular relation to each other. “Does the view from the roof on a monday in march / stir the cells of their unknowable individual / private universes,” he asks.

There’s no answer to the question, only a continuous search—for Neubert we’re all pilgrims. Through his observations and his memories, we encounter people, places, things, each within their own small world, each one a “plain miracle.” A father steals mustard; a woman grades papers. Clocks wink, limestone sighs. Poetry is a means of collecting the small sacred acts that make up life.

“To know the Tao
is to know the Buddha
is to know Christ
is to know Friday Night,”

Neubert writes. Time and space spin on, and we keep seeking, encountering each other on the way.

Author’s Bio

Joe Neubert was born in Georgia and is currently living in Washington, DC.



Table of contents

A bus full
Against grey of day and sidewalk
In arcs above a winter bridge
Three men, four men
was i was
The clock on our wall
All of it in miniature against the
The sigh of limestone
Right now
Wednesdays too
To know the Tao
The Tao According to Buttons:
somewhere in this city

27 pages total

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