Author: Neil Hilborn
Publisher: Button Poetry
First Published: April 3, 2018
Neil Hilborn's highly anticipated second collection of poems, The Future, invites readers to find comfort in hard nights and better days. Filled with nostalgia, love, heartbreak, and the author's signature wry examinations of mental health, this book helps explain what lives inside us, what we struggle to define. Written on the road over two years of touring, The Future is rugged, genuine, and relatable. Grabbing attention like gravity, Hilborn reminds readers that no matter how far away we get, we eventually all drift back together. These poems are fireworks for the numb. In the author's own words, The Future is a blue sky and a full tank of gas, and in it, we are alive.
So I discovered Hilborn’s work after watching him perform The Future a couple of years back and the poem had stayed with me ever since. I sought out more of Hilborn’s work and fell in love with his first collection, Our Numbered Days.
I don’t know why The Future just didn’t click with me. There were a few poems that were good, the titular poem of course being one of his most outstanding pieces, but the rest of the collection fell kind of flat. Hilborn’s musings about depression, love, and loss are still present, such as in How Do You Sleep with an IV In? There were some that were significantly more hopeful, with reasons why to keep on living such as the desire to have children and finding peace with himself which makes me so happy to see his progress as he comes to terms with his depression.
I suppose my issue was that many of the poems were about Hilborn’s travels on the road as he toured, there was a lot of humor or poems that just didn’t make a lot of sense to me. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was reading which happened in his last collection as well but not to this degree. It’s still a decent collection that many will appreciate, it just wasn’t for me.
“When I’m down I don’t kill myself because then the sadness would be over, and the sadness is my old paint under the new. The sadness is the house fire or the broken shoulder: I’d still be me without it but I’d be so boring.”
Trigger Warning: Depression, Suicidal Thoughts