To say I hate you would imply

a world in which I kissed more than your stomach. Look,

we’ve established that I’m a jerk, so let me say this:

I am a flat tire and you are a pothole full of lug nuts.

I am a pile of bricks and you are holding a sledgehammer,

which is to say I would not exist without you.

– from “Ballad of the Bruised Lung”

My therapist once told me that while I had more issues than could be dealt with in 50 minutes, I had a very solid understanding of my human relations and baggage and life lessons, and had obviously been analyzing them on a regular basis. Analyzing is one thing; to learn how to cope is a big bag of tricks with a hole in the bottom.

Instead of paying for the couch sessions, I wish I had just read Hilborn’s collection. The catharsis provided by the honest approach to not necessarily getting over past experiences, but rather carrying them with you, speaking of them out loud, and owning everything about your feelings is vitally important to the livelihood of, well, humans. The approach taken in this collection is  honest, if not severe, and painful only because he’s not hiding anything inside verbose metaphors.

I am holding onto some shit.

Neil, you just have to let that

shit go. Stop biting

your nails. Let it go.

– from “Chitin”

So many of us seem to think that we are alone on an island with everything we do. Fortunately, we are not. Fortunately, we have poets like Neil Hilborn to remind us that we’ve all been “holding onto some shit,” and we can all probably use a good bit of catharsis via Our Numbered Days to simply, “Let it go” – at least until the next time.

Purchase a copy of Our Numbered Days at Button Poetry


P.S. (because it’s important)


Just let that number sink in for a moment. Okay, take a breath. Exhale. You should probably do that a few more times before this next piece of information comes at you like a cannon ball:

That’s the number of times Neil Hilborn’s poem, “OCD,” has been viewed on Youtube as of this morning. Even as I type this, I’m sure that number is creeping closer to 10 million. That’s not just a crazy number for poetry; that’s a crazy number for anything on YouTube that isn’t an Iggy Azalea video.

This is just an example of the wonderful reach of Neil Hilborn’s words in his new collection from Button Poetry, Our Numbered Days.




  1. Abby says:

    Almost 12 and a half million views as I type this comment. He has such honest and connectable simplicity in his words.

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