Amazons review of Our Numbered Days by Neil Hilborn hits it on the head. He might be talking about love and heartbreak, but he is also dealing with mental illness, loss and death, therefore there is “nothing saccharine” about it. His humor is dark, self-deprecating and raw. Sometimes too raw. He is honest to a fault sometimes and rips the band aid right off. Even when there is no band aid on in the first place.
While accessible to almost everyone these poems are for certain not for everyone. He can be too honest, too blunt, too rough and too graphic. His use of language can physically make you laugh, cry and be ill all at once. His swears, does not hold back and punches you hard. He shows you his soul, journey and literal madness.
As with other slam or spoken word poetry, as I have mentioned before, reading it and hearing it are two entirely different experiences. To read Hilborn’s Our Numbered Days you are not bombarded with his rapid readings that reflect the emotions he is giving. But do not fool yourself into thinking it is easy to read him. I had to reread lines over and over. Let alone some poems. I have underlined and post-it noted pages. I have no illusions that I have any understanding of everything.
Enter Hilborn’s world with respect and love and know that coming out of it means you will feel something. Even if you have no idea what that is.
(Hilborn’s birthday is August 8, 1990 so I am using this as my Birthday! bingo.)