Neil Hilborn – “The Future” (NPS 2013)


The worst thing about being naked—and then
being hit by a car—is that road rash is a problem for skin. Why was I naked
in the middle of the road at noon? I am glad you asked, imaginary other half of this
conversation! I have no idea! Some characteristics of bipolar disorder include dissociation,
hallucinations, and fugue states, so sometimes I wake up in
places I didn’t go to sleep!
So. There I am. Nude. Splayed out on a car like a slutty
chicken, and I’m screaming about the government conspiracy to take away my feet. Not my real
feet. Just my brain feet. I’m about six inches away
from the concrete when I realize, in slow motion,
like the exact opposite of a rhinoceros attack, “This is not how I imagined my life would
turn out.” When I was young, I broke
both my ankles jumping off a roof because I was sure a cape would enable me to fly.
My parents attributed this to my strong imagination.
Last year, my therapist called it a delusion. I fail
to see the difference. Also, I really can fly
and see the future and make stupid people leave
coffee shops with my mind. Forty-three percent of the time.
Sometimes I see people as colors. For instance, this guy
right here is purple, which means he just got a promotion.
Or a blowjob. A blowmotion, if you will. The point is,
here is a list of things my brain has told me
to do: join a cult; start a cult; become a cabinet maker;
kill myself, so, in essence, become a cabinet maker;
break into, and then paint, other people’s houses; have sex
with literally everyone who reminds me of my mother;
fight people who are much fightier than me, like
the cops, so, in essence, kill myself. I think a lot
about killing myself, not like a point on a map but rather
like a glowing exit sign at a show that’s never been
quite bad enough to make me want to leave. See, when I’m up
I don’t kill myself because, holy shit, there’s so much left
to do! 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.
They keep telling me seeing things that aren’t technically there
is called “disturbed cognitive functioning.” I call it
“having a superpower.” Once, I pulled over on the 110 freeway
and jumped out of my old Jeep because I saw it burst
into flames twenty seconds before it actually burst
into flames. I knew my girlfriend and I would be
together because she turned bright pink the first time
she saw me. I know tomorrow is going to come because I’ve seen it. Sunrise is going to
come, all you have to do is wake up. The future
has been at war, but it’s coming home so soon. The
future looks like a child in a cape. The future is
the map and the treasure. The future looks just like
gravity: everyone is slowly drifting toward everyone
else. We are all going to be part of each other
one day. The future is a blue sky and a full tank of gas. I saw the future, I did,
and in it I was alive.

100 thoughts on “Neil Hilborn – “The Future” (NPS 2013)

  1. "The future has been at war, but it's coming home so soon" sobbing at this point.

  2. This poem just got me so hard, like, I never thought I could even relate to a poem, what he said just got me so hard it makes me cry every time. The beauty in his words is just amazing, he makes me feel normal and he shines a light in that dark place in my brain. He inspired me so much. He is just so passionate, it moves me

  3. "I think a lot about killing myself, not like a point on a map but rather like a glowing exit sign at a show that's never been quite bad enough to make me want to leave." ouch.. that one hit me hard. with 10 suicide attempts.. i get this

  4. simly amazing..

    description is everything in my head every day…. thx Neil.

  5. He is talking about the worst things in life and making me so happy. The power of words!

  6. If you guys haven't seen his OCD on that is spectacular I recliners going and watching it

  7. "The sadness is my old pain under the new" this is why I'm still here, this is why I'm still alive

  8. I actually like this more than OCD (they're both brilliant) but this…this just fills me up with joy.

  9. "Like a glowing exit sign to a show that's never quite been bad enough to make me want to leave"…

  10. Neil Hilborn, you describe the emotions in such a generic way. The way one actually lives sadness, depression & moments of happiness. You speak your heart out and I love that.

  11. This has made me realise that I may actually be bipolar instead of just straight depressed..because I get like this sometimes! I mean I don't see people as colours or have awesome superpowers like that but I never feel quite down enough to walk through that glowing exit sign and get rid of my old paint.

    So I guess what I'm saying is thank you for helping me become myself or find myself or some sappy bullshit like that. Much love!

  12. I realized a few days ago how truly connected humanity can be. My kind words help a girl help herself that saves the mother and father and friends of her feel hope for once and their hope rubs off on their friends, and it keeps going. Kindness ripples through life and when I realized, I was brought back to this poem. "The future looks just like gravity, everyone is slowly drifting toward everyone else; we are all going to a be a part of each other one day." Energy keeps moving. It mixes and bleeds into others. We will all be one with each other one day, all a fraction of the energy in this universe. It starts here, and then moves to live amongst the stars.

  13. Just got out of the hospital for the 4th time. I'm fucking crying. This hits home

  14. "When I'm up, I don't kill myself because, holy shit there's so much left to do. 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."

    This is my life quote.

  15. "When I'm down I don't kill myself because then the sadness would be over.." damn… #Respect

  16. Does this guy just use various mental health issues as fodder for his poems? Something about that strikes me the wrong way..

  17. Neil hilborn this was amazing I have never heard a more profound,powerful,emotional three minutes in my life ,living with mental illness myself your words went straight to my soul and before I knew it I was watching through a river of tears , thank you this was beautiful

  18. Neil Hilborn, you are amazing. Don't ever let anyone dim your sparkle, no matter how dark or bright it shines. As if now I met ppl who one- got clean after your OCD talk, 2-who you just plain inspired and4th person, ya myself, and it's so comforting knowing other ppl and or even if it's just , well not just but you. …you make me warm n fuzzy with your thoughts of a shared alter reality that to some is unheard of, to some more is bonkers bit to me, it's warm and fuzzy comfort hope inspiration and motivation. Please, please please don't ever not be you! much love n respect!

  19. Those people clapping man. I know it's part of it and everything but I wish they would just jump out the window.

  20. "See, when I'm up; I don't kill myself because holy shit!! there is so much left to do!!
    And 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."

  21. Neil, I’m from the Boston area and would love to meet you. Your poems make me laugh, cry and keep me on my feet.

  22. Mate one of the best things ive ever seen/heard.. my mental illness causes me to just like not know how i feel.. sometimes i wonder if ive just made it up ages ago, or if its notnreal or ive exaggerated it.. and then i have a bad day, and its so bad inwant to die.. but im never gonna kill myself for because of the love i know deep down i have, and peiple have for me.. overall though im just waiting to die.. i probably wont kill myself.. but hopefully i can just be killed, get sniped, ornhave a heart attack or something.. something so my mum dont have to be hurt by how much i hurt

  23. Holy shit i just noticed its 5 am and I stayed up all night watching slam poetry AGAIN

  24. " I don't kill myself because then the sadness would be over" Holy fuck. This bit made my skin tingle. I've never had it out in to words.

  25. Hi. I just want to say that this poem maybe saved my life and I love it so much that I got an exit sign tattooed on my body so I have a forever reminder that it’s never been quite bad enough to leave. Thank you for existing.

  26. Have you ever heard of John X Smith? dudes sounds just like future and young thug

  27. If you think that this romanticizes mental illness, you're probably not bi-polar.

  28. This is actually the poem that got me into poetry. I’ve internally felt these same ups and downs for years and until I came across this poem I always felt so alone about it. When I get into a particularly dark place I always come back to this. My favorite part is when he says “the future is a blue sky and a full tank of gas”

  29. This poem has saved my life more times than I can count. Thank you Neil, your work is part of the reason that I'm still here.

  30. "I saw the future, I did, and in it I was alive!"

    That makes me cry ever time I hear it.

  31. I got that last quote of the poem tattooed on me today, along with a mental health awareness ribbon.. this became one of my biggest comforts when I heard it. Now it’s with me forever ❤️

  32. Ohhh, I have bipolar too. And the ocd poem reminds my relationship. That man. I love that man. Tell 'em how we feel and one day I will scream my own poems to remind 'em.

  33. This always, I said always, brings tears in my eyes and gives me chills. The message here is so joyful and beautiful my body cannot even stand it

  34. i use custom scented oil as deodorant it is cheaper smells better and last longer, don't for get the powder.

  35. Every single time I watch this, I notice something that I didn't see before. He's such a genius

  36. i've watched this so many times and it makes me feel so much better all the time♥
    thank you for sharing!

  37. How do I always end up smiling and crying at the same time with Neil’s poems

  38. As someone who experiences mental illness, I am in love by the connection of having mental illness and being “spiritually gifted.” No denouncing has your “illness” but recognizing the ways in which western medicine doe not consider there other spiritual aspects. I have had these conversation multiple time. I’m just real greatful for this ❤️🤲🏾 thank you

  39. “fight people who are much fightier than me, like the cops, so in essence, kill myself.” oh flaming hot mood my guy

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