Not Just Passing Through / Michael P. Hill


Not Just Passing Through

poems by

Michael P. Hill

ISBN: 978-1-59948-933-9, 40 pages, $12 (+ shipping)

Release Date: September 7, 2022

The Advance Sale Discount price on this title has expired. For those who prefer to pay by check, the price is $16/book (which includes shipping) and should be sent to: Main Street Rag, PO BOX 690100, Charlotte, NC 28227-7001. 


Michael P. Hill is the author of the chapbook Junk Drawer (Kelsay Books), which was named an Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist. His poems have also appeared in Spillway, Ponder Review, Plainsongs, Gray’s Sporting Journal and Whitefish Review, among others. He grew up in Western Wisconsin and spent a number of years in both Texas and Washington before settling in Northern Colorado, where he lives with his wife Katheryn, their children Sawyer and Harmony, and their dogs Harold and River. More at

Easy to see why Michael P. Hill’s Not Just Passing Through opens with an epigraph by Ted Kooser. Like Kooser, Hill’s poems focus on observations of life’s simpler things—fishing, snowmen, garbage cans, eye exams—things that can offer great insight and depth when studied. The reflections, often in the form of a travelogue, are wise and full of wit. A collection that helps us perceive the world anew, what fine poetry can and should do. ~Scott Wiggerman, author of Leaf and Beak: Sonnets


Michael’s poems find beauty in everyday life: a bird in the kitchen, a middle school concert. With equal parts subtlety and wisdom, he weaves metaphor into the exquisite quotidian happenings we all relate to. The simplicity of an eye exam beckons the reader to travel back decades, when the poet’s eyes saw life more simply, finishing with an allusion to his childhood dog, that symbol of unconditional love we all share, and still yearn for. ~Holly Kelso


In narratives that pendulum between humor, poignancy, and a sweetness that resists sentimentality, Michael P. Hill’s poems never force, push, or pander—but “urge with a tender heave.” Here, you will find a voice that feels familiar, friendly, and wise—an invitation and guide “pointing [you] down memory lanes.” Walk those lanes a while; see them anew. ~Benjamin Cutler, author of The Geese Who Might be Gods



My dad likes to give me directions
for how to get places. He doesn’t
have a smartphone so he isn’t familiar
with the GPS capabilities of the device
resting here in my pocket, nor how
I can get almost anywhere with the tap
of a navigation app. But I let him explain
anyway, following closely as he unfolds maps
and flips open atlases, dragging a finger
along favored routes, pointing me down
the memory lanes of his 80-year-old mind
past country taverns, places where you used to
be able to get a great prime rib, and any number
of other locales strung along the back roads
of a winding, well-storied life, leading me
somewhere I could never find with my phone,
no matter how strong the signal.





The house is in a drowsy state
of mild disarray, last-minute
packing omissions scattered
about like discarded thoughts,

and the pantry is a derelict shadow
of its former self, yielding little
but lasagna noodles, Nutella
and a box of stale breadcrumbs.

Still, the dog is in his usual perch
atop the back of the couch,
and there are coffee beans in the cupboard
waiting to be ground and brewed,

so I put some water on to boil
and leaf lazily through the stack
of accumulated mail, turning over
the events of the past week

in my mind and filing them
among my collected experiences,
grateful for the opportunity
and glad to be home.





It’s the last day of November
and a gaggle of local Canadians
is strewn haphazardly about
the shopping center parking lot

like Black Friday bargain hunters
wandering around in a daze
after failing to get down here early
enough for the ‘doorbuster’ deals.

Slowing to a crawl, I steer carefully
through their avian obstacle course
wondering why they don’t just fly
south for the winter like the others.

True, it must be quite a journey,
filled with uncertainty, exhaustion
and the very distinct possibility
of peril, so maybe these odd ducks

are on to something. Besides,
given the relatively mild winters
and the availability of open water
around here, who can blame them

for staying put? We should all
be so lucky to be as grounded and
as content with where we’re at,
not just passing through.


SKU: 978-1-59948-933-9 Categories: , , Tags: ,