rustbelt

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Neil Hilborn - “OCD” (Rustbelt 2013)

"She’d lay in bed and watch me turn the lights off and on, off and on… she’d close her eyes and imagine days and nights were passing in front of her."

Finally, finally, a high quality video of this poem.

The mind of the addict is cunning enough to convince the body it is not dying. Houdini doesn’t have shit on an addict. He was able to convince everyone but himself he had vanished. Addiction is the ethereal art of forgetting that you are still here.
[…]
The difference between an addict and one who is drowning is the one who is drowning knows it. The addict will drink the sea until it becomes him.
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The first time I saw her…
Everything in my head went quiet.
All the tics, all the constantly refreshing images just disappeared.
When you have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, you don’t really get quiet moments.
Even in bed, I’m thinking:
Did I lock the doors? Yes.
Did I wash my hands? Yes.
Did I lock the doors? Yes.
Did I wash my hands? Yes.
But when I saw her, the only thing I could think about was the hairpin curve of her lips..
Or the eyelash on her cheek—
the eyelash on her cheek—
the eyelash on her cheek.
I knew I had to talk to her.
I asked her out six times in thirty seconds.
She said yes after the third one, but none of them felt right, so I had to keep going.
On our first date, I spent more time organizing my meal by color than I did eating it, or fucking talking to her…
But she loved it.
She loved that I had to kiss her goodbye sixteen times or twenty-four times if it was Wednesday.
She loved that it took me forever to walk home because there are lots of cracks on our sidewalk.
When we moved in together, she said she felt safe, like no one would ever rob us because I definitely locked the door eighteen times.
I’d always watch her mouth when she talked—
when she talked—
when she talked—
when she talked
when she talked;
when she said she loved me, her mouth would curl up at the edges.
At night, she’d lay in bed and watch me turn all the lights off.. And on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off.
She’d close her eyes and imagine that the days and nights were passing in front of her.
Some mornings I’d start kissing her goodbye but she’d just leave cause I was
just making her late for work…
When I stopped in front of a crack in the sidewalk, she just kept walking…
When she said she loved me her mouth was a straight line.
She told me that I was taking up too much of her time.
Last week she started sleeping at her mother’s place.
She told me that she shouldn’t have let me get so attached to her; that this whole thing was a mistake, but…
How can it be a mistake that I don’t have to wash my hands after I touched her?
Love is not a mistake, and it’s killing me that she can run away from this and I just can’t.
I can’t – I can’t go out and find someone new because I always think of her.
Usually, when I obsess over things, I see germs sneaking into my skin.
I see myself crushed by an endless succession of cars…
And she was the first beautiful thing I ever got stuck on.
I want to wake up every morning thinking about the way she holds her steering wheel..
How she turns shower knobs like she’s opening a safe.
How she blows out candles—
blows out candles—
blows out candles—
blows out candles—
blows out candles—
blows out…
Now, I just think about who else is kissing her.
I can’t breathe because he only kisses her once — he doesn’t care if it’s perfect!
I want her back so bad…
I leave the door unlocked.
I leave the lights on.

'OCD', Neil Hilborn
Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam 2013

youtube

Neil Hilborn - “OCD” (Rustbelt 2013)

The first time I saw her…
Everything in my head went quiet.
All the ticks, all the constantly refreshing images just disappeared.
When you have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, you don’t really get quiet moments.
Even in bed, I’m thinking:
Did I lock the doors? Yes.
Did I wash my hands? Yes.
Did I lock the doors? Yes.
Did I wash my hands? Yes.
But when I saw her, the only thing I could think about 
was the hairpin curve of her lips..
Or the eyelash on her cheek—
the eyelash on her cheek—
the eyelash on her cheek.
I knew I had to talk to her.
I asked her out six times in thirty seconds.
She said yes after the third one, but none of them felt right, so I had to keep going.
On our first date, I spent more time organizing my meal by color 
than I did eating it, or talking to her..
But she loved it.
She loved that I had to kiss her goodbye sixteen times 
or twenty-four times if it was Wednesday.
She loved that it took me forever to walk home 
because there are lots of cracks on our sidewalk.
When we moved in together, she said she felt safe, 
like no one would ever rob us because I definitely locked the door eighteen times.
I’d always watch her mouth when she talked—
when she talked—
when she talked—
when she talked
when she talked;
when she said she loved me, her mouth would curl up at the edges.
At night, she’d lay in bed and watch me turn all the lights off… And on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off.
She’d close her eyes and imagine that days and nights were passing in front of her.
Some mornings, I’d start kissing her goodbye, 
but she’d just leave cause I was just making her late for work.
When I stopped in front of a crack in the sidewalk, she just kept walking.
When she said she loved me, her mouth was a straight line.
She told me that I was taking up too much of her time.
Last week she started sleeping at her mother’s place.
She told me that she shouldn’t have let me get so attached 
to her, that this whole thing was a mistake, but—
How can it be a mistake that I don’t have to wash my hands after I touch her?
Love is not a mistake, and it’s killing me that she can run away from this and I just can’t.
I can’t — I can’t go out and find someone new because I always think of her.
Usually, when I obsess over things, I see germs sneaking into my skin.
I see myself crushed by an endless succession of cars.
And she was the first beautiful thing I ever got stuck on.
I want to wake up every morning thinking about the way she holds her steering wheel.
How she turns shower knobs like she’s opening a safe.
How she blows out candles—
blows out candles—
blows out candles—
blows out candles—
blows out candles—
blows out….
Now, I just think about who else is kissing her.
I can’t breathe because he only kisses her once — he doesn’t care if it’s perfect.
I want her back so bad…
I leave the door unlocked.
I leave the lights on.

7

A BRIEF GUIDE TO PHILLY, WHICH BEGINS WITH FDR SKATEPARK - PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

First Stop. FDR skatepark (pictured, 1, 2) is a homemade, DIY skatepark made by skaters and beautified by some of Philly’s best graffiti artists. It’s one of the city’s greatest community projects, gathering so many people together and embodies what it means to be both a skateboarder and a city dweller.

Stop Two. From FDR, you go next to cheesesteaks. This cheesesteak (pictured, 3) is from Pat’s, which is one of the more popular and touristy spots. There are probably better places to find a good cheesesteak in town, but, in terms of atmosphere, it doesn’t get much better than Pat’s (located at the south end of the Italian Market in South Philly).

Stop Three. If there’s one thing other than cheesesteaks that Philadelphia abounds in, it’s abandoned factories. Like many great cities of the northeast, it was once a center of manufacturing and industry; nicknamed the “Workshop of the World” for its industrial Delaware waterfront in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This empty factory with the smokeless smokestacks (pictured, 4) is located in Pennsport, an industrial section of the city that doesn’t get as much action as it once did.

Stop Four. A pretty typical Philly street (pictured, 5), consisting of mostly two and sometimes three story rowhomes. Most residential streets outside of Center city — whether North, South or West — look something like this. These houses are what’s left of working class Philly. That’s not to say the city isn’t a working class city, it’s just not working class in the traditional last century definition of the word (see Stop Three above, the empty factory in Pennsport).

Stop Five. The Ben Franklin Bridge (pictured, 6; view from) looks down Second Street. You can see Mr. Bar Stool, Christ Church, the US Customs House Building, and, finally, the Society Hill Towers by I.M. Pei.

Last Stop. (Pictured, 7: “203 homicides so far this year in Philadelphia.”) A reminder of a Philly plagued by crime, drug trade and prostitution. A bit of perspective from a local church into what daily life is like for a lot of Philadelphians, and how many families are affected by violence.

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Northeast Guide Chris Giuliano is a photographer and student living in the NY/NJ/PA region. Traveling throughout these states, and often to other places as well, he is able to see and capture a wide variety of life, and hopes to portray the way he sees the world to other people through his photographs. Follow on his blog, chrisgphoto.wordpress.com, and his website, chrisgiuliano.com.

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Michael Lee - “The Addict, a Magician”

"The difference between the addict and the one who is drowning is that the one who is drowning knows it. The addict will drink the sea until it becomes him."

Michael Lee, Rustbelt champion, performing during finals.

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Neil Hilborn: “OCD”
Rustbelt 2013.

This is possibly one of the most honest and beautiful things I have ever seen
in my entire fucking life.

Vista Grocery in Vista MO. Supposedly this was the place to hangout in the 1940’s. A roller rink was inside a barn across the street and next door was a Sinclair. 

Buy Print Here

2014 Thomas R Mason IV

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Danez Smith - “Dear White America” (Rustbelt 2014)

"Black girls go missing without a whisper of where. There are no amber alerts for the amber-skinned girls."


Our first video from the 2014 Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam. Danez Smith is now the Rustbelt individual champion, two years running. This poem should show you why.

10

THE TWIN CITIES – LEWISTON-AUBURN, MAINE

The general traffic bridges and two railroad bridges join Lewiston, on the east bank, with Auburn on the west. Strong as the bridges have been in binding Lewiston and Auburn together, there have been occasions when they have, in a sense, separated rather than joined the two cities. Many residents of one city work in the other, and during the strike of 1937, the bridges became barriers guarded by militia and police who sought to prevent strikers of one city from entering the other. Again, the bridges have often been the scene of pitched battles, usually induced by high-school rivalry, between the youth of the two cities.

Maine: A Guide ‘Down East’ (WPA, 1937)

The cities of the Androscoggin River, Lewiston and Auburn, sit facing each other across this lengthy waterway that runs from northern New Hampshire to the Gulf of Maine. Once the textile heart of the state, this joint community still has the bones and the buildings to prove it. The brick mill buildings mostly sit vacant along the river as they have almost my entire life. A few new occupants here and there, but it remains nearly unchanged for several decades now.

The two cities are not terribly distinct from each other and have always been spoken about in the same breath. So much so that they’ve discussed merging into one to save on town resources. Lewiston by itself is Maine’s second largest city, but it feels less like a city and more like numerous hard working towns across the country. You wonder how it still survives after industry closed its doors on it. Clothing and shoe factories all gone save one.

Despite being the second largest community in the state, in less than five minutes you’ve traveled from the center to the outskirts—where asphalt crumbles and side roads turn to dirt. Hay fields and corn stalks are plenty, now desiccated and pale, waiting for the weight of winter to pull them down. Next to you is the river which you can watch as it leaves town like everyone else did.

* * *

Guide to the Northeast Brett Klein lives in Connecticut and works in New York, but prefers small town life and his home state of Maine. Any chance to get rural is a mental vacation. Follow Klein on Tumblr at The Coast is Clear. His curatorial collection of Americana, rural life, other artists and ephemera can be seen on Tumblr at Tons of Land.

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Everyone should watch this video. This man is amazing. ♥