Borts Pool - West Side, Youngstown Ohio

I learned to swim here. I fucking hated it. The water was always so cold, and the bottom of the pool hurt my feet. Remember the rusty ass cowboy that was part of the jungle gym? Anyways, I guess you cant expect too much from a public pool financed by a city with a constantly shrinking tax base. Still, I wanted to photograph the place before they tore it down. So I did. R I P 

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.
—  Michael Lee
Keep Moving

I’m about to hop in my car to go see a show in Cleveland, OH. I’m meeting some friends from Buffalo there, and I keep wondering if I should stay in the city and spend more time learning about it and growing here. But another thought keeps breaking in, telling me that I don’t need to restrict myself with this idea of place. I’m a resident of many places, my bed just happens to be in Detroit. There are cool things to do in Detroit, and everyone should give it a chance because it’s a cool town on it’s way back to being an awesome city. But why not hit the road to explore another city for a few hours? Why let the illusion of distance keep us warm indoors? I continue to wonder if I should stay, but I don’t know if I’ll ever stay because of the constant whisper in my ear saying, “explore, no matter the distance, no matter the time, no matter the consequence. go…”

Off to Cleveland on my constant tour of the rustbelt.



Neil Hilborn - “OCD” (Rustbelt 2013)
“When I Say Chicago,” Nate Marshall

capital city of the flyover.
crown jewel of the jailhouse.
a town in love with its own blood,
a blood browned on its own history & funk.
this hometown of the riot & the riot gear,
the gang & the loitering law.
misfit blocks of dark skinned cousins &
thick knuckled Slavic uncles
who call each other their worst names.

what this country know about a rustbelt
dipped in salt & vinegar & sold as
marked up & rustic?

my city is the city.
not your close enough suburbs not
subject to the suppression of tape
& the tapping of phones.
how can you say anything about our blocks
& schools & children that you refuse to see.
you do not govern what you do not love.

when i say Chicago
i mean that first Haitian cat who could pronounce it right.
i don’t mean the fresh out of undergrad looking for adventure
& a consulting job.

when i say Chicago
i mean the stopped & frisked.
i mean the euphemism of frisk.
i mean the beat down & tight cuff.
i mean the drop off in Bridgeport
or Mount Greenwood.
i mean the lessons
taught to an uppity one.

when i say Chicago
i mean the lake
(& i mean all of it).
i mean the candy lady at Rainbow
& the paleta man at Calumet
& the kids careening across the green at Montrose
& the jogger in midwinter daring a death for fitness.

when i say Chicago
i mean Cabrini & Stateway & Ickes & Ida.
i mean the city i’ll tell my kids in the past tense.
i mean the rents that sometimes
make me mean Georgia or Indiana or Dolton.

when i say Chicago
I mean the restaurants with no chairs,
just a window & a bulletproof sneeze guard.
i mean a Michelin star for all the ethnics slanging
their seasoned meats & language.

when i say Chicago
i mean my mama’s house
that was my grandma’s house.
i mean the neighborhood
that was our neighborhood
because fear left
& we said:
we’ll make a home here
& we’ll stay.


T Miller - “Frank Ocean” (Rustbelt 2013)

“The day that Frank Ocean came out, my nephew was walking around the house in heels, thanking me for not telling his father that he likes to dance to Beyonce.”

T Miller, performing for the champion Mpls/Detroit team at the2013 Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam.


Danez Smith - “A Sermon” (Rustbelt 2013)

“I’ve never known an orgasm not to be holy. You try to syphon a sweet name from your blood and not thank the lord for endless rows of skin begging someone to run, to seed, to harvest.”

Danez Smith, Rustbelt Individual Champion, performing during indie finals.


Emily Rose - “Joy”

Turns out it’s possible to have a lot of fun while performing a slam poem. One of our personal favorites from Rustbelt finals. Emily ended up placing second in Individual Finals at the tournament.


Neil Hilborn ‘OCD’ (Rustbelt 2013)

This is my favourite piece of poetry.

'The first time I saw her,

everything in my head went quiet.

All the ticks

All the constantly refreshing images

just disappeared’