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.


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,, and his website,


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.


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


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.



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 two.

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.

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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.


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


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’


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