An island in the rust belt,
once perhaps a wayward
rhinestone jewel and now?


Some parts have seen
better times and some
have seen bitter times,…


…some hang around
like the ghosts of a
history of light and dark,…


…and some don’t see time
at all, but time sees them
and watches…..closely.


Like a rag or a bag snagged
on a stick in the river, some
parts moving, some standing still,…


…a city that seems at
times not to know where—
or even when—it is.


“Watching Time” poem and images by Johnny Crabcakes at A Prayer Like Gravity

Rebecca here: thank you, thank you to Johnny Crabcakes at A Prayer Like Gravity for these fine photographs and words. Together, they provide a window into the Rust Belt city of St. Louis, always changing, ever still. Please visit A Prayer Like Gravity for much more.

I’ve said before that my lack of talent with a camera has turned out to be a blessing. Wanting to feature regional photography here at Rust Belt Girl, I’ve turned to the experts–like Johnny Crabcakes; along with my fellow Northeast Ohio native, Johnny Joo, who specializes in abandonment photography at; and Michelle Cole, who posts her thoughts and photography at Intensity Without Mastery and who shared with Rust Belt Girl here and here what her life is like today in Lima, Ohio.

Want more photography? Check out my handy-dandy Categories.

Are you a photographer in a Rust Belt-ish place? I’d love to hear from you!



15 thoughts on ““Watching Time”

  1. Awesome vintage looking photos. I’m headed to St. Louis this weekend – really my favorite city in all the Midwest. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for checking it out! Johnny Crabcakes’ site, A Prayer Like Gravity, features lots of cool St. Louis pics. My fave from above is the one of the arch–looking so majestic–against that foreground of cars. Hope you have a great time in St. Louis and that you’ll post about your stay! I haven’t been to that city since I was a teenager–I’m sure it’s changed plenty in the (more than a) few years since!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Headed down to a Cubs and Cards game – that’s always a good time. I’ll for sure get some good Arch pics and some baseball shots. I’m back down there the first week of June for business and I plan to do some additional exploring. I’ll go check out Johnny Crabcakes. Thanks for the tip 👍🏼🙏🏻

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I live in Santa Cruz, an old mission town (the original church was built in 1791) and home to one of the oldest roller coasters in the world. We have the “Giant Dipper” that opened at the Beach Boardwalk in 1924. I’m not certain it would qualify as ‘Rust Belt-ish’ but it’s a pretty good place to live. “Lost Boys” was filmed here so there may be too many vampires for some folks.
    I like the photos you used. I’m going to go check out A Prayer Like Gravity. I appreciate the heads up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Santa Cruz sounds beautiful and full of character! I love Spanish architecture, and I love those old wooden roller coasters–the only kind I’ll ride because I don’t like to be upside-down. The photographer Johnny Joo has some really cool photos at his site,, of an abandoned theme park. Roller coasters are super creepy when overgrown by nature and falling down! Didn’t know that about “Lost Boys”–thanks for that and for checking out my post!


    1. As you can see by the comments, I’m not the only one who loves your photography. Can’t wait to see more poem/photo pieces on your blog. Thank you again–so glad I could showcase your wonderful work here!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would be pleased to check it out.

        If you have a moment and fancy, I would be very grateful if you would check out my site. Leave a like or comment if you wish, and if it strikes you, and you hit ‘follow’, it will make my day!

        Liked by 1 person

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