What is the Rust Belt? Can we define it? - on a map, we mean - Can we circle in black marker, topographical green and brown, one mound, from Canada on down to Kentucky and say well, there - America’s sore fingers in old age floating, separate, in the pond, white and knobbed and wrapped around something a lever, the haft of an oar, the tuning dial to twist to Cavalcade, the body of the eel which just keeps swimming away.
You said it in a message - “Rust Belt” - and a great blank region was filled by old poets in corduroy better than their surroundings and if not better precisely then at least when they drink they drink in bars like smokestacks with hubcaps on the walls, with weak plumbing, listening to conversations, not having them.
Rust is something I know well: I feel rust (but I don’t wear corduroy). Rust like a signal ingredient all through the cupboards. Shot through, something you have too much of and could never want to write about. Rust in this message, too.