This month, South Side Weekly is taking part in National Poetry Month with its own version of the 30/30 challenge. We have a Google doc with some daily prompts and inspiration that you can find on Instagram and Twitter @southsideweekly.  

We’re also taking creative writing submissions for our South Side Weekly People’s Media initiative highlighting work that shows how you’re experiencing life during the COVID-19 pandemic. It can be art that directly speaks to your situation or anything that you’ve been making during this time. Submissions are reviewed on a rolling basis and published weekly. Find out more at

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soft boy

By David Gaines


soft boy knows he’s soft

but doesn’t want you to think he’s soft.


soft boy not like the other boys.

soft boy has feeeeeeeeelings


& no idea what to do with them.

soft boy loves his momma.


soft boy sensitive.

soft boy cries.


soft boy wears sweaters

& cuffs his jeans.


soft boy listens to Fleetwood Mac.

soft boy switches to Biggie around his niggas.


soft boy is terrible at sports

& being aggressive in general.


soft boy claims he ain’t gay but feels

threatened around men more attractive than him.


soft boy cries.

soft boy reads books.


soft boy woke.

soft boy feminist.


soft boy says “free the nipple!”

so he can get a better view.


soft boy paints a picture of patriarchy

always landscape, never self-portrait.


soft boy wears a dress.

soft boy reinventing masculinity


or so soft boy says.

soft boy wolf in femme clothing.


soft boy evolved fuck boy.

soft boy cries.


soft boy likes your posts.

soft boy slides in your DMs, respectfully.


soft boy doesn’t fuck.

soft boy makes love.


soft boy loves to cuddle.

soft boy little spoon.


soft boy doesn’t believe in labels.

soft boy ghosts you.


soft boy sorry.

soft boy has been going through it.


soft boy makes you feel guilty.

soft boy cries.


soft boy victim.

soft boy cries.


soft boy cries.

soft boy cries.


soft boy working on himself.

soft boy trying his best.


soft boy thinks his efforts enough.

soft boy thinks his softness enough.


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A poem for every dying woman holding it together by a half-severed thread ~

By Sara Rezvi


I have words but I don’t know where to put them


I have silence but don’t know how to stay still


I have rage but only these smoky ruins remain


Shall I wrap them softly?

Swaddled in burnt ember?


Somewhere in the crawl space of my heart

I keep these words


I keep them quiet, I keep them safe


I fear their lighting

— a burnt match

A pathway winking into existence

To a smoldering anger undying, to worlds that I would end

with just one glance


Eternal, unvanquished, immortal


They say to women, find your voice


They say to women, find your dignity


They do not warn you

no they do not warn you


What happens when you do — 


the only infinity that exists is this rage


I can no longer remember the name of the dish my mother used to prepare


— the sucking up of juices of boiled bones


What else can you call

the dripping of

savory blood

down your chin

Except a kind of feral hope?

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