1. The Exchange: To Our Flags
  2. The Exchange: The Negro Speaks of Dryland
  3. The Exchange: blue is darker than Black
  4. The Exchange: Sans Fleur
  5. The Exchange: Blindspot
  6. The Exchange: Her.
  7. The Exchange: Lint
  8. The Exchange: Reality Check
  9. The Exchange: Caution
  10. The Exchange: Rubik’s Cube
  11. The Exchange: The Path
  12. The Exchange: sTREEtS
  13. The Exchange: Butter
  14. The Exchange: The Bright Side
  15. The Exchange: Concrete to Shoreline
  16. This Empty Cage
  17. Paper Machete
  18. The Exchange: Marketplace
  19. The Exchange: One Year Anniversary
  20. The Exchange: Sunscreen Affective Disorder (SAD) 
  21. The Exchange: Immigration & Culture
  22. The Exchange: Love, Street Cleaning, & Other Myths
  23. The Exchange: An Accent Enters a Room and Says Good Morning
  24. The Exchange: An ode to Oceania
  25. The Exchange: Happy New Year
  26. The Exchange: NEW GROOVE/LODESTAR
  27. The Exchange: Wolves, Strides, and Landslides
  28. The Exchange: Honest Haikus
  29. The Exchange: Foreheads, Haikus and More
  30. The Exchange: Softness, Water Bottles, and Movie Theaters
  31. The Exchange: Algae and Understanding
  32. The Exchange: we like it here!
  33. The Exchange: tag & waiting
  34. The Exchange: spare
  35. The Exchange: Marketplace
  36. The Exchange: some coffee
  37. The Exchange: A Scary Story
  38. The Exchange: Consumer Report
  39. The Exchange: Affirmations and Sunflowers
  40. The Exchange: Autopay and A Fast Summer
  41. The Exchange: Squirrels and The White
  42. The Exchange: The Taj Mahal and Rutina de Sueño
  43. The Exchange: The Garden
  44. The Exchange: Jess Taught Me My Body Is Trying Its Best
  45. The Exchange: Jollof Rice and Losing it
  46. The Rotation
  47. The Exchange: Definitely late, but here, and Doubt
  48. The Exchange: KonMari and Yoga
  49. The Exchange: “Unexpected” and The Institution of Dreamin
  50. The Exchange: Dating a Girl From Chicago, and See
  51. The Exchange: Un alma cotorra

The Exchange is the Weekly’s poetry corner, where a poem or piece of writing is presented with a prompt. Readers are welcome to respond to the prompt with original poems, and pieces may be featured in the next issue of the Weekly.

africans make fire affirmations on accident by Chima “Naira” Ikoro

the african tendency to shorten everything,
to scramble sayings and shape them to your liking.
i imagine this is how most of our proverbs are formed.
last night before bed, i take “we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it”
i say “when we reach, we will cross.”

and so shall it be.
not “we will solve a looming problem when we get around to it”
rather, “when we make it to whatever is next we will surely continue forward.”

i sometimes think about the threshold of life
how nothing last forever
and one day this skin will dissolve into the dust that birthed it.
i am enjoying a beautiful day, or sharing a meal and the reminder
crosses the horizon of my subconscious
a cloud
threatening to become a hurricane
brandishing a panic attack like wind
invisible to the naked eye but powerful enough
to destroy whatever comfort I’ve built to shield myself.

death. hear how it just sinks to the bottom of this poem.
but who of us can add a single moment to our lives by worrying
when we reach, we will cross.

and the church said, amen.

✶ ✶ ✶ ✶

Prompt:

“Write a poem that contains instructions for yourself if you are ever hurt or struggling. Use a repeating mantra.”

This could be a poem, journal entry, or a stream-of-consciousness piece. Submissions could be new or formerly written pieces.

Submissions can be sent to bit.ly/ssw-exchange or via email to chima.ikoro@southsideweekly.com

✶ ✶ ✶ ✶

Featured below is a reader response to a previous prompt.

Sunflowers by Alexa Harris

To find myself is
A dance
Late night tears
A breath
Sunflowers
And liberation
To find myself is
The courage
The power
To be,
Me.

✶ ✶ ✶ ✶

Chima Ikoro is the Weekly’s Community Builder.

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