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

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

Where The Algae Grows (Snippet)
by Chima “Naira” Ikoro

my hands clasped around you like a firefly 
and suffocated all your patience
in an attempt 
to save whatever little light 
you brought to my face—
the buzzing,
a whisper calling me to flee towards the heavens with you.

musta saw me and thought “she is so beautiful she must have wings,
all of the beautiful things do.”
so what did it mean when you looked back, saw me still sitting on the ground 
looking up at you? 
either that i was not beautiful, or that i’m broken, or that angels and butterflies and birds are not the pinnacle of grace—
don’t roaches fly? 
won’t the rocks cry out if God decides we are not loud enough? 
doesn’t every still pool of water with trash in it grow moss or algae, or an ecosystem of mold if it’s left unbothered long enough?
won’t something come of this mess 
if i wait?

Chima Ikoro is the Weekly’s Community Engagement Editor.

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“What has waiting taught you about yourself?” 

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.

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Featured below is a reader response to a previous prompt. The last poem and prompt can be found here

For my grandmother
by Rosemary’s KT

She’s up when I’m down 
She’s in the clouds for all time
I walk the streets of this earthly presence 
She shows me the answers to the questions I’ve been seeking. 
It hurts to think of, it hurts to swallow 
The pains of losing her is too much to bother 
Thinking of her, on this day of all days. 
I’m glad that we spent the time that we did.

You wouldn’t understand
by Rosemary’s KT

You wouldn’t understand 
Just how much it hurts 
To have the vision of your life
Erased entirely 
But “it’s probably for the best” as people love to say. 
They wouldn’t understand 
How you’ve kept all these feelings at bay 
It probably is for the best, statistically speaking 
Heartbreak is for the foolish 
Even me, here I am, 
I sit here alone and I’m not Afraid. 
Brave enough to start again in this world of fakes. 
I’m not ashamed of my losses, not worried about my failures. 
I don’t need to worry about meeting the right guy—he’s somewhere out there, no doubt, it’s possible.

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