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

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

dominos by Chima “Naira” Ikoro

Sometimes my dad would drive through this neighborhood where many of the houses looked quite similar. As my adult memory mixes with the feeling of a younger self, cheek pressed against the cold glass, falling asleep, or dreaming with my eyes open, what the buildings remind me of are dominos. Stacked still as poured concrete, gray stone statues.

Every year, the numbers on the buildings get swapped for the wide-curvy-minimalist-typeface and washed of their color. “Likewise,” says the neighborhood. Every year I noticed more and more, marching in like toy soldiers and falling in line—my father says “I watched Bronzeville change with my own eyes.” Came to this country before white folks felt emboldened to make laps around the park, topless or in their sports bras. Before a single goldendoodle peed on the corner where the Hammer-Palmer mansion stands. An article reads demolition by neglect, and I call it a catch-all. Translates to the city is looking for an excuse to level what they do not see as valuable, and I could be talking about anything…I could be talking about anyone…

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Chima Ikoro is the community organizing editor for the Weekly.

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Prompt

“When is change detrimental? When is change beneficial? Do they ever intersect?” 

This could be a poem 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

An Accent Enters a Room and Says Good Morning by Roy “Robin” Bass

Before I am named, before I open the day to my story,
I pull a parchment across the promised land. Held in places
only I can remember, withered away in places I haven’t yet been
born. An accent can be a war cry in one territory, and a shared prayer in the next,
but morning is always when light greets you in everybody’s language.
Some days I need a reminder that your language was invented after the wind,
the spirit that pushes the waves forth, the waves that pull,
as I hold onto something that will disappear, as I try to keep my cup empty while drowning.
No one drowns in an accent, but it can spit-shine you if you’re not careful.
If someone points to it when it says good morning.
The quiet welcomes me like only an immigrant knows. It does not laugh when I pronounce
hammock as ham-mock, salmon as sal-a-mon, or the ear as crucifixion.
Every day I pray the omnipotent speaks a 21st century language.
Still, I say hello I am however I can,
the way everyone is a poet if you read their body language.
The way poetry is the body language of language.
My name enters a room with subtitles for when the drowning tongues grow weary.
They wash me clean, so clean I become in fact I am an outline.
Until I am a smooth pebble to be placed upon America’s shores.

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