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

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.

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Autopay by Chima “Naira” Ikoro

I tried not to spend money, but it costs.
Opened my eyes this morning, realized I left the heat on and it costs.
In the bathroom to wash my body, turn on the water and it costs.
No tissue to wipe my ass, can’t flush paper towels or they cost.
Outside with no add-ons gotta be free, wanna do anything but breathe? Well it costs.
Would go for a drive but despite the mess they made of the planet the gas still costs (more, actually).
Went on a walk, walked past my car and saw a ticket. Costs.
Expired license, sticky piece of paper on a chunk of metal costs.
Don’t have the money to buy it, we’ll just ask for more money cause not having money costs.
Wanna contest it? Take an Uber to the courthouse, don’t drive with those plates or it’ll cost.
Might cost you your life if you’re lucky, or Black—these days I can’t tell the difference cause it all costs.
Forget about the ticket, keep walking, sprain your ankle on a pothole, now it costs.
Price of the sticky piece of paper on your car should have paid to fill that hole…I thought it cost.
Take 4 ibuprofen, could go to the ER but you know it’s gonna cost.
Don’t matter if you fell unconscious, when you wake up that ambulance is gonna cost.
It’s more than just a sprain, everything and everyone is broke and it costs.
Hold your emotions over your head, don’t let them crush you or it’ll cost.
Hear your family members saying open your eyes, don’t die please, it costs.

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Prompt:

“Write a poem that explores the daily expenses of life, and the notion that everything seems to come with a cost, whether it’s financial, emotional, or physical.”

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 poem from A Fast Summer, a poetry series and zine by E’mon Lauren.

Day 72: A Fast Summer by E’mon Lauren

an angel sent me a ‘888’
today. wealth & prosperity
is on my side.

in the irish spelling
of my name, ‘Eamon’,
means protector
of wealth.

in islam & arabic,
‘faith & time’.
and what is more
secure than
belief & patience.

i am of the age now,
where “my health is
my wealth”, has really
or fully solidified.

my blood runs clear.
my juice bleeds water.
my mind is in
working progress and true
order seeks balance.

this is wealth. turned
on its side infinitely.
disaster is only as pure
as irresponsibility.

and what is living life
to a flex. tomorrow may not
come, so imma shake
my ass for free today.

A Fast Summer is available for purchase at Dimo’s Pizza Wicker Park, 1615 N. Damen Ave.

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Chima Ikoro is the Weekly’s Community Builder.

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