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

This section publishes creative writing submissions from the public that do not necessarily reflect the views of the South Side Weekly or its editors.

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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Concrete to Shoreline
by Chima “Naira” Ikoro 

As a retired outside baby, I
learned that scraped knees aren’t the worst wounds. Now,
my tucked lips hold back tidal waves, these days
journal holds the rain that I cannot see
or take shelter from. But when I’m trying
to stay dry, it’s like mopping the ocean–
I make sandcastles on these curbs. Something
soft to play in, or get buried under.
Dye the white parts black, call it a candle
light vigil, or revolutionary.
These waves make sharp glass and litter soft, and
call it sand some day. This I know; what once
could make me bleed will become smooth, if I
make enough saltwater to cleanse the wound.

Chima Ikoro is the community organizing editor for the Weekly. She last wrote about segregation in Chicago.

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“What loving lessons has the South Side taught you?” OR “Who did the South Side make you? ”

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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The last poem and prompt can be found here

selective amnesia
by Anonymous 

i remember it.
fragments come to me
        in a nightmare.
at 18 when she called. tears welled in her eyes as she tried to piece the night together
        on the bus
at 21 when he placed himself between my thighs.
        in the middle of a lecture
at 22 after his hands had the liberty of meeting every inch of me.

moments of glee that are tainted.
mundane moments are tainted.

i remember some of it
maybe that’s godsent.

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