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.

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So You’re Dating a Girl From Chicago… by Chima “Naira” Ikoro

there go your lil girlfriend – an attempt to discover if you are single.

bro – a form of endearment.

g – the highest form of endearment.

you irritatin’ – i am falling for you.

i’m not finna play witchu bro – i possess a vast amount of socio-emotional intelligence and can see past your facade.

naw, his ass be tweakin’. (said to an inquiring friend) – i’m unsure of where we stand due to his lack of communication or general behavior, thus i am losing hope.

put that on some – i need an oath to ensure i can trust you.

you good?? – do i need to reconsider this romantic exchange?

i’m coolin’. – i’m taking a step back from this romantic exchange, or i am lowering my expectations.

you good. – i am nullifying this romantic exchange.

naw i’m good. (preceded by laughter) – i’ve already started talking to your friend.

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“Write a ‘translation’/glossary for emotions you often feel but cannot explain.”

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 response to a previous prompt from a reader. The last poem and prompt can be found online.

See by Isi Frank Ativie

See the Black man living in this American society which is so-called “The greatest country in the world.”

See the Black man running away from this society that is butchering his soul, heart, confidence, and spirit with a razor-sharp blade.

See the Black man searching for strong love. He is searching for it while wandering around so high in the sky like a dove.

See the Black man running from the life of hell. An unpleasant experience he knows too well.

See the Black man searching for a life that is nothing but fair. A life that is nice and cool like a breath of fresh air.

See the Black man recovering from a long period of pain. A tedious feeling that has been driving him insane.

See the Black man seeking chances of hope to live a brighter day, although that same hope tends to eventually fade away.

See the Black man who devotes his time to protecting anything that he coins “It’s mine.”

See the Black man pushed into the cold of perpetual racism that is everlastingly old.

See the Black man constantly pray that his rights and dignity will never be taken away, even by his oppressors who attack him every single day.

See the Black man who can’t help but cry, knowing he will be stuck in a state of misery and die.

See the Black man suffocate through a deadly chokehold of constant hate.

See the Black man lends his heart to someone who continues to tear it apart.

See the Black man who’s trying to fly high to reach for freedom which is far into the blue sky.

See the Black man who is looking for peace, while his oppressors look at him as a menacing beast.

See the Black man who wants to remain strong but is still unsure if he can keep this spirit for so long.

See the Black man who makes sacrifices in his life, but is hit with a list of disappointments that cut deeply with a knife.

There are some people who see how the Black man survives in this society and there are others who don’t. There are people who want to know his struggles, and there are some who won’t.

I wonder how fair and equal this society would be, if people could take the time to wake up and just simply “see.”

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Chima Ikoro is the Weekly’s Community Builder.

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