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
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I’m Only Addressing What is Permanent or Pretends to be
by Chima “Naira” Ikoro

I have lived away from my parents house for 4 years total.
I moved back with them one last time for about a year,
and then my fathers ego practically packed my bag and signed my lease
so I left again.
Plus, I can’t keep giving my mom anxiety about when I’m coming home at night.

I have never lived in any of my apartments for longer than 15 months–
my current place,
with a sublease shorter than a full-term pregnancy;
I have aborted and abandoned so many buildings.
I say i’m going home,
and every time the earth completes a rotation
that means a different place.
My mom and my sister visited me today, and when they pulled up she thought the address was wrong,
I said “no,
this is where i live now,
but my lease ends in less than a month.”
It’s hard to keep track—
one time, I just moved buildings.
They were so close together, I moved all my stuff alone on foot.
I didn’t disassemble any furniture,
I asked for help,
but no one showed up.
You know I’m long acquainted with making shit move all by my lonesome,
so much so
I am an object in motion, staying in motion
Tapping my feet, twiddling my thumbs,
fleeing flats and friendships all the same.

when an employer or a doctor asks for my permanent address…
I always give them my parents’.
My many apartments are my home, but that is My House™,
they don’t have to renew their lease.
They own that structure until they are ready to go
or until the bank decides they want it back.
My parents know a lot about committing.
They stayed married although they don’t even like each other,
because they “said so.”
I could never commit to a front lawn or a property tax–
it’s hard to see past all the debt and destruction that accumulates when you stay for the wrong reasons, yet for some reason
I still hope to recreate a version of it
that comes without the fear of foreclosure
because it is just that stable.
But I am so afraid a partner might leave me when I finally get comfortable,
that i keep at least one box still packed
just to remind myself
I could leave at any moment.

I want to commit like my parents, not just because we said so but because we like each other, too,
and we want something permanent
to address when we get

I love that House because most times
I don’t know where I’m at or where i’m going,
but I always know exactly where I’m from.
I’ll probably never move back,
but I know that when i’m sick or lonely
my key will always work. I just need
one thing that always works
and I’ll be okay.
All of my mail addressed to the same spot, received by my mother
and waiting on the coffee table,
because she knows I’ll be back Home,

Chima Ikoro is the community organizing editor for the Weekly. She last wrote about The University of Chicago’s division from the community.

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“Your mind and your body are your house; how will you decorate and care for them this year so they can feel like your home?”

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.

by Yvette Marie

She walks with a feeling of self-respect,
And self-determination.

Knowing her past.
Changing her present.
Controlling her future.
Let’s face it—she’s on top of her game.
She’s a sister that’s got it together.

What’s her name? What’s in a name?
That in which is her name is an essence that stands alone.

So what do I call her?
I call her Young Queen.
I call her my friend.
I call her…

Yvette Marie is a poet from Hyde Park.

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