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
  52. The Exchange: Time Travel and Chasing Love & Ambition

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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Jess taught me my body is trying its best by Chima “Naira” Ikoro

and now i’m in the bathroom answering for my crimes,
visualizing the Lactaid pill that’s in the small pocket of a purse
i didn’t bring.

if anything, my bowels have taught me that everything will eventually pass
if you’ve ever had to eat lunch alone, at least you don’t have to worry about anyone smelling your farts.

“i am not intolerant. i am tolerating just fine!”
i say in front of a camera.
i wonder if my boyfriend is embarrassed that i’ve just told 214,000 people
his girl be gassy

i pray my daughter is born as shameless as i was forced to be.
if nobody likes you, it teaches you not to live to impress people
cause it’s never gonna be good enough anyway,
if i can’t be your friend i might as well settle for being myself.

at least being by myself gave me plenty of time to dance in the mirror, to arch my back
and shake.
maybe doing the worm is outdated,
but here in your room while your parents are working overtime, no one can stop you from getting on the floor and flopping around.

here in the bathroom
i’ve realized i am not going to recall this moment
the next time i eat mac and cheese and drink a redbull before an open mic.
i enjoyed my food and i’m not going to sleep tonight
and i regret nothing

and now i’m in the bathroom, answering for my crimes.
flushing in between sentences so no one knows i was ever here.
there’s a poem in there.

i will not let the fear of enzymes my body decided not to make a lot of
stop me from feeding myself.
i won’t let shame rule me, the throne is already occupied.

some times i make bad decisions,
but bad is subjective. and so are hairstyles,
and clothes,
and desirable skin tones. so are all the things
a kid could get picked on for.

when you spend time by yourself everyone’s thoughts are just suggestions
except for Gods—even still, bubble guts are suggestive
suggest you remember that being yourself means certain meals have to be eaten
alone.

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Prompt: 

“Write a poem about how freedom or sense of self manifests through your existence/everyday life.” 

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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