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

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

my moms dating advice, as told by jollof rice by Chima “Naira” Ikoro

After Second Generation Ars Poetica by Monica Sok

i don’t know the difference between scotch bonnet and habanero pepper. all i know is that the first time i made my own pot of jollof rice, i decided it was time to reclaim all the meals i’ve eaten that weren’t spicy enough. my mom, watching me approach the pantry with concern, said no matter how hot she made the food i would add more before even tasting it. didn’t even give the soup a chance to touch my tongue—everything and everyone was so mild. when i went to the grocery store my freshman year of college, i decided that this time my food would meet my plate ready for me. took an entire pepper, plucked the stem and added it to the smallest pot of rice. 

(For reference, one scotch bonnet was enough to spice a meal for six, according to my mothers expertise.)

the pupil has not become the teacher, she has become the example. my food was so hot, i couldn’t hear. turns out i wasn’t listening anyway. but i ate the whole pot in protest. suffocated my stubbornness in defiance. i scooped and i chewed, and i chewed. i came up for air, and kept eating.

i don’t know the difference between scotch bonnet and habanero pepper, but my mother does. i ask her how she knows as we talk on the phone while i grocery shop. she tells me i’m worried about the wrong things. 

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Prompt: 

“Write about a necessary lesson only experience could teach you.” 

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

Losing it by Ahnika Franklin

Watch my hands shake,
The flame flickers the same way in
The sanctity of the pyramid of your hands.
The wind knows something I don’t.

Watch me,
Embarrassed, scrambling after
I’ve just spilled something, scattering
Across the floor,
Messy and embarrassingly uncontained.

Watch my unraveling,
This vessel of water, blood, and so many
Feelings is no more.
And now there’s a mess on the floor,
So impolite, messy, and embarrassingly uncontained.

Would you still love me if I lost it?
Left the mess of me until I’m ready
To be whole again, if I suddenly became
A shit ton of marbles spilling all over the floor,
Bouncing off the walls, sneaking under your feet.
Would you cherish every one?

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Chima Ikoro is the Weekly’s Community Builder.

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