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

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

Every Third Tuesday (?)
by Chima “Naira” Ikoro

“Street Cleaning” is a myth. i know this, because i hosted a show
and at that show, my friends partner brought us 
snacks and stuff for the green room,
things from Trader Joe’s. Fruit Snacks. Drinks
I went and picked this stuff up from her before the show
and then i brought it to the venue and i put this stuff in 
the green room and unpacked everything, lined it up all neat, 
put a few in the performers dressing rooms. i didn’t really eat any though 
so at the end of the show, when we were packing up to leave 
i grabbed a few things, one of those things was a can of pineapple juice
it was the last one. everyone said it was great, and that i deserved it, 
the last one.
so i put it in my bag. and went to my car. and drove home
and parked on my block. and while i was juggling all the things i had
my pineapple juice 
rolled out of my bag 
onto 
the sidewalk.
and then slipped slightly under my car
and it was December
and the ground was gross
and i was exhausted
and it was like midnight
and i was really looking forward to drinking it 
and i’m an environmental studies minor so before you say shit to me about littering 
i was carrying so many things 
so i left it. there. and slammed my car door closed with my butt
and went inside.
yesterday. i happened to park in the same spot.
mind you, it’s March. the can of pineapple juice was flat as Florida
rusted.
still at the edge of the curb
just beneath the sidewalk 
unmoved.
so i would like to contest every ticket i’ve received for parking on a street
that y’all claim you’re about to “Clean.” this is not a poem. 
this is a draft letter to the Mayor’s office 
please let me know if it sounds good.
thanks.

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Chima Ikoro is the community organizing editor for the Weekly.

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Prompt

“What is something that seems relatively realistic that you suspect is actually made-up?” 

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

Love like a rose
by Lucy Walsh

Distract me with your intoxicating ambiance.
Bury me in your flaws and inspire me with your strengths.

Color me with kisses and 
let your whispers wash over me.

Until your stories and secrets are as familiar as my own, 
And the outline of your body is engraved in me like stone.

So that I don’t notice your tangled roots suffocating me when they crave for more 
Or the treatment you give when you’re feeling poor.

Our love changed like the seasons 
And we part with our own reasons 

This time together has been wrung dry.
Even if our hearts resist the goodbye.

Please leave me to heal, tucked away in my room.
So one day a new love can bloom.

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