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.  

Hiding Places
by Chima “Naira” Ikoro

and I looked everywhere for those jeans; 
the only pair of jeans that really made me feel like a girl; 
the tomboy’s redemption; my path to a femininity that fit. 
I liked dresses. They did not like me back. 
I told them to take a number and get in line.

Dug through every pile of clothes and every drawer and scanned every hanging garment searched my brothers room mommy and daddy’s dresser the coat closet by the door every basket in the laundry room the lint trap behind the washer and then the basement. 

all over. everywhere.

there are so many places to hide here.

we should really get rid of some of this stuff.

I’m pretty sure I thought I found them, 
but I wasn’t certain—for some reason they didn’t look the same. 
maybe they got washed wrong, or dried wrong. 
maybe I never really knew what those jeans looked like.
maybe I needed a new pair anyway. 

Never found another pair like them. 
I’ve worn a lot of jeans that made me feel 
like someone my crush would call cute 
since then. 
Found out I don’t really care.

✶ ✶ ✶ ✶


Do you live in what makes you feel safe, or do you find yourself hiding there? 

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.

✶ ✶ ✶ ✶

Featured below is a reader response to a previous prompt. The last poem and prompt can be found here

by Kae Osei
after Invictus by William Henley

fear is crippling
and stasis
is a thief.

my hands may be ragged
and voice hoarse,
but hope hangs low from sallows—
and so my new groove:

when I awake in the dawn
with the yearn to do,
I blaze war on stagnation;
peace be my muse.

when times were thundering 
with unrecognizable defeat,
the insurmountable suffering
I say this too, I will beat.

in the face it all,
I hold myself close.
keep my head in the clouds,
get my sunshine dose.

looking at life lacquered,
speak of milk & honey.
find reasons to sing, holla,
shriek, & make funny.

& to the Black Stars, 
who always guide us home,
Black as the abyss I sprung from;
I thank you for my restless soul.

✶ ✶ ✶ ✶

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1 Comment

  1. The multitude of feelings expressed in New Groove/Lodestar is something I relate to very much. Thank you.

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