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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spare by Chima “Naira” Ikoro

i have a lot of keys, which they say is not good for your ignition switch—
something about the weight—
i have been asked if i even use all those keys, if i need them
but i do,
i have
the spare key to my moms car, the keys to one of the various places i work—that place has 5 keys, but i’ve only walked through three of those doors—the key for my friend’s storage unit, someone’s mailbox key just in case they’re out of town but i can’t remember who, i have the keys to my parents house, the keys to my own apartment—those keys felt like freedom when i first got them they were an escape,
now, on some days those keys feel like they unlock another cage for me to step into i always find a way to feel trapped somewhere i can make a prison out of anything, even homes, anything can be a prison as long as you have a key to lock it,
i have
the key to an apartment i only lived in for a month,
that’s the only key i don’t need but
sometimes we hold keys for others; i’m sure the locks are changed but it goes on the same ring as my current house key
and she’d be lonely without the ghost of a place i used to live
keeping her company

as if keys can feel. as if their feelings matter more than the strain on my ignition switch,
and my hands, and my pockets, and my tiny tiny bags.
as if keys are a motif for having access to so many spaces, few of them feeling like home, but all of them more homey than my house sometimes—even my car,
or holding on to things that don’t belong to me
just in case anyone needs me to drop everything i’m doing
and bring them a spare.
my ignition will understand, we all have a hard time starting eventually,
i have a hard time stopping as well,
with taking brakes,
i’m always driving somewhere to do something for someone
this weight has purpose.
that’s why i have some many jobs, so many functions, so needable, that’s why i have so many keys to so many places and i keep them with me
as if i use them as frequently as the key to my house
i always find a way to feel attached to somewhere, i can make a home out of anything, even prisons, anything can be a home as long as you have a key to get in.

✶ ✶ ✶ ✶

The Weekly is accepting submissions for our Literary Issue.


“How do you practice and experience radical self-love, revolutionary thought (or action), or the reclamation of freedom and community?”

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 by <b>July 22, 2023</b>

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