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

This section publishes creative writing submissions from the public that do not necessarily reflect the views of the South Side Weekly or its editors.

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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The Bright Side
by Chima “Naira” Ikoro

One time—or every time,
whichever time—
I was rushing to get out of the house,
I hesitated for a split second,
considered bringing a jacket,
and decided not to.
Later as I ate lunch with my sister,
or walked through the park with my friends,
or traveled from parking spot to destination
I discovered it’s much too cool for comfort in the shade and I was
Not cold enough to complain,
just chilly,
the kind that forced me to rub my arms as if to comfort them,
and I kept moving.
At some point,
there is a break in the building,
or a gap between the trees—a sunny spot
that made the sidewalk hot.
The warmth illuminated the standing hairs on my arms and told them to rest
and I lingered there,
finally warm. So grateful
for the break from shivering,
I almost forgot I was even cold.

As I move on,
reintroducing myself to the cool breeze,
my shivering and I come to an understanding.
Even though I had to part ways with this slice of heaven,
I return from the shade with new knowledge;
It is cold
right now,
but the sun is somewhere back there behind the trees,
and, if given the chance,
Warmth is a guarantee, eventually.

Chima Ikoro is the community organizing editor for the Weekly. She last wrote about segregation in Chicago.

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“Write a piece showing gratitude to whatever aspect of life that makes you happy to be here.” 

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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