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

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

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by Chima “Naira” Ikoro 

for Bryan Snow; Happy Heavenly Birthday

But he’s my friend,
 Jesus must have said.
All the blind I have given sight,
all the broken I have redeemed,
all the deaf who gasp. their first sound–my voice
just for me to hear my
friend. and I loved every last one of those
who needed me, even before
and if they never agreed.
But Lazarus? Lazarus was my friend.
And there it was; the shortest verse in the Bible with the longest sound;
“Jesus wept.”

Yesterday, and on your last birthday, I did not get it.
But today, sitting in my car,
in a parking lot off 55th,
in the rain, as my tears speak: but he was my friend,
and when I heard
he’d died…
I could not manage to just cry.
I wept.
And I imagine that the apostles and all the Mary’s,
seeing Jesus spread like eagle wings,
couldn’t help but feel “Yes, He’s our savior, our messiah,
but He was also my family. He was also
my friend.”
Less important, but so deeply saddening
to consider the pain a person must feel
as they identify the spot an angel was just
pulled from.
Used to be more than just a tomb to be vacated. 

My friend, I wept. You were my friend.


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

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Write an honest piece that challenges the shame that is often associated with grief. 

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.

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

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The Path
by Chris Cantele

The whispers of a gentle breeze
Movement in tall grass
Deep sounds of the ocean
Sultry smell in the air

The paths of us are many
The depths of our sorrow profound
The songs of our joy amazing
The light of our dreams brilliant

Would you share parts of my path?
Would you laugh and cry with me?
Would you breathe the silence between us?
Just take my hand, touch me.

Let’s see

Chris Cantele is a poet from South Loop. You can find him on Instagram @cantele3!


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