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

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

The Other Side
by Chima “Naira” Ikoro

If you are reading this, congratulations, you made it. 
Or you didn’t, and you’re a nosy ghost 
peering over the shoulder of a person holding a newspaper 
or scrolling on their phone. Either way, 
the odds have been defied. 
They say that ghosts can’t read but I’ve seen odder things. 
Said chickens can’t fly but 
maybe they only do it when no one is looking. 
I heard both chickens and ghosts 
are just trying to get to the other side. 
Heard the same about you, too. You 
kept waking up even when you didn’t want to,
good thing you have no control over that, 
but I’m still here to congratulate you. 
God chose to wake you up and you 
have managed not to cancel that order. Or 
you tried but His card already went through. Or 
you tried to place an order of your own and your card declined. 
Congratulations, you are broke, so all there is left to be is fixed. 
We’ve tried everything else. Congratulations, 
you could tell the chickens and ghosts and the warm face of any pillow 
about all types of other sides. Like the time that thing happened, 
or all those things happened, 
and you just kept waking up every day 
because sometimes it’s all you could do. 
You continually met the other side of days and weeks and months 
until they all ran out,
until you reached here, on the other side of another year. 
Congratulations. Congratulations. Congratulations. 

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Chima Ikoro is the Weekly’s Community Builder.

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“come celebrate with me that everyday something has tried to kill me and has failed.” – Lucille Clifton, won’t you celebrate with me.

Take a moment to write a piece in celebration of your continued survival. 

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

I Don’t Want to Sit at the Bar Tonight
by Shivani Kumar

Let me tie my hairs back slick, pull 
my sleeves up tight because I’m in the business
of undoing my days, loving on myself, taking sweet time. 
On the clock, I turn water into wine, melt sharp 
red onion slivers and tart lemon slices, rind and all, 
into jammy candy sticky on all ten of my brown fingers. 
Settle a sizzle of Sunday chicken in my cauldon. 
I’m brewing magic 
in my kitchen, in my home, in my world. In your mind 
I say yes to pulling up stools at the mahogany bar — 
we can do the chophouse on the cheap sneaky
you say. This time, I say no. I say I’m in my Sunday 
best believe I’m wearing my grandmother’s gold. 
This time, I say no you see, I’m taking myself 
for a night in my kitchen, in my home, in my world 
sipping on my homegrown, new town company. 
Let me set the scene, table set with my clearance porcelain, 
thrift store crystal holding candles raging a welcome. 
This time, I say no you must see I am the guest, 
the host, the lover, the joint lighter, the finisher, 
the seducer, the gentleman, the I’ll get your ass back
sweet talker. This time, I say no you best believe 
I’m lighting the damn candles where I live and burn.


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