1. Dispensary Disparity
  2. Active Stoners
  3. Big Business Runs Illinois Cannabis
  4. ‘Mamá, Solo Es Un Florero’
  5. Corredores que fuman cannabis
  6. The Rotation
  7. Scrapbookers Spark Creativity and Joints

What is a rotation if not an exchange? This special installment of the Weekly’s poetry corner features poems inspired by the Cannabis special issue

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 quantum realm is fried by Chima “Naira” Ikoro

rushed to everything and ran out of breath before i turned 23
my core memories are ones we all recall differently.
maybe time has begun it’s ripening.
all the places we ate at had one dollar sign on google maps.
no, it wasn’t even that good for real.
yes, we were just high,
i checked.

although severed from the joint
i still eat with my eyes closed sometimes.
in an attempt to escape, i accidentally taught myself how to shrink so small
every crystal of salt and drop of butter is a world of its own.

i’d close my eyes
and forget what was hard to look at anyway.
maybe it’s not that good but it is okay and that’s enough.
stopped feeling everything and started tasting it to bide my time while i waited for time to spoil me.
started spoiling myself
and grew ripe.

if i really escape i’d have to give up cheese fries so i’ll stay.
life is that bad but let me have a snack first
give myself what knees on hardwood never earned me

parted ways with begging but stayed low.
started crouching, instead, to pray
since i was down there anyway.

in a parking lot behind the mall somewhere i used to exist
i am hungry
excited to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings even though I’m vegetarian
and I fall in love with fries covered in cheese all over again.
excited by memories i cannot recall,
i close my eyes, this time, to be more present.
walking now, catching my breath.

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“Where did you find yourself? What else did you find 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

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

who’s bringing gas to the revolution by Nue Foster

Though i’ll lie my life down on the set cement
for every blk thing

Am i not owed one last
poem? One last metaphor?
One last bellow with my

You have taken & taken & taken

this time i’ll give you my body
who cares? I still win after all that
has been warred I’ll give you this body
a hull of thunder. You’ll take
& take what I have given
you always.
Now there are grenade fragments
sleeping soundly in the garden I die
and my body blooms a lemon tree budding
sharp fruit ready to kill
I die and my mind moves to it’s springtime
and yellow questions bloom.
What life will my last laugh blossom into? Will it
have children? Will it be grand? Mother?
You die.
They turn you into cold stone
under a southern sun. When I go
I want my lips to be occupied with love
I want to kiss my home before I make my return
before im buried
in everything I’ve ever smoked.
I split an atom in both
lungs right before each and every duel.

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My Cousin Lonnie by Magdalena/Izzy Garcia

He said the morning the woman
who raised him transitioned
there was a world he knew and now he didn’t
the force of her love a bomb detonated
our world painted gray in the ashes

There is a system that organizes our lives–
you cannot measure the loss of relationships late formed because there’s a system that picks
and has decided time is the price
to pay

For the man with a little bundle
nested in his pocket, a way of living to make a living
ease the heavy lifting
hand becomes a cradle
swishers wrinkle like we will
if we are blessed

Smoke sprouts
words web out of us
my cousin Lonnie tells me about his father
a man surviving substance misuse
a man i’ve never met a man i probably never will

That’s what time misused does

A man in a cage
splinters all over
fractions him robbed
He says, he says: the 1st hit was too much
and the next will never be enough

A warning
We swim in the clutches of self medication
A wound that reaches past and beyond us
How open palm makes fist

Theres a saying in spanish
I don’t believe in

god chokes but he does not strangle.
maybe it’s the god, i don’t believe in
mercy is not restraint

I tell Lonnie people don’t understand bud.
Lonnie says people forget it’s
a ritual.

Lonnie and I, years have
We stand in rotation
with my brother, my cousin Zi and
my mother outside my nieces’
birthday party
mint king palm, passed
as a token
hands remembering years we
didn’t spend shared


Lighter feels like some prayer we lost the words to Cherry anointment
The white wisps carried away marking us all present

This is how we spend our time together
Returning from everything that refused us
Rolling up a ritual

We don’t say, you’ve been gone too long
We smoke
I’m glad you’re here

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Chima Ikoro is the Weekly’s Community Builder.

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