Feb 14 2018

No Lady: A New Publication To Share with Incarcerated People

Many years ago, I read a poem written by a person incarcerated in an Illinois women’s prison. The untitled poem was written in the mid-70s by an anonymous prisoner and published in a now-defunct newspaper called the Chicago Seed in 1981. It really stayed with me when I read it and I decided to publish the poem on this blog in 2014.

No Lady
Prison didn’t improve me none.
There was ten of us girls in the county jail
five white, five black awaitin’ trial for sellin shit.
The white girls, they all on probation.
Us black girls, we all go to Dwight. Me, three months gone.

I’ve sometimes read the poem out loud when I’ve given talks about the evolution of the prison industrial complex. It’s an excellent text to use with young people to discuss what prison was like in the 1970s and what it’s still like today.

A couple of years ago, I decided that it would be wonderful to create a zine of the poem that could be shared with current incarcerated people and others who might be interested. Last year, Neta Bomani, a young artist who I connected with on Twitter, offered to help by making a zine.

Today, I’m happy to share “No Lady” with everyone who would like to make it available in their communities. I am particularly hopeful that those who have connections with people in women’s prisons will make copies to share with them. Both Neta and I hope that the zine will travel across the walls. This is why we produced this publication.

by Neta Bomani (2018)

Three things:

  1. If you share the zine online or elsewhere, please attribute it to Prison Culture and to Neta Bomani (designer).
  2. If you mail copies to prisoners, please let us know at jjinjustice1@gmail.com. We want to track the reach of the publication.
  3. I plan to make copies of this zine available to people incarcerated in New York State prisons. If you would like to help cover printing and mailing costs, you can contribute to my Paypal here. All support is appreciated.

You can download two versions of the zine below:

1. Printable Version
2. Web-Friendly Version to View Online

My sincere gratitude to Neta for their partnership and beautiful work. Please help that work reach incarcerated people. Also check out more of Neta’s work on their website and connect with Neta if you have paid work and commissions.