Archives for category: Politics

Process Press is dedicated to poetry, essays and short stories concerned with pressing social issues. We currently accept submissions on a rolling basis.


We consider:

Short poems, no longer than a single page in length.

Essays and short stories no longer than 1500 words.


To submit to Process Press fill out the form below. Do not put your entire work in the pitch section – simply tell us a little bit about the work and we will contact you via email with further instructions if we are interested in exploring the work further.



Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807 – 1882

I heard the trailing garments of the Night Sweep through her marble halls!
I saw her sable skirts all fringed with light From the celestial walls!
I felt her presence, by its spell of might, Stoop o’er me from above;
The calm, majestic presence of the Night, As of the one I love.

I heard the sounds of sorrow and delight, The manifold, soft chimes,
That fill the haunted chambers of the Night, Like some old poet’s rhymes. From the cool cisterns of the midnight air My spirit drank repose;
The fountain of perpetual peace flows there,— From those deep cisterns flows.

O holy Night! from thee I learn to bear What man has borne before!
Thou layest thy finger on the lips of Care And they complain no more.
Peace! Peace! Orestes-like I breathe this prayer!
Descend with broad-winged flight,
The welcome, the thrice-prayed for, the most fair, The best-beloved Night!

Great piece by Marc Bookman on the case of Robert Wayne Holsey – the state of Georgia wants to execute Holsey today.

What I wanna say is
did you cry as much as I did yesterday

but what I say instead is
and I blush
and smile
and look down.
We talk about babies
and we talk about birthdays
and we talk about living for our children
we talk about everything but
our shared pain

and i think- because of my color

you have every right to think

i could not understand

and that even my tears

could not be the same.

But instead it becomes

a momentary effort

to relieve our pain.


“A Texas judge on Tuesday ruled that no additional DNA testing is warranted in the case of condemned inmate Rodney Reed, sentenced to die for the 1996 murder of 19-year-old Stacey Stites.

Since Reed’s 1998 conviction for Stites’ murder, new evidence has emerged suggesting that investigators failed to sufficiently examine Stites’ fiance Jimmy Fennell—a Texas cop who has a long history of criminal violence and is now serving a prison term for kidnapping and improper sexual contact with a detainee, who says Fennell raped her—as a suspect. The Intercept reported this month that several of Stites’ relatives now believe Reed is innocent…”

More at this link:

Lay then the axe to the root, and teach governments humanity.  It is their sanguinary punishments which corrupt mankind. In England,  the punishment in certain cases, is by hanging,  drawing , and quartering; the heart of the sufferer is cut out, and held up to the view  of the populace. In France, under the former government, punishment were no less barbarous. Who does not remember the execution of Damien, torn to pieces by horses? The effect of those cruel spectacles exhibited to the populace, is to destroy tenderness, or excite revenge; and by the base and false idea of governing men by terror, instead of reason, they become precedents. It is over the lowest class of mankind that government by terror is intended to operate, and it is on them that it operates to the worst effect. They have sense enough to feel they are the objects aimed at; and they inflict in their turn the examples of terror they have been instructed to practice.

My latest essay includes a 200 year old letter from Thomas Jefferson, religious tolerance, LGBTQ rights and a local university in a discrimination controversy.

In 2013 I was fortunate enough to have Tysheerah Johnson contact me and ask to volunteer against the death penalty in Pennsylvania. She was writing her senior paper on the death penalty and wanted to complete her required volunteer service with me, researching and writing about the death penalty as well as meeting people affected by the death penalty personally. When I asked her what brought her to have such a strong opinion on the death penalty she told me it was because her uncle was currently serving time on death row, for a crime she and her family insist he did not commit.*

Tysheerah’s family has put much of what they have into sustaining their family and helping their incarcerated family members. Leaving Tysheerah with a need for assistance as she proceeds into college, the first member of her family to do so. I am reaching out so we can help her succeed. While she has a few grants and loans, works as a hostess at a center city restaurant, and has been saving money all summer, there is much she still needs to prepare for.

From buying books, and class items to hotpots, linens and dormitory items, there is much a young woman must prepare for when going off to college. These include monetary items, but also shared wisdom.

If you can donate any of those, she would appreciate it. During the summers she will be looking for internship opportunities related to her studies, and contact from people in working in criminal justice would be extremely helpful to her. Every person who makes a donation can receive information from Tysheerah to update on her progress.

On August 10, 2014 Tysheerah’s family will be having a party for her and I will be attending, she is registered at Target for some of the things she needs. If you would like to make a donation to help Tysheerah please contact me.



Below are words from Tysheerah.

My name is Tysheerah Johnson and I recently graduated from Parkway Northwest High School. This fall I will be attending ESU (East Stroudsburg University) for sociology. Going to college is a big step in my life for many reasons. Not only will I be preparing for my future career as a criminologist but I will be making my family proud. In just a few months I will be the first in my family to attend college. Something positive is exactly what they need after some of the disappointing news they have had this past year. Like my father being incarcerated and my uncles appeal being dragged out. My mother has sacrificed a lot for me to be able to follow my dream and I would like to show her that it was worth it.
College would be the start of something new. I will be on my own for the first time, making my own decisions and following my own path toward a brighter future as an criminologist. Someone who analyze data from crimes to determine why they were committed and how to prevent these crimes from reoccurring. My work will consist of studying behavior patterns, backgrounds and sociological trends of those being accused of a crime. I find myself to be passionate about this career path because I believe that it is important to know why crimes occur. If we are able to read people and understand why they do things we will probably be able to detect signs of criminal behavior early and prevent future crimes from ever taking place. I figured out exactly what I wanted to be while working on my senior project. It focused on the death penalty and how something so cruel shouldn’t exists in our judicial system. People should be allowed a second chance because the circumstances of each crime differ and in order to understand that we have to remain open minded and and try to understand both sides of the situation.

In order to make my dream come true I plan on working the entire summer. Every penny earned will go toward helping my mother pay for my tuition of 16,000 a year. To help get everything I need for living on my own I will have a trunk party to get as much as possible to help shorten the list of things I need to buy. As for my tuition I plan on taking out a small loan to help cover the cost of my payment plan.

These next four years of my life will determine the rest of my life and hopefully everything turns out for the best.


*Because of the sensitivity of the issue, Tysheerah and her family do not want to publicly name her uncle for this purpose (they already receive death threats) but the relationship has been confirmed and further information can be provided if requested.

Since an inhumane death sentence was carried out in Oklahoma on April 29, 2014 there has been much talk of Clayton Lockett. It reportedly took Lockett 43 minutes to die. Every time I read that I think about Stephanie Neiman, the woman Lockett buried alive. How long did it take her to die after being raped and shot by Lockett and his accomplices? Why was the suffering of young Stephanie Neiman not national news? The President, while saying he agreed with the punishment, said he found the execution deeply troubling and intended to look into it with the Attorney General. Was there a president talking about how to make the world less troubling for the family, friends and community of Stephanie Neiman?

As the family member of a murder victim, I think of victims first. From what I understand, the necessity of the law is to make right for those who have been wronged, to set a balance back in society, and for there to be finality. It seems to me, that the execution of Clayton Lockett has not achieved any of those goals. This case has inflamed the issue of the death penalty, it has set society out of balance, and those who have been wronged have not been made right or whole. More wrong continues to occur.

When I read about Stephanie Neiman, I am reminded of myself. She and I both played saxaphone, we are close in age, and she worked with churches as a teenager. In a statement attributed to Stephanie’s parents, Susie and Steve Neiman wrote that they were “thankful this day has finally arrived and that justice will finally be served.” While no one knows exactly when this was written, the language suggests it was prior to all of the media attention that subsequently followed Lockett’s execution. Her friends and residents of the town where she grew up in, Perry, Oklahoma, have said they have no sympathy for Lockett. A woman named Marilee Macias told an Oklahoma television station His little 30 minutes of lying there in anguish, if he was even feeling any anguish for 30 minutes, does not compare at all to anything Stephanie went through or her family.” 

Even when an execution is carried out ‘correctly’ according to the law, the family of a murder victim is regularly re-victimized. This happens through countless hearings, appeals, more hearings, more appeals, and much of the time the families go, to insure the voice of their loved one is not lost. The process for the Neiman family to find what they thought would be justice, the murder of Lockett in return for his murder of their daughter, has already taken 14 years, and unfortunately with this botched execution still in the news, it does not seem to be over for them yet.

Law makers on all sides of the death penalty issue are talking about how to proceed, including in Missouri where a man so set on hurting his ex-girlfriend he escaped from jail (he was there for domestic violence) to beat her with a hammer may be executed Wednesday May 21st. A Utah representative says he intends to bring back firing squads as an option to avoid issues with drug injections. There is really only one answer to how to solve all of the issues surrounding capital punishment. Abolish it.

Trials, hearings, appeals, they can go on for decades. These things force families to relive probably the most horrific moment of their lives over and over, and the legal system promises that if they do this they will see justice, but the constant reliving and re-victimization in itself is not just. When life without the possibility of parole is an option, this problem of constant re-victimization is solved. Once a person admits their guilt or is irrefutably found guilty, the families should be allowed to focus on honoring their loved one as best they can and moving on as peacefully as possible to their new lives.

When my cousin was murdered, the death penalty was not an option. The man who killed her was released into his town, the town where my aunt still lives, in 2010. The state of Vermont gave my cousin’s life a clear value, ten years of life from the person who killed her. It will never seem fair or just. Mine is not the only family to feel this way. There is a story I once heard of a young woman in Delaware, who jumped in front of her brother when someone set out to kill him. Had her brother been the one killed, the premeditation of the crime who have brought a capital case, but since the young woman was a bystander and not the intended target, since she interfered in her brother’s murder, her murderer spent maybe a decade in prison. I’m not sure of the exact time, but when the father of the murder victim told me the story, the man who killed his daughter and attempted to kill his son was already back on the streets. And all of these families went through the same: trials, hearings, appeals, and then paroles.

All states, and even the federal government, should be working from the perspective of restorative justice and protecting the rights of victims. Too often I encounter the families of murder victims who have been terribly disillusioned by the system of law meant to assist and protect them during their most vulnerable and difficult times. Too often the true meaning of justice is lost with process, the victims’ names are lost within procedure, and a life is given worth by those who have the least say in assessing that life’s value. It is time we start working harder for the victims of murder and their families. They deserve it.