Pursuit By Sylvia Plath


By Sylvia Plath

 Dans le fond des forêts votre image me suit.


There is a panther stalks me down:

One day I’ll have my death of him;

His greed has set the woods aflame,

He prowls more lordly than the sun.

Most soft, most suavely glides that step,

Advancing always at my back;

From gaunt hemlock, rooks croak havoc:

The hunt is on, and sprung the trap.

Flayed by thorns I trek the rocks,

Haggard through the hot white noon.

Along red network of his veins

What fires run, what craving wakes?

Insatiate, he ransacks the land

Condemned by our ancestral fault,

Crying: blood, let blood be spilt;

Meat must glut his mouth’s raw wound.

Keen the rending teeth and sweet

The singeing fury of his fur;

His kisses parch, each paw’s a briar,

Doom consummates that appetite.

In the wake of this fierce cat,

Kindled like torches for his joy,

Charred and ravened women lie,

Become his starving body’s bait.

Now hills hatch menace, spawning shade;

Midnight cloaks the sultry grove;

The black marauder, hauled by love

On fluent haunches, keeps my speed.

Behind snarled thickets of my eyes

Lurks the lithe one; in dreams’ ambush

Bright those claws that mar the flesh

And hungry, hungry, those taut thighs.

His ardor snares me, lights the trees,

And I run flaring in my skin;

What lull, what cool can lap me in

When burns and brands that yellow gaze?

I hurl my heart to halt his pace,

To quench his thirst I squander blood;

He eats, and still his need seeks food,

Compels a total sacrifice.

His voice waylays me, spells a trance,

The gutted forest falls to ash;

Appalled by secret want, I rush

From such assault of radiance.

Entering the tower of my fears,

I shut my doors on that dark guilt,

I bolt the door, each door I bolt.

Blood quickens, gonging in my ears:

The panther’s tread is on the stairs,

Coming up and up the stairs.

Interstate 295

The vexing scene unfolds my brain,

yet my eyes cannot turn

from the destruction

and chaos spilled upon

the wet concrete

as a mother screams louder

than the sirens above her

and the spinning lights illuminate

her reality.

And I, along with everyone

else, slows

long enough to inhale

the carnage before us.


we silently stare with

anxious hearts and open

mouths. We

sigh with relief when

we don’t recognize the

twisted metal before us.

Moments later we

regain our speed,

rush into our lives again

and to our destinations

but never forgetting what

we saw that day

on Interstate 295.

Has to Be

Dangling from her lips is an unlit Marlboro.

She hesitates to light it. It needs to last.

For the entire day.

Easy for a victim of circumstance.

Her unwashed red hair is thin, matted to her head on

only one side.  She dons only a robe, literally. It is also thin.

Ignore the fact that she wears only one slipper as it serves

no purpose anyway.

It is filthy and worn so much that the rubber on the heel is gone, revealing

a sheer piece of pink terry cloth, or is it peach? Perhaps once.

The dog has stolen the other one, taken it to his favorite spot under the

leafy oak where grass is only a memory.

He chews it viciously, knowing it won’t fill his empty belly

but gnaws at it earnestly anyway.

As the sun passes overhead the woman sighs

and shifts her weight

in the broken plastic Adirondack, revealing sweat marks on

her back and between her legs.

She takes a slow pull from her

warm beer and begins

the tedious task of waiting

for the lottery numbers to be announced on

the AM Radio her old man

found in the garbage bin outside

Len’s party store last Tuesday.

It’s her 53rd birthday.

Considering she has five kids and is on

her third marriage she’s certain today

is her lucky day, has to be. Just has to be.

Rent on the mobile home is way past due.

Mike Jr. needs bail money, again,

Frannie’s second baby is due any day

and her very last smoke

dangles from

her lips, anxious to be kissed by fire.

So, you see, it just has to be.


Crumbled concrete curbs

line the path we

stoll along.

Time tarnished signs swing

in the breeze as

we window shop.

New blooms spill

over the sides of worn

copper pots at the

cafe in the center

of town.

Together we recall

memories of days forgotten,

places visited and

find comfort in

knowing that while

we gather new

memories within our


Our Hometown will forever

remain unchanged.

Bread Crumbs

The trail of bread crumbs he left

were ordinary, perhaps Rye

would have been a better choice.

Commitment held her back,

unable to follow.

He cared little of this.

His life

was an empty bag, void of

emotional attachment, so he

persisted, but only late,

at night

when liquid feelings came to


in his thoughts.

Review of Confrontation | Spring 2015 | Issue No. 117

My preferred type of journal/magazine to review is one that is heavy. Meaning full of eclectic material that makes this reviewer want to personally reach out to the editors and congratulate them. This is not to say I don’t love a jam packed issue that sits weighty in my hand also, because I do!  In the case of Confrontation I am getting the satisfaction of both. The Spring 2015, Issue No. 117 has me as excited as a Harry Potter fan on his first to trip to Universal Studios because it is 185 pages of substantial material.

Founded in 1968, this bi-annual journal is known for publishing Pulitzer Prize winning poets like W. H. Auden, to newer writers like Dustin Junkert who is working on his MFA at Georgia College, along with a curious sort of published authors in between. That fact, as well as an organized platform and firmly structured style, I give this issue of Confrontation Five Stars and here are my five reasons:

1.)  Visually this magazine is well formatted with a well thought-out layout that includes five short stories, eight poems, one play and a section called Essays and Memoirs, which had three contributing authors. Smack dab in the middle was four full color pages with artwork by the talented and well-known poet, activist and artist Lawrence Ferlinghetti, whose piece titled The Birds, 1958, also graces the cover. To complement the colored pages is a very interesting non-fiction piece about the artist by authors Susan and Carl Landauer. The article was varied and while it provided the reader with an insight of Ferlinghetti’s very interesting life experiences, it was also sprinkled with facts about Abstract Expressionism and other premiere artists which, as an art lover, enjoyed learning about.  The article also does a supreme job of explaining the history of “poet-painters” and how they flourished in the late 50’s and 60’s. Loved that there was such an informative article to coincide with the artwork.

2.)  Writers rejoice! While their submission process is still handled via snail mail, this small matter is outweighed by two things; first–short turnaround time. Response time is three to four months which is pretty good considering they work with a small staff and a scheduled reading time frame. They read ALL submissions from August 16th to April 15th.  If you submit unsolicited material outside of that time frame, your submission will be returned unread. I like parameters, most writers do.  (Note: International writers only are allowed to submit material though email at confrontationmag@gmail.com.)  Second is that they pay!! Quite handsomely too. If you are solicited by them to submit, you will receive a bonus amount. Here is the breakdown of non-commissioned publication payment:

$175-$250 for stories

$75-$100 for poetry

$100-$150 for non-fiction

3.)  Exceptional well-written content is reason number three.  Good content requires good writers and Confrontation has a range of authors in this issue, from well-seasoned ones with impressive lists of publication credits to newer writers that hold promise of garnering their own long list in the future.  Honestly, there was not one I didn’t enjoy reading but some of my favorites from this issue include Laura Budofsky Wisniewski, Haesong Kwon and Darrell Dela Cruz in the poetry category and Dennis Lang’s essay, Exiled: The Mystery of Baby Boomers and Suicide. Mr. Lang’s approach to the subject was original and informative. He set the essay up to be read as if you were a silent observer within the confines of a grief support group. The dramatic take on the subject, along with the different viewpoints of the participants, left me feeling compelled to reach out to each one of them in offer of condolence. The essay left me truly feeling something. This could also be said of the fine poetic pieces on the pages of the journal.  Having just recently visited an elderly friend of the family, Ms. Wisniewski’s poem, entitled Osteoporosis, painted a vivid picture in my mind of the trials my friend is currently enduring and praise for her courage to continue to move forward each day. The following stanza speaks volumes with poignant accuracy and feeling:


My wings are forming

You can see it

in the trembling of my hands


I will lose my love

of the ground.

4.)  Variety is the spice of life and my fourth reason for a 5-Star rating. To juxtaposition diverse contributors with varied content was evident in this issue and brilliant on the part of the editors.  On one page you fall upon an endearing yet quirky play called Frankie’s Market, written by University of Maryland English Literature Professor Raphael Falco. This piece finds two friends, Abe and Logan, confronting the end of a chapter in their lives as the indoor market they once sold their wares to side by side close its doors. This play had the honor of receiving a staged reading at the Quotidian Theatre in Bethesda, Maryland. Then, as I mentioned earlier, your eyes are treated to the colorful glossy artwork by the talented Lawrence Ferlinghetti as well as a sad memoir by Karen Benning. The story tells of her mother’s mental illness and a moment in time that left Ms. Benning facing the harsh reality of her situation in the moving piece, Why I Stopped Asking. Wrapping up this issue is an excerpt from Martin Tucker’s 107 Confrontations, or The History of Confrontation Magazine, Up to a Point, which is a great read that includes some insight on Confrontation’s humble beginnings in 1968 and delves into how some of the issues evolved.  Note: This title is available on Amazon as a Kindle ebook.

5.) Without a doubt my favorite contribution to this issue is a short-story from author and MFA Candidate at Rutgers/Newark, Nick Fuller Googins.  His story, Furloughed, was all about confrontation and perhaps why it was, for me, the best piece in this issue. This well written tale grabs you from the beginning as you are invited not only into Teddy’s home, but into his heart and head as well. The story tells of his struggles to confront his past, the loss of his wife, his relationship with his son and maybe most fascinating, the destruction of himself.  The tale weaves a picture of a see-saw life where Teddy tries to not only justify his drinking but actually plan his day around it as he is furloughed from his job with the highway department. Mr. Googins does an excellent job of carefully showing us Teddy unravel with each ten second countdown. The narrative climaxes with a riveting moment, a near death experience followed by a string of “what-if’s” that has the reader literally urging Teddy to pull himself up and out of the snow and finally confront what he can no longer ignore. The story left me wanting a part two because the author took the time to connect you to Teddy and see him come out of being furloughed better than when it started.

To be honest, I could have gone on and on but I shall leave the rest to you as I am sure, like me, you are sparked to obtain your copy of Confrontation’s Spring Issue 117 soon.

Additionally, to those writers thinking of submitting, I remind you to be mindful of their reading periods and that there is an upcoming Poetry Prize this fall. The submission period is limited. Only post marked entries from August 16th – October 1st 2015 will be accepted. While there is a $10.00 entry fee for the contest, note that it includes a year subscription to the magazine as a bonus.