The Appointment
By Tom Mahony, Jun 14, 2007
I fidgeted in the chair, awaiting my appointment. Across the room, a heavily pierced receptionist babbled on the phone. A dog licked its ass at her feet. Seemed a little unsanitary. What kind of doctorís office was this? My neck ached. I could barely turn it. Bankrupt and uninsured, I lacked options until yesterday, when a friend slipped me a half-off coupon for a visit with Dr. Mike Bell. I scrutinized a degree on the wall. Mike Bell, DC. DC? What happened to MD? I looked closer. There. DC, Doctor of Chiropractic. Huh. Sounded sketchy. And the school was located in Thailand. Thailand? What had I gotten myself into? The neck pain felt unbearable. Had to be serious. Nerve damage. Meningitis. Cancer. God, was a tumor causing the pain? I rubbed my neck. Something hard in there. I should be at a real doctor right now. An oncologist. A cardiologist. Someone with a medical degree. From Harvard. I deserved nothing less... (more)

From the Editor
By Mike Smith, Sept 4, 2007
Happy Labor Day, loyal decomP readers. I hope this update finds you recovering from your long weekend barbecues and ready for the short work week that's ahead. Now, onto the issue at hand. I've struggled with how to write this letter from the editor for a while, as I'm terrible with goodbyes, so I figure I'll keep it short. I've been with decomP from the beginning (April 2004) and it's time for me to pass the torch to someone else. I've had a great time running this magazine. I've seen it grow from a tiny sketch on a bar napkin into a real online publication with a readership of hundreds, contributors from not only different states, but different countries, and I've even made some good friends along the way. Speaking of great friends, decomP's Staff Reviewer and Assistant Editor Jason Jordan will become Editor in January 2008, so get those submissions ready. I know Jason will take the magazine to the next level, adding his own personality to it, and I look forward to reading those installments. Jason's review this month includes a little more about his history with decomP, so please take a look. As for me, I plan on using the extra time to concentrate on my family, finishing a book I've been working on, and maybe even starting another magazine I've been thinking about for a year or two. I'll be around until December, though, and each month, I'll be posting excerpts from my novel, Tremendous Power of Concentration until the whole book is available here at decomP. Enjoy. And thanks. Now, start reading Tremendous Power of Concentration.

A Review of Haddon's A Spot of Bother (2006)
By Jason Jordan, Aug 14, 2007
Mark Haddonís claim to fame was his great debut The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Vintage, 2003), which centered on an autistic kid named Christopher Boone. decomP reviewed the book, and you can read our thoughts on it here. To move on, though, A Spot of Bother (Doubleday, 2006) is Haddonís second attempt at the novel, and at first glance, itís immediately noticeable that ASoB is longer and deals with a less challenging subject matter. Unfortunately, those aspects make Haddonís latest a mediocre effort. While it could be argued that all novels, stories, poems, songs, etc. are about relationships to a certain extent, this particular book is an in-depth examination of a familyís interaction with each other as well as relevant outsiders. The recently retired George Hall is an ordinary fellow who has his misgivings about retirement, but when he discovers eczema on his leg, which he mistakes for cancer, his sanity begins to slowly unravel... (more)

By Victoria Clayton Munn, Apr 5, 2007
Vertical coffin streaked with ragged red paint ó
inside awaits a small man, swinging
the rafter creaks and hemp fibers wear through
with the weight of a life and a death ó
wet wood, moldy scented air.

White waters frozen in place as we drive
through fingers of ice and bark that
drip snow and clumps of fear onto the hood
racing toward the ending we already know
the phone call that dropped stomachs to feet.

I remember I never said goodbye
we were angry and he'd threatened before
with a rope, a belt, a call for attention
he never got - Grandma, brandy soaked -
gave him twin beds pushed apart.

Lights flash and party-color the world -
the hush - insular silence surrounds us
I clutch my teddy bear with the floppy head
and try not to think about Grandpa's
last trip to the wood shed.

Victoria Clayton Munn is a freelance writer and poet whose closest friends are pen and paper. Her poetry has previously been published in Poor Mojo's Almanac(k), Boston Literary Magazine, Foliate Oak and edifice WRECKED. Victoria lives in upstate New York with her husband and daughter.

Iced Donut and Green Glory
By Jeff Crouch, 2007

Red Gun and Green Glory by Jeff Crouch

Purple Gun by Jeff Crouch

It All Looked So Beautiful When You Started Out
By Jack T. Marlowe, Mar 28, 2007
is a Sunday drive
with a painted paper doll
at your side, holding
an ice cream cone
that's quickly melting away

and you're sitting
behind the wheel of a car
that bursts into flame
while driving along
a rotting pier, the end
of the pier coming up fast
salivating sharks waiting
in the water below

and just as the car plunges
into the bay, you hear
the radio announcer
call out
the winning numbers
that are now burning
on the lottery ticket
folded up
in your front coat pocket.

and that night, the stars appear
like yellow roses spilling out
across the sky, spelling out
your last unanswered question:

whatever happened to ever after?

Jack T. Marlowe is a gentleman rogue from Dallas, Texas. A writer of poetry and fiction, he is also the host of the Outlaws of the Spoken Word open mic. Jack's online stomping ground can be found here.

lookee th' klinker
By J.D. Nelson, Jul 10, 2007
top hat n web feet,
money breath
like machine love
for b&w penguin text,
something on an old TV set --
patterns like marmalade stitching
and goldenrod quail,
pockets of lint and sugar --
going to the store with no money
and plenty of extra pockets
for things I find
on the beach at sunset.

J. D. Nelson (b. 1971) experiments with words and sound in his subterranean laboratory. His bizarre poems and experimental poetic texts have appeared in many small press and underground publications, both print and online. J. D. lives in Colorado, USA. Visit his website for more information, links to his published work, and audio recordings.

Sandy Mush
By Kevin Barcellos, Apr 3, 2007
Waiting for my
release from
this Merced
facility, I play
chess. And
on television
I watch "Cops
in San Antonio"
with my
while rolling
a joint with
the pages of
chapter twenty-five,
verses one
through four.

Kevin Barcellos is obviously a poet.

Bad Karma
By Jonathan Hayes, Apr 3, 2007
Itís March Madness on TV tonight:
college basketball and gambling pools.

A couple puffs of purple and some beers.

Doing something (?) at the desk,
standing in boxers with bare feet on rug,

and feeling something.

Looking down, itís a huge hairy moth,
with its stomach crushed open by my big toe:

its little legs still fluttering, and in between them,
are shameful intestines, exposed grey.

Brown soft dust on the carpet
from its papyrus skin crumbling.

[light of lampshade]

How will I clean this mess up?

Jonathan Hayes is the author of Echoes from the Sarcophagus and St. Paul Hotel. He edits the magazine, Over the Transom.

Duotrope's Digest reports that decomP was #4 in the Top 25 Swiftest Poetry markets & #13 in the Top 25 Most Approachable Poetry Markets before closing submissions for 2007!