Age and Beauty Welcome to the debut issue of Spontaneity! Discover diverse words, pictures and music from newcomers and established artists which are all connected in some way on the page. Spontaneity is a creative chain reaction between prose, poetry, music and visual art – we are all about connections. We've only just begun; now – it’s up to you. If you are inspired by something you read or see here, then respond in whatever way your creativity takes, and be part of the project. Thanks for stopping by, we hope something here sparks an idea!

—Ruth McKee, editor@spontaneity.org

After the Fall by Jan Carson There was a line for the toilets and a second line for the sinks. She was not the kind of girl who could go without washing her hands. Given to chewing her fingernails and ill-inclined to sacrifice this small pleasure, she was careful to ensure they were at very least, clean. Read more

Reversing the order by Elaine Cosgrove

The object of my desire is a Renaissance man...
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Age and beauty by David Diebold   ‘WONDERFUL,’ I mutter as I consider the dark clouds jostling to hurl handfuls of filthy rain at our kitchen window. “I can’t find a hairbrush,” says our little girl from the hall, staring listlessly at the floor. I go and pick one up from the glass table two feet from her face. “Has anyone seen my locker key,” says the second eldest, prodding a pile of coats in a heap on the floor with his foot. “Have you checked your trouser pocket?” I offer, a suggestion met with a deep sigh before a brief, dejected search reveals said key … Continued Read more

Lipstick by Amanda Mason I used to love shopping, you know? When I was a girl, we’d go out, my mates and me, and we’d spend hours – hours – trying out lipsticks. Sixteen years old and we knew it all: the right angle, the exact shade to pick. You know how it is at that age, don’t you? It’s all yours and you’re fearless, with all the time in the world. Daft, really. Now. Now I look like my Mum, God love her. Oh, I’ve kept up. I look good – for my age. You just need the right products, that’s all – … Continued Read more

Breuge: two prose poems by Martin Burke You might joyously tip the limits of restraint into the barrel of excess where both are possible And the winsome housewives plentiful about the square where there are also dour faces to be seen Who walks out of the picture and who meanders into the frame and what is the connection between them and what are they causing? Ah yes, the possibilities where barrels and bread are rolled out for celebration So climb onto a window-ledge and watch the ad-hoc procession take its oddly shaped form Children dance to unheard music Nuns and beguines are distraught Steal a kiss from … Continued Read more

Still Life by Stephen McMahon The dead relatives assess my ascent and mammal snuffles of dormant daughters, beyond the stairs, ease my father mind.   A Great Grandfather, beard balanced on chest, peers past a journal. A dour dissenter denying the man with the box.   His daughter, cold shouldering stern sky and waves, half smiles through years. A sepia shade implying her hair flows deep red.   Her husband, pen poised, administers a glance and channels commerce. His beetle brow prefacing my daughters’ tantrums.   Between the wall of hard hung pasts and slumbering futures, I frame a moment that is also true and … Continued Read more

Effie’s great-great-great-great granny by Hilary McGrath   ‘Now, I heard you’ve applied to the Guinness Book of Records?’ the chat show host said, as the photo appeared on the big screen behind him. ‘Yes Pat,’ Sheila said, rearranging her scarf. ‘This was taken the day Effie was born—the same day as her great-great-great-great granny Aggie’s 111th birthday,’ she said, counting out the ‘greats’ on her fingers. The audience burst into applause. The baby, Effie, stirred in her carry-tot. ‘Isn’t that amazing! Seven generations of girls. And talk us through each of the women in the photo.’ ‘Well, that’s Carole, her mother. Effie was only a few hours old when the photo … Continued Read more

Beauty by Susanne Wawra There’s beauty in sadness He softly says As he watches her cry: The shiny trails of tears Against her pale complexion, Strings of pure crystalline The quivering mouth of sorrow Full with regret and hurtfulness, Lines of lip in a darling dance The eyes immersed in despair Open up a channel to her soul, Sweet as a storm of morning glories The shoulders shiver with spite Contractions move her entirety, Freeing waves of blazing energy She lets it happen comforted in his presence, a tragic outburst of delight. Read more

Age Concern by David Hartley Ry left her the spot in his will; made sure the company owned it and kept it safe, just for her. She never went back, not in reality, not to Earth-proper. But now Saskia was pregnant with her third and it was time to make one last trip. That was the place. That’s where she wanted to be when Age Concern came. She disconnected the suite as best she could and scheduled a valuation, giving the bots a few free hours of roaming in the manner that had always made her smile. Gliding figurines skimming over prime floor space, like … Continued Read more

Flesh Dance by Elizabeth Rose Murray   Peeled down to me underwear, I dunno what I’m doin’ on stage. Can’t remember gettin’ up here. Don’t wanna know what a fool I made of meself clamberin’ aboard, all skew-eyed an’ podgy. ‘Specially not after the last act. She was deadly. All white feathers an’ pearlies, legs up to her ears, the bitch. No Stumpy Joes, like me. Me dad always says I shoulda been a boy, coulda played for Munster. Swing band cranks up big style. All fancy beats an’ jinglin’. I start me gyratin’ – like I saw the feathery one do. – Good woman, yourself! – Show us what yer … Continued Read more

Bowing out by Marc Nash She sat where she had sat countless times before, in the harsh glare of the lights fringing her mirror. Fourteen naked bulbs showed her up in all her rawness – stark like a Noh mask. Fourteen interrogatory lamps burnt into her face, garlanding the looking glass, festooned like wedding arch colonnades – though she had only ever experienced these as scenery on the theatre stage. The lights were tightly focused, barely penetrating the darkness beyond her. Every evening her disembodied head floated in the mirror as she caked it in cosmetics. The glass had flowed, rucked and bubbled, like her … Continued Read more

Momentum mori by Korey Kelso Larry Schultz, owner of Shultz’s Fruit stand, is yelling at his eight-year-old daughter, Lucy, for giving free “product” to the homeless. Lucy, unsure how to handle her typically docile father’s strange reaction, raises a trembling hand to brush the hair from her face. Seeing the fear in Lucy’s eyes, Larry Schultz attempts to swallow his anger, but Lucy’s persistence will ensure that doesn’t happen. Seven seconds after Lucy says, “But they’re hungry!” Larry will punctuate the words “So are we!” with a downward fist that will topple seven oranges. Three of the oranges will end up in the gutter, three more will be crushed by passing cars and the seventh will … Continued Read more

The leaf that wouldn’t fall by Frances Gapper According to a branch message, one of our leaves is upset at the prospect of being let go. Tell it fallen leaves turn into compost, so it’ll give nurture and life to future generations. If it likes to look at things that way. But no (sap reports back from twig to branch to central core), leaf still hanging on grimly. Sigh. There’s always one. Tell it leaves must fall, separate, depart – that’s why they’re called leaves, ffs. Off it twirls, convinced by our spurious patter. And now we feel strangely sad. Bereft. It’s like this every autumn, but we … Continued Read more

The poet and the painter by Jonathan O'Brien She stops to talk to him on Barrack Street. Dan’s hands are covered in sticky red paint. He stops and puts the brush down on the edge of the can. ‘I’m a poet,’ she says. ‘That’s nice,’ he says. She has long dark hair and dark circles under her eyes. She keeps talking, mumbling about her poetry, about her husband, about Iceland, about short days and long nights. ‘I’ve been published you know. I’ve been reviewed in the Times. My husband Olaf, the filthy pig, took the house. Now I’m stuck in this god-forsaken place.’ Dan feels trapped. A prisoner of the path. He … Continued Read more

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