Home Welcome to issue 13 of Spontaneity. At the time of publication, over three thousand children are without somewhere permanent to live in Dublin. In this special extended issue, writers and artists respond to the theme of home. If you'd like to donate something to Inner City Helping Homeless, you can do so here.

Soups by Jan Carson In other towns, at other times, my grandmother might have been taken for a witch. But not now, and not in East Belfast where all the old ladies practise alchemy in the kitchen, stirring their fine magic into fruit loaves, pancakes and flour-freckled soda farls. They charm their victims with kindly words. “Such a shame,” they say, and, “you must be feeling dreadful.” Or, sometimes, when one tragic circumstance has come quickly on the heels of the last, “sure, it never rains but it pours.” Each of their words is sounded out softly like something coated in talcum powder. Oh, … Continued Read more

The Way Home by Lisa Frank Everyone knows something is up when the flight attendant comes around again with the drink cart and more little bags of salted snacks. Three rounds of drinks now and the plane hasn’t even taken off the ground yet. ‘Give people an extra bag of peanuts and they’ll forgive anything,’ my friend Cassie once told me. She worked as a flight attendant after university and had loads of stories. The passenger who threatened to sue her and the airline because they didn’t have his kosher meal. The freaked out woman who made Cassie hold her hand the entire way from Düsseldorf … Continued Read more

Bunnahabhain by Nuala O’Connor Jenny wears a clap-and-shriek outfit to court. But that’s Jenny, the gaudier the better, and this dress is sunflowers on mulch, paired with nasty grey shoes. I know she’s saying, ‘Take me as you see me, this is me, there is no other’. But, for the trial, I’d hoped for the alternate version of my mother, the one who sometimes opts for muted, the one who can tone it all down. We stand in the hallway of the courthouse, waiting to be called, and Jenny seems calm despite everything. She stayed in my house last night and we drank whiskey: … Continued Read more

Tramp by Alan McMonagle Of course he lives alone in the dark chill of a leaky shack at the edge of a swamp they are forever promising to drain.   Days, he patrols the scrap laneways and bottle alleys connecting the town’s sleepy streets; here playing the part   of a half-wit, there presenting himself as a shrewd local character. His life of malnutrition, dirt and discomfort   is his own choice. He has tried living at the shelter, but could not take the routine and the presence of others. Having started   out with high ambitions, he worked his way down through booze, … Continued Read more

Once upon a time in a town by Ingrid Casey The Rabbit up there in IMMA has finally come to life, had enough of people taking his picture without consent, the metal of him lit by the clock at 3.33 am, enlivened, corporeal. Stepped down into dark sunken gardens, the chewing gum limbs of him wily and free, gambolling around sphere trees and cone plants, espaliered things and boxed tulips. Wellington glowers from afar, a statue on her plinth grinding, craning her stony neck to get a goo at him. A night photographer stands motionless on mezzanine steps, cigarillo smoke tickles Rabbit’s nose. He leaps, twirls away up to a … Continued Read more

When is the rainbow, momma? by Liz Quirke We are at the point where conversations take place in reflection, your face and shoulders framed in the rear-view mirror. You at nearly three seek disorder where there is none.   I expect anything but this, usual statements of thirst or the urgency of an untied shoelace so with my mind on the distance to the house, I placate with “rainbows come after the rain, that’s the rule.”   I glance into the glass, see synapse and sinew connect what you know to what I tell you.   My answer is found wanting.   Who knew at nearly three that … Continued Read more

Kishan by Jay Merrill I creep slowly by darkened walls. The very last thing I want is for anyone to see me. Keeping in shadow is best. A shadow does not betray you; it makes you safe. This back-pack is long and wide. It is bigger than I am. My back feels on last legs. Why do I need so much stuff? I’m stooped over due to the weight of the bags. I’d like to stand upright but can’t quite make it happen. Questions have risen to my lips. What past wickedness am I guilty of?  I must’ve done something truly bad to have … Continued Read more

New Year’s Day by John Walsh Till was angry with himself because he’d come to blows with his da again. On New Year’s Eve. They’d been drinking cider and Bull all day. Then when his brothers left, the da laid into him. The same old crap about breaking his mother’s heart, for running away, getting lifted and bringing the guards in on top of them. How she couldn’t take anymore of it and just wasted away. All a load of balls as far as Till was concerned. And he told him so. That’s when the da smashed the bottle on the table and went for him. … Continued Read more

Epithalamium by Kevin Higgins Now she will feel mostly rain, like a long wet whip put across her face by an angry drunk, for each of you will be exposure for the other.   Now there will be this aloneness, for each of you will be absence to the other. You are two persons with little life before you. Go now to your big house behind its gate to enter into the days of your homelessness together, where he will squeak about on the PVC couch he recently gave himself as a present, in his brand new leather pants,   and mature to become … Continued Read more

Throwing stones at horses by Martin Malone Wouldj’a look…pegging stones! ‘G’way the fuck with ye, ye pups. What are yese doing that for?’ Throwing stones they are, at the piebald pony in the field. Sorry creature with the bones like accordion rills.  In the drizzle, in a field of thistles, in a muddying field. ‘Fuck off Mistah, wouldj’a ever. It’s not your fucking horse is it?’ A traveller’s horse, but it isn’t travellers pegging the stones so it’s not. Brat bastards from the estate is who. Clean clothed and well-fed. But no one in control of the sad little fecks. ‘G’way now,’ the Gunner says, ‘I’m warning … Continued Read more

A feast of words by Denise Blake He served her, “I loved you from the first time I saw you” after he shouted at her in the packed bar.   She bought a pound of sugar, and ate his sweet murmurs.   “This will never happen again” came when he caught her by the throat. She smothered those words in gravy to enjoy their engagement dinner.   “It wasn’t my fault” Was slightly chewy with wedding cake.   “You look a mess. I’m embarrassed by you” coated in maple syrup was nearly tasty.   “You’re too soft on those boys, you’ll make them gay” eaten with porridge … Continued Read more

Beautiful hands by Cath Bore He doesn’t know it, but he has beautiful hands. It’s what made her want him in the first place. Long tapering digits, warm muscle and bone, and narrow wrists stronger than you’d think. Or so she imagines. She shouldn’t be thinking this way, not on a first date. She’s sorry for objectifying him. Her mum always goes on about how saying sorry a lot is bad. It’s conditioning, Mum reckons, makes you think a certain way, negative thoughts, feel things that aren’t real. But who did the conditioning, in the first place? It might be her mum to blame, did … Continued Read more

Saturday by Kerrie O'Brien “I’m at the back door.” “Is that right? Hold on now.” Within seconds I hear him singing in the garden, then pulling at the rusty bolts and heaving the door open, ruining all the cobwebs. “Hallo hallo” I say hello back and try to have a good look at him while he’s heaving the door back on its hinges. Today he’s wearing a giant orangey brown Timberland coat that’s too big for him but I sense it would have been expensive and possibly in fashion in the 80s when he bought it. Things never look big on him, he’s still … Continued Read more

Dream catching by Sarah Buckley Read more

You try not to by Lauren Foley On your return home from recession-proof Australia, you try not to notice the poverty now commonplace in Ireland. Because this is your new normal. It has been everyone else’s normal for some time. You mustn’t come across too unpreoccupied about money. You’ll appear odd. Foreign. Or even worse – a blow-in. You try not to notice how every telesales assistant tells you exactly how much something will cost, repeatedly, to the cent. That will cost you 4.98. Ok. That’s 4.98. Ok, that’s fine. We will be applying a charge of 4.98 to your account. Ok. I get it. Thanks. You … Continued Read more

Crossing the threshold by Niall McArdle Your knock is as sharp as ever. I hold the door open and invite you in. A fierce wind comes in with you. You brush off snow and stamp your feet. There’s a moment where we’re both standing in the hall, not quite sure if we should kiss or hug or just shrug at each other in hello. Your face is creased and crumpled and you look shorter. How is that possible, for you to be shrunken like this? I always remember you as tall, not just tall but way taller than me. I loom over most men. It thrilled … Continued Read more

The saline scent of home by Stephanie Conn They said it was here. Buried before my birth. I had no reason to doubt them. Besides, I loved belief. That, and myth. I could almost see it through their lens, their open window, doorway frames, their rusted locks   but this door never did lead to the beach, not once, and the marram grass I feel scratch at my soles never did take root. I am both fish and toad, and neither, turquoise and aquamarine, gills flapping, mouth closed.   I must hold my breath long enough to descend to that air-pocket place of half-dream, and blink twice, must … Continued Read more

Don’t tell the witch by Susan Millar DuMars after Anne Sexton   Don’t tell the witch, but we’re alright. The cat, he chases milk bottle tops; the sly, fat mice thrive out of sight. Gangly grass and dandelion clocks waggle and giggle, front and rear. Don’t tell the witch – we’re flourishing here   in our big cracked house, red onion skins autumn-crackle under stockinged feet. Teabags plop like rotten teeth from the bin’s laughing mouth.  By husband’s seat –   heels of brown bread toasted black, stanzas scribbled on the phone bill’s back, apple skewered on a kitchen knife. No spell stronger than this loved life.   Read more

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