The Writers’ Cafe Magazine – ISSUE 4 “Time and Space”

Timeandspace b and w

by Susan Castillo

Fecund yet innocent,
you smile, serene mother-goddess.
But behind your smile there lies the fear:

Persephone will taste the pomegranates,
savour their ruby pips,
be lured away by hellish boyfriend

with dreadlocks and tattooed knuckles.
So you descend to Hades,
drag your daughter back to earth.

In the night sky, winged, intact,
you hold a furrowed blade of wheat
made from your daughter’s golden hair.

First included in her pamphlet Constellations published by Three Drops from a Cauldron

Under the Stars
For Gill Lambert
by Mark Connors

I resist the urge to conjure up an app,
put names to these silent cacophonies:
this Lakeland sky is screaming LOOK AT ME!
But Pinot Noir has zoomed me into you
and the fact I can still make out
the kingfisher blue of your eyes
in this well-oiled, fell dark, astounds me more
than countless constellations ever could.

When you kiss me, everything moves;
this world tips me off itself.
I’m calmed into a slow fall
then your mouth sobers me vertical.
I suggest a walk, which you decline.
On the way back to the warmth of our hotel,
I stumble, stop, say, “Look! The Seven Sisters!”
just so you know that, tonight,
I know something other than you.

Staring at the Stars
For Mark Connors
by Gill Lambert

I’m drunk and swaying, beneath
a Lancrigg sky, I know I’ll try to write about.

My legs are limp from walking, wine is messing
with my head, but I hear everything he’s saying.

He props me up with his body, whispering
some crazy plan about a walk I’m not up for;

leant against him, the vibration of his voice
drums through my back. He points up –

tells me what I’m looking at, but the more I stare,
the less I see, until it’s just him showing me

unfamiliar constellations. I take his word for it,
shut him up with that quirk, where I speak

into his mouth mid-kiss, so he stops talking
and forgets about everything, but me.

Not one to swallow all I’m told,
he’s feeding me poetry, line by line.
All I have to do is get it right.

Columbia, 2003 
Mantz Yorke

We watched glowing balls scribe white trails
across clear blue sky, like the shooting stars
bursting out at the peak of a firework’s flight.
At twenty times the speed of sound,
torturing molecules of air beyond endurance,
Columbia was disintegrating, scattering
aluminium bones and carbon-composite skin
over the Texan bush and beyond.

Long before officials said, we understood.

So to the forensic appraisal of evidence:
the crew’s fight to control increasing roll and yaw,
the progressive failing of sensors till every trace went dead,
and on a hangar floor the 3-D jigsaw –
more right wing than left – merely the juxtapositioning
of fragments gleaned from the deserts, lakes,
snake-infested swamps and muddy creeks
beneath the long descent.

The foam strike a minute or so into the flight
had earlier been dismissed as inconsequential,
‘not a safety-of-flight issue’,
not needing further investigation,
for Orbiters had always survived
these kinds of hit.

Now we know

incandescent gases burst into the stricken wing,
splattering metal like water, distorting
the precise aerodynamics, and yanking Columbia
into a tumble not even Chuck Yeager could escape.

Controllers thought the revolver’s bullet
would, as so many times before, spin harmlessly
past the firing pin – an unjustified complacency,
with a leadership deaf to doubts,
decisions made informally, and broken
communication lines left unrepaired.

Bob Dylan asked ‘How many deaths will it take
till we know that too many people have died?’

You don’t know

the answer yet, but are slowly learning a principle:
if you go adventuring, whether on earth or in space,
faith, technology and an insouciant optimism

do not suffice.

Published previously online by Bunbury Magazine in 2016. The Columbia catastrophe was roughly contemporaneously with the invasion of Iraq (of which there are echoes).

Beagle 2
by Mantz Yorke

i.m. Colin Pillinger

You waited, anticipating
the call that all was well.
Christmas Day went by
without the gift
you longed to receive,

but never did.

We now can see
what you could not:
Beagle comatose
on Mars’ red sand,
not shattered by its fall –
a flower, two petals closed,
its sweetness
inaccessible to bees.

Somewhere up there, perhaps,
you knew before us
why there was no buzz,
no signal calling home.

Beagle 2 appeared on the Tigershark website in 2016. Beagle 2 was lost on Mars on Christmas Day 2003 and was discovered by a Mars orbiter in January 2015. Colin Pillinger, the project’s leader, died on 7 May 2014.

Voyager 1
by Mantz Yorke

i.m. Carl Sagan, cosmologist

You have travelled far in your half human span –
out to Saturn, bound for the planets beyond,
till we changed your course and Titan swung you
high above the solar swirl. Twelve billion miles away,
you have deferred death, but your ageing
pacemakers are weakening and your bodily functions
are shutting down, one by one. Before your vision fails
and you are beyond our call, we ask you, as you travel on
for forty thousand years towards another sun,
to take a last look back. You photograph Earth –
a pale blue dot in the vastness of space,
the merest mote shining in a sunbeam.

This fraction of a pixel is where we were born; it’s us.
On it we have learned survival and destruction,
imagination and crassness, innovation and resistance,
humility and arrogance, caring and indifference,
love and hate. We have easily assumed our knowledge,
our skills, our technical expertise, have bestowed on us
a god-like eminence unchallenged by the silence
of others who may be there. Now, listening to our conch,
we faintly hear your message hissing in the sibilance
of the cosmic sea. More than Apollo’s Earthrise,
this blue dot has shown us our insignificance: specks
on a speck and lost amongst the numberlessness of stars.
Voyager 1 was published in Popshot Magazine in 2015.

The Blackcurrant Lake
For Euan

by Carolyn M. Batcheler

Some time, in some world, not far or perhaps a long way away a boy was born. This is the story of his simple life. There were other such boys around and perhaps they lived similar lives, but it was his hope to be different and to leave his mark. His name is not important but, we will call him Bare.

It may be that it is the lake that is the true star of this tale. It is huge and surrounded by trees that have grown thick and lush all around. Its shape is irregular and there are deep gullies in places that can trick and confuse the unwary. The trees feed on its waters and thrive but although many animals of different shapes and sizes visit often, there is something that makes them turn back and decide not to partake of its delights. The light does not penetrate the deep, dark depths and even when standing close it is impossible to make out what lies beneath. Like all lakes as you stand beside you hear the occasional plop and see a ripple which gives indications that, just possibly, there is something or somebody there. The blackcurrant waters make it more difficult to locate the source of the sound and it is this that is the first reason that visitors leave baffled and confused. The all-pervading smell is one that’s sweet but not cloying; of a unique and tantalising nature. The average traveler to its shores assumes that the source of the perfume comes from the trees and the lush foliage, not the waters themselves, but whoever visits can still recall that scent for the rest of their days. They never find that scent again, however far they may travel.

On the day the boy was born, his father left on a journey never to return. His childhood was filled with magical tales and mysterious titbits of information that lead Bare to think he could never live up to his dad’s achievements. His mother loved him and as she looked into the pools of his blue eyes she told him how like his father he was. He grew up as her special coveted pet, and she devoted every minute of her day to his needs. She took him for walks by the lake whilst he was strapped to his back in a papoose. Other mothers from the village kept away in case an accident should befall their offspring but his mother knew she would keep Bare safe. Their small warm house was set apart from the village and was just the perfect size for the two of them. As Bare grew, his mother moved him from her bedroom to his own in the eaves of the house and that was the only room with a view of the lake. He could see right across it, and never tired of looking at the view. He never called for his mother if he had a bad dream, or was finding it difficult to sleep, all he needed to do for entertainment was look out to the water and open the window to smell the sniff as he called it. He never drew the curtains so he could always see the wondrous vista.

As he grew, the lake was the centre of his world and sometimes his mother was a little jealous of the object of his affections. He always visited the lake before he left for school in the morning and he was to be found there before he returned home. His mother was not aware of the first time he dipped his small fingers into the depths, as she would have stopped him. It was several years before he developed the bravery needed to taste the waters but that comes later in the tale. His teacher reported that he was a bright boy but he had an over-active imagination. She complained that his stories always involved the lake and he needed to be taken to see other sights and go on other trips. She also said that Bare would not mix with the other children and often complained that they did not “smell right”. The other children just ignored him. He never complained and was not lonely. He did not need the regular games and activities of childhood but would read and write his own poetry, which he kept in a gold and purple notebook. He slept with this under his pillow and no one saw inside, not even his mother. The notebook was never full, even though his mother often asked if he needed a new one. She did buy him a new book for his tenth birthday but that lay rejected on a shelf and she never made that mistake again. His preference was also for sweet purple food but time and time again he said it did not taste right, however creative his mother was in the kitchen.

He grew tall and willowy and flourished as those trees that he saw every day. His body changed in the way of any other growing boy but the piercing blue eyes stayed the same. It was that feature that others remembered long after the boy had left but yet again the story leaps ahead. The boy, by now, had braved the taste of the waters and did not eat before he had tasted even a few drops of lake fluid. He had progressed to being able to place his feet in the water and wiggle his toes. As he pulled his feet from the water it was as difficult as getting out of bed on a cold morning. He was now getting to an age where he needed to make his way in the world and leave boyhood behind. His mother asked him what he wanted to do to earn his fortune and to make his way in the world but all he would say is “The lake is my destiny”.

His mother tried to encourage him to get a trade and find the path of his life but he knew his poetry was part of the plan and continued to write away in his book. The scratch of the pencil was a soothing sound to the mother who knew she had her boy with her. He gathered wood and sometimes caught the occasional fish from the lake and this was food that tasted true and real like none other he had before. His mother found she was unable to eat more after an initial mouthful. She was only now beginning to realise the way of things that awaited her one and only.

The boy was now at his full height, taller than most. He had light brown hair and had the beard of a man. His body remained narrow and trim especially then, as he found it difficult to eat anything that did not come from the lake. He walked in the lakes waters every morning and then came back and wrote for hours. If it was warm and sunny he would sit down by the waters and write. His mother supplied many a pencil but the book held all the words.

It was nearly mid-summer and that day was a particularly warm and balmy. Bare went to the lake and walked for a while. He strolled around the whole of the lakeshore whilst picking the correct angle and place for his planned next move. He did not notice that his mother was watching from his bedroom. Then on mid-summers day, just as the sun was rising, Bare set off on his journey. He stood at his chosen spot and shaped his body to that of a pointed arrow and without looking left or right he dived into the dark waters. The water sucked him in and enveloped him and not a ripple was seen. When his mother awoke she knew he had gone to follow his dad and was happy for him, She knew he was off adventuring and seeking the fortune awaiting him. She was disappointed when she could not find the poetry book and it is for this, she searches for still.

Twin System
by David Babatunde Wilson

Twin system
The smaller sibling
Pitted face
A stony sphere
Lifeless and
Without breath
Yet in her death
Breathes life
And tide
And motion
Upon her verdant twin
Clothed in blue
And mottled green

Ganymede Art
by David Babatunde Wilson

Look out
Through Galileo’s eye
Bright spot of orange
And smaller sparks
Dancing in attendance
Artistry in Science
Ganymede art

Look out
Through Asimov’s eye
Swirling band of orange
On enormous orb
Marching cross satellite skies
Artistry in Word
Ganymede art

Not Passing in the Night
by Margaret King

We’re ships but not passing in the night
We spend our nights moored to the same pier
In the same harbor
Drifting next to each other, rolling, bumping,
Kissing, nudging.
Cut the ropes from the dock and
We’ll still drift together
Far from this world, where the water meets
The vast skies
And we’ll float across the universe
As they try to wave us back, tie us down,
Tether us to them, anchor us to the world
With gravity, gravity
Grave, grave gravity.
But we, we’ll sail to the moon unmoored
Because we don’t need them anymore–
We’re too secure to find refuge in
Being weighted to the ground.

It Felt like Exile
by Margaret King

It felt like a punishment,
It felt like exile.

What can one do, waking up in the desert each morning,
pitching a tent on a sea of sand each night,
sleeping, walking on shifting ground,
while mirages appear like ghosts?

What does one do, feeling so alone,
cast from civilization
without a map?

I’ve learned
that desert people dance under the stars
and so I learned to do so
when I could.

I’ve learned
that life blooms in the desert and
steppes of Mongolia,
you just have to look harder for it.

Under rocks, between the leaves
of squat plants,
along rivers,
wherever water’s found
so there’s life.

I learned
to take joy in small things
and to be overcome with the majesty
of the wide world.

I learned
to stretch my arms towards the sun
and the moon
each day and night
and to stop chasing the wind.

I don’t expect you to care
I don’t expect you to feel remorse
I expect you to say you’d do it again,
It felt like a punishment.
It felt like exile.
And yet I learned
that I can survive the desert.

by Charley Reay

Turn the guillotine on the clocks
Bend time, twist its signatures metric
Iambic lots of ticks and tocks

Cut time into modernist blocks
Tocks and ticks should never mix
Turn the guillotine on the clocks
Fit the beat into decimal slots
Seconds pass quick as tierces slip
Iambic lots of ticks and tocks

Scrub clean the execution blocks
Spread time’s web flat, to be unpicked.
Turn the guillotine on the clocks
Iambic lots of ticks and tocks

Four views of Polaris
by Charley Reay


We sing our way across the sea
Take our direction from the lodestar
Fix our position from the sea bed’s flavours
Turn towards the caws of aviators, who flock
Over lands that we will take by force.


Once the little bear
was known as canine.
Scouting the way
across the world
with her wagging
good girl tail.


Swung by one another’s gravity they
Dance a Maypole jig; three by three.
Pulsing in time to a beat only they can hear.


I am looking back in time
to England’s Golden Age.
While Walter Raleigh looked to you
to be his guide, I see your reply.
Steadfast and blank as a new page.
No hope for Roanoke, long missing now
Elizabeth’s dreams of Empire crumbled
into shame and jingoistic pride.
In four hundred and thirty three years’ time,
the light you’re sending will finally arrive
too late for us to see that tiny slip
away from our true North.

How the first shot was fired
by Charley Reay

She (herself existing beyond, made
from the fabric of story, only)
drew it from nothing, like a breath.

Gathered it to her, first as a cloak
of finely spun silk then thickening
(as fog) to something like wool.

She absorbed it, with her own
strange osmosis sponged it
into her, let it run through her blood

and pool between her palms.
She worked it into a ball, hand
quaking in time to its thunder,

lightning arcing between her fingertips
as she pressed it, compressed it:
dense as iron, mercury, tungsten, osmium.

Condensed into cannonball, carcass,
grapeshot, musket ball, bullet, buckshot.
Cocked the hammer and


stars detonated and stars in turn
collapsed into themselves; exploding
supernova, shrapnel colliding to form

more stars, nebulae, planets
set to turning: An eccentric, concentric reel.
The muzzle flash brilliance of the cosmos

manufactured from her marrow, birthed
from her secret, unmapped ordinance.
Expanded infinity from her munition mouth.

In Space No One Can Hear You Scream
by Ian Waugh

Stars and galaxies flash by – fireworks on an astronomical scale.
I lie on my bed, in my room, in my house, in my street in my city
Which contract as my head expands till I join the stars.
I listen for their song but they are silent.

I look inward and see sparks of synaptic light
Bright like stardust, like ice, like crystal, like memory.
My mouth opens in slow motion. I sing, my body electric,
My silent scream a counterpoint to the song of the stars.

In Space 3 by Ian Waugh

Twelve lines about time
by Mandy Macdonald

Three score years and ten, as good a spot
as any to stop, turn, and peer down
the long avenues of our lives. Just so, we look

into the night sky, intercept bulletins
from countless years ago. The light from that nebula
you see there — the Rosette – set off towards us

before Rome was even a scattering of crofts. Our lives
are constellations too, their moments bright
as diamonds sown along bland furrows: some

pulsate faintly, far out on the shores of time,
some flare, flash and wink out like supernovas.
Between, beyond memory, the immeasurable dark.

by Mandy Macdonald
mandy 2.jpg

Previously published by The Curly Mind, in January 2016

Worlds, bottled
by Mark James Hammond

Only sounds can be seen inside this void.
Electrons, like gulped mice down snakes’ throats pulse
down the cortex in forked tongue flashes charge
by some astronaut bobbing on a cord,
sloshing in films of fluid pulled taut
like sleet beneath wheel or eels in a bottle.

I chose to settle in that belly, bottled,
swallowed and sleeping in the deepest void.
Not dreaming nor given to any thought,
not livened any but of brute pulse.
Sucking in oxygen up through a cord,
a shuttle docked at a space station, on charge.

Riven apart, into galaxies discard,
sucked through the ether; like debris, hurtle.
Plucking with my fingers for a ripcord,
plummet and reach but feel only a void,
like a fainting star that in death now pulls,
summoned into nothingness, I am caught.

Send for your homeless, huddled, tempest-tossed,
compassed by spaces of opposing charge.
Composed of an all consuming impulse
to collect butterflies and to bottle
a whole Universe to fill up this void.
Scraped out and hollowed like an apple, cored.

When the same one who sent tore down the gourd
then what else was I supposed to be taught?
Other than how best I can now avoid
the eternal purpose with which we’re charged.
Instead I ignored and for light years bottled
my heart, sunk it fathoms; drowned out its pulse.

Chunks of atoms between us pull and repulse,
a rush through a room full of bulbs on cord,
move back and forth on a sea of froth, bobble.
Cast the lots to discover it’s all your fault
that you lost it, relive it no more; charge
forward with the storm of an asteroid.

In a time outside time we paired, diploid,
murdered the past and made flesh a new pulse.
A charge taught me when I cut the cord; you have saved me from that belly, bottled.

Elderly Astronaut
by Roy Moller

Even now,
I walk in tunnels
below the earth
or roam the lip
of a blasted valley,
facing wind
I can find
no use for.
Even though
I’m old now,
etched in the arc
of a snail-paced doodle,
I exercise my right to
new-to-the planet
bad judgement.

Trading Places
by Roy Moller

City-splitting river,
river of ceased trading,
when will your chain ferry
return to pull me over?
When will I land on a quay
whose sheds fold over fruit and grain?
Where will the wharves support me,
not fall through themselves in gangrene?
How much of today would I trade to drink
the draught of the past in that Free House
before it got shorn at the shoulder
of ironmongers and stairwells?
How long can it sit like this, alone
in undeveloped rubble
and trade in the light of a dithering bulb
skirted by circular winds?

Causal Effect
by Eric Taylor

My best friend, Jack the Jack Russell Terrier, died six years ago. I killed him today.


Jack was the eighth of ten finalists at the state dog show. I’d spent four years raising and training him, taking home amateur blue ribbons and awards. The goal was to get good enough to show professionally. This competition looked like our big break: our first chance to get points toward an American Kennel Club championship. The last event was the agility trial, which Jack usually bounded through with enthusiasm.

Halfway up one of the obstacles, Jack froze and wouldn’t listen to my commands. He was listening to something the judges and I couldn’t hear; his hackles were up. He snarled at the air, then bolted off the show floor. Jack ran under the catering tables, and back into the convention center’s food prep area.

I ran after Jack, not caring about the disqualification we just earned. Not paying enough attention because I was worried about my partner, I collided with a caterer carrying a hot tray of ravioli. We both ended up on the floor covered in tomato sauce and squares of pasta.

“Is this meat or cheese?”

“What? Why?” the caterer sputtered, trying to regain his footing in a puddle of tomato sauce.

“Meat or cheese!”

“Meat! Why?”

Ignoring their scalding, fresh-from-the-oven heat, I grabbed a handful of the ravioli, broke them open, and crumbled them. I searched through isolated, “staff-only” hallways calling out for Jack, hoping to bait him with meaty treats into coming back.

I turned into a poorly lit hallway, leading to a service elevator. I stopped dead in my tracks, an urge to vomit rising before I registered that what painted the elevator wasn’t blood spatter. It was blue ichor as if someone had exploded a dye-filled balloon, but chunky with viscera and thick like pus. Jack’s collar was on the floor, split in two. No sign of blood. Nor Jack.


My friend Jamie showed up on my doorstep holding a plastic bag with four pills for the sixth anniversary of Jack’s disappearance. His presumed death.

He explained, “These are psychotropics. They’re called Liao. You focus on something when you take them, and then it opens your mind to reconnect like you’re there. I heard they used it for experimental regression therapy. It’ll be like seeing Jack again, tapping into your best and deepest memories.”

The anniversary was always hard, and Jamie knew how bad I got every year. Jack had been my personal and professional life for four years before the event.

I shrugged and took one. Hallucinating Jack seemed like a better idea than missing him.


I saw Jack. I saw all Jacks. There was Jack being born, dying somewhere else, living with someone else, never being adopted by the breeder, living to an old age, being studded out. They all happened and they never happened. I was seeing infinite possibilities of what could and did and didn’t happen. All at once.

It wasn’t a hallucination. It was travel. Time travel. My head and body spun, lost for bearings. I found one place where Jack wasn’t. A shore on the edge of nothing and everything. It wasn’t a place, it was a when, but that when was still not-time. And it was there.

The thing was a grotesque parody–a vapor skeleton of a large dog, covered in blue ooze. Looking at it was like looking through the facets of a broken kaleidoscope. I ran away–awhen–but it saw me, and ran too.


I ran through that forever until I found myself in a small, smoky room, no bigger than a closet. The fractured, angular hound-thing walking through a corner. It had no face, but a terrible snout-like appendage. I was unwilling to stare at the not-face through rising mists around it. Covering my head with my arms, I shut my eyes, expecting death.

Familiar barking came down the hall as Jack, hackles up, launched his small mass at the horrible hound-thing. He tore into its neck, his show-trimmed claws ripping into the mist-flesh, spraying blue ichor across the whole room. The hound-thing responded swiftly. I peeked up to see Jack’s bloodlessly-severed head, his body dissolved into the thin air. Jack’s collar dropping to the floor in two pieces.

My own screaming roused my body and brought my consciousness back to when my apartment had first taken the Liao. No time had passed, or the hands on the wall clock had stopped completely.


It’s coming for me. I don’t know how I know, but I know that I traveled in time, and it saw me, and it doesn’t like that. It’s hunting me from across forever and never, twice as hard since the time when Jack hurt it.

Smoke is slowly forming in the corner of my room. I can see shapes coming out of the angles of space, breaching time. Jack’s dead because I wanted to see him after he died. It found me. It was only a matter of time.

by Paul Waring

I see your descent, snow-silent
from space, in parachutes
along sharp shafts of light

watch you drift down softly
to squat in each room, stretch out
together on surfaces, spend time,

at home in my home. You settle in
in no time; leave traces
like house guests, uninvited.

by Barry Fentiman-Hall

Emmanuel heard voice
When he closed his eyes
This was not dream stuff
Worlds spoke to him
In waves expressed as thought
Saturn sang to him in a
Voice harp-like and soft
A ring cycle for him alone
Venus at his ear whispered in
Erotic undertones bringing
A fever to his imagination
Mars barked dark oaths
That put him in ill temper
It was unfortunate that
Emmanuel’s fate was to be
Scorn and ridicule
Tortured to the brink of madness
He would sleep no more
Till his wakeful terrors
Brought such a rest
That no dawn could ever breach

Light to you
by Barry Fentiman-Hall

Bloody ‘fraid hands
Sore boned red
From nerves ending
In a ball of
Bare wires
Light to you
Charging from my head
Sparking at the knuckle
And burning letters
In waste bin fires
Tapping out to
The territory
Light to you
A time signal sending
In dots and dashes
That decorate
The thick silence
Of deep water
And mud dew
Clay and hot ashes
Heavy on my chest
Wrapping the dawn
With dirty linen
Light to you
For us
A red sky waits
Great fire lines
Breaking through
Today tomorrow
Watercolour and oil
Delicate and savage
Slow it bleeds out
This blood heat
Light to you

My earthborn grandpa tells us how it was
by Linda Goulden

Yes, if you like. Sit here.I
t wasn’t always warm there.
Air was unpredictable.
Even the sea froze.

Half the time, water
refused to come when called,
then – quite uncalled for –
river flooded land.

Though many plants were kind,
our houses did not grow on trees.
And so we cut trees down
to build our houses.

Metal came from the earth
and fire from coal and oil.
When there were no more trees
we wrapped our houses up in oil.

Provided that you knew
just where to go, at night
it could be dark. Imagine that?
I don’t suppose you can.

Sometimes our moon was large
and sometimes small. Yes, one.
One sun. One moon.
But, oh, how many stars!

Part and Parcel
by Linda Goulden

While she is part and parcel of the two of them,
she can’t accept this parting of the ways.
She listens on the landing, starts and stops,
walks back and forth from wall to wall.

Her eyes look left and right through time.
She reaches out to wave aside the fog between
the house, where she walks, back and forth,
from room to room, from floor to floor,

and home, where voices filled their space,
and he would open any door and walk
through walls to be beside the part of her
which will not hold with parting of the ways.

Space Dust
by Rob Walton

Clearing up space debris? Do me a favour. Do you honestly think
I’ve got the time to clean up space debris? I’ve got three kids
running amok and they all want packed lunches, though I grant you
there’s two of them who say they want school dinners one minute
and packed lunches the next, and I think perhaps you should consider
that even though I was one of the people behind the so-called amateur
space mission, that doesn’t necessarily mean I left anything up there.
And even if I had and I’m not admitting it for a minute
it would only have been a few bits and pieces, nothing more than space
dust in the grand scheme of things and I would respectfully ask you
to remember I didn’t do my mission, I mean our mission, on my own
and those cartons of apple juice are much better value and tastier
and as it happens I seem to recall that a net and a harpoon
have been talked about as ways of capturing the debris
and whenever I think of harpoons I find myself getting in a bit
of a tizzy, like a bloomin’ geosynchronous orbit,
and I’m not altogether sure any of it’s my responsibility
and you needn’t think you can palm me off with any old hoover.
I want the latest rechargeable Dyson and can you get
the bairns some mini cheddars and some fruit tubes?

Blackout of the Sun Star
by Maggie Mackay

crumbling mortar on windowsill
………………………….heartsore at your absence
……………meteor rushing towards Earth
you as my centre, I orbit you
………………………….raindrops gather below clouds
quarrels like ferrets in a sack
………………neighbour’s children gathering pebbles
for days, the sky expanding to dusty grey
……………regret a stone in my pocket
………………………………………..sighs for want of peace
time stretches as far as Saturn’s rings

Chapter 48: The Physical Meaning of a Probability2
by Jessica Reed

48-1 Matter Waves
Thus, for matter as for light, we must face up to the existence of a dual character; matter behaves in some circumstances like a particle and in others like a wave.

Example 1.
……..remember it that way:
……..all knowledge of substance:

Fig. 48-1
……..Through the door one sees on the lake that the white duck swims
……..Away—and tells and tells the water tells
……..Of the image spreading behind it in idea.

48-3 Wave Mechanics
……..Openings, meeting at the seam of mathematics and the world,
……..or nowhere.

48-4 Physical Meaning of Wave Disturbance ψ
The quantity ψ2 at any particular point is a measure of the probability that the particle will be near that point. Only those quantities that can be measured have any real meaning in physics.

Fig. 48-5
……..But, after all, I know a tree that bears
……..A semblance to the thing I have in mind.

If orbits such as those envisaged by Bohr existed, they would be broken up completely in our attempts to verify their existence. Under these circumstances, we prefer to say that it is the probability function, and not the orbits, that represents physical reality.

Fig. 48-11
……..So the meaning escapes.

……..The first white wall of the village…
……..The fruit trees….

2 The textbook passages in this section are loosely borrowed from H&R, Fundamentals, 1st ed. 1966. The italicized text is from Wallace Stevens: “The Bouquet,” “Le Monocle de Mon Oncle,” and “Metaphors of a Magnifico.”

They come to unbuild 
by Jessica Reed
They Come to Unbuild

An Imperfect Performance of Little Prelude(BWV 935)
by Jessica Reed

An Imperfect Performance of Little Prelude

Weighty and Permanent 
by Jessica Reed

Once upon a time there was something called matter that was substantial, weighty, and permanent. And something else, quite different, called light. —Frank Wilczek

White string of lights in the room of winter. Then: blink.


Separated by a large enough distance, a simple bicycle headed in my direction sends you a thousand years into my future.


Pascal planned a book on the vacuum, Traité du Vide, but it was never completed.


With eyes pinched shut, you will see for a finite, definite, time a borrowed glow.


The Preface exists, but the remaining parts have been lost.


An impression, a trick of the mind.


Pascal, pushing against the Aristotelian notion that nature abhors a vacuum.


A bicycle, headed in the opposite direction, a thousand years into my past.


We are obliged to show children: doorways, arms pressed against the walls. The surprise of stepping out.


They, believing a vacuum was impossible because light must travel through something.


What is between two people for five minutes for one minute for a lifetime.


Trust, flesh, denim, relief, buttons, connection, cotton. A promise.


Because the empty spaces between atoms, thousands of miles between lovers.


Something else, quite different. Else quiet.

by Karen Little

The year my eyes saw over the table,
I was Valentina Tereshkova,
first woman in space,
trying to defeat the Daleks.

I was Valentina Tereshkova,
terrifying myself
trying to defeat the Daleks
who wanted to destroy me.

Terrifying myself,
the first woman in space,
who wanted to destroy me
the year my eyes saw over the table.

On a planet
where asteroid impact gouged out craters
and binary stars lit the way,
I summoned my resources.

Where asteroid impact gouged out craters,
I hid amongst them with a laser gun.
I summoned my resources
to aim for shiny Dalek probes.

I hid amongst them with a laser gun,
the first woman in space
to aim for shiny Dalek probes,
the year my eyes saw over the table.
Previously published in the chapbook Tentacles.

How to Kill a Comet
by Karen Little

Blaze irresistible charm; his orbiting head
approaching white heat will become bright,
his rock ice dust flare, visible, exposed.
Smile at his corona, eccentrically drawn,
his period, his melting, knocking against
your body; he leaves tail first, losing more
fragile substance each time he dares
flirt with you. Finally he’s another rock
amongst rubble you leave in your wake.


Margaret King is a Wisconsin writer who enjoys penning poetry, short stories, and young adult novels. In her spare time, she likes to haunt the shores of Lake Michigan, similar to many of her fictional characters. Her most recent work has appeared in Unlost Journal, Moonchild Magazine, and The Ginger Collect.

Carolyn Batcheler is a Manchester based writer who has spent the majority of her life in the northeast. She has been published with Writers against Prejudice, Dotty and the Dreamers, Number Eleven Magazine, Durham Magazine, Writers Cafe Magazine and I am not a silent poet. She has only been writing for 4 years but it is definitely what makes her happy. Spoken word performance adds to the buzz and Carolyn is part of a group of Manchester based writers and performers “The Pankerchiefs”

Charley Reay is a Newcastle based writer from the Lincolnshire Fens.  Her poems are published by Obsessed With Pipework, Ink, Sweat & Tears, and Three Drops Press among others.  She also performs on the North East spoken word scene.You can find her on Twitter @charleyreay

David Babatunde Wilson was born in Nigeria and brought up in Botwana. He has lived in North Yorkshire for the last 26 years, not quite long enough to be considered a native. He divides his time between jobs as Dad, household cook, taxi driver to his daughter, writing poetry and working as a Special Needs teacher.

Barry Fentiman-Hall  is a writer of place. He has been published in anthologies Stories from Songs, City without a head, An Assemblance of Judicious Heretics, and Icon Theatre’s 23 Submarines, and magazines including: Anti-Heroin Chic, PoetryPulse, The Blue Nib and Picaroon. His pamphlet The Unbearable Sheerness of Being is available from Wordsmithery.

Mantz Yorke lives in Manchester, England. His poems have appeared in a number of print magazines, anthologies and e-magazines in the UK, Ireland, Israel, Canada, the US, Australia and Hong Kong.

Mandy Macdonald is an Australian writer and musician living in Aberdeen. Her poems appear in the anthologies Outlook Variable, Extraordinary Forms, and Songs for the Unsung (Grey Hen, 2016 and 2017), Aiblins: New Sottish political poetry (Luath, 2016), A Bee’s Breakfast (Beautiful Dragons, 2016), and in numerous other places in print and online, most recently in The CurlewThree Drops from a Cauldron, Coast to Coast to Coast, and Riggwelter. When not writing, she sings.

Mark Hammond is a creative writing graduate with the OU and is a trainee psychotherapist, father and lives in Gateshead.

Linda Goulden lives at the edge of the Peak District where sometimes the skies are clear enough for stars. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies (Emma Press, Beautiful Dragons), magazines (Magma Poetry, The Projectionist’s Playground), and in woodland and choirsong.

Elaine Speakman. Describing herself as a poet by instinct, Elaine is a Grandmother, Elder and a Spiritual Healer of 20 years standing. After a long career in the commercial world, she has now turned her attention solely to developing her creative self by living in harmony with the natural world.

Susan Castillo Street has published three collections of poems, The Candlewoman’s Trade (2003), Abiding Chemistry,  (2015), and Constellations (2016. Her poetry has appeared in Southern QuarterlyProleThe High WindowInk Sweat & TearsMessages in a BottleThe Missing SlateClear PoetryProle, Three Drops from a CauldronFoliate OakThe LakeAlgebra of Owls,The Yellow Chair ReviewPoetry Shed, and other journals and anthologies.

Karen Little is widely published as a poet in the UK and further afield. Her first novella, ‘Filled with Ghosts’ was published in December 2015, and shortlisted for a Saboteur Award in 2016. Ghost Train Leaving and Ghosts Treading Water, published in 2017, complete the Spanish Spectres trilogy. ‘Tentacles’, ten Poems, ten Illustrations, was published in June 2016.

Rob Walton is from Scunthorpe.  His poems, short stories and flash fictions have appeared in various anthologies and magazines.  In 2018 some will be published by Popshot, the Emma Press, Atrium, Bloomsbury, Arachne, Paper Swans and Verve.

Mark Connors is an award-winning writer from Leeds, UK. His poetry has appeared in many anthologies, alongside acclaimed poets such as Simon Armitage, Andrew Motion, Antony Dunn and Kate Fox. He’s also had over 100 poems published in a variety of magazines and literary journals both in the UK and overseas, including Envoi, Prole, The Interpreter’s House, Dream Catcher and a number of Indigo Dreams imprints.

Gill Lambert is a poet and teacher from Yorkshire. She won the 2016 Ilkley Literature Festival Open mic competition and runs Shaken in Sheeptown in Skipton. Her debut pamphlet, Uninvited Guests was published by Indigo Dreams in September 2017.

Paul Waring is a clinical psychologist who once designed menswear and was a singer/songwriter in several Liverpool bands. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee and his poems have been published or are forthcoming in Clear Poetry, Prole, Algebra of Owls, Amaryllis, Three Drops from a Cauldron, The Open Mouse, Riggwelter, Rat’s Ass Review, Reach Poetry, Foxglove Journal and many others. His blog is

Ian Waugh is a writer, a poet, an improviser and a musician. When he’s not trying to make a living doing any of these things, he sleeps the sleep of the damned.

Roy Moller was born in Edinburgh of Canadian heritage. His work has appeared in the likes of And Other Poems, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Lighthouse Literary Journal and the anthology Neu! Reekie! UntitledTwo. He now lives in Dunbar, East Lothian. His website is

Jessica Reed’s chapbook of physics poems, World, Composed, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. She was nominated by Crazyhorse for Best New Poets 2017. Her work has appeared in ConjunctionsNorth American Review; Crazyhorse; Bellingham Review; New American Writing; Colorado Review; Waxwing; 111O; Tinderbox Poetry Journal;The Fourth River; and elsewhere. She has an MFA in poetry and a BS in physics, both from Purdue University, and teaches a seminar at Butler University on physics and the arts. She lives in rural Indiana with her husband and chickens.

Maggie Mackay, a jazz and whisky loving Scot is a recent MA graduate with work in Algebra of Owls, Amaryllis, Atrium, Prole, The Everyday Poet, Southlight and Three Drops Press, and forthcoming in the #MeToo anthology, March 2018. Her poems were nominated for The Forward Prize, Best Single Poem and the Pushcart Prize in 2017  and her first pamphlet will be published later this year.


Thank you to Cathy Bryant for including the callout for “Time and Space” on her excellent website

To all the wonderful writers for their submissions.

To all the readers and people who share the magazine.


6 thoughts on “The Writers’ Cafe Magazine – ISSUE 4 “Time and Space”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s