Four Hot Poems

Four *HOT* February Love Poems

Generated in the McNally "Contemporary Poetries 2" Writing Workshop

with Winnipeg's Poet Laureate Di Brandt, featuring the City's *hottest* new poets!!   McNally Community Classroom, February 2019


Infrastructural Love

by Jody Baltessen

when the metal ache

of rail cars coupling crowds

the night

I think of you

our own sweet history

in the proving grounds

at spence and young


mostly I remember

your legs

the way they swung

over tree roots lifting

concrete sidewalks rough


you so owned

that liquid gait

your adaptation

to the hard-ass wrecked


your body bold


brick tenement sure

steeple staunch

brawling bar broke


the bedlam night

the hot car prowl

the rev

the render pore by pore

the siren faint

the risen keen

the burst staccato core


our sated street slick





intimacy in traffic

by Jody Baltessen


we move in tandem, our tires tracting


     frozen rubber


        on frozen snow


we prowl together, in cold exhaust fog


     your old car


        wide-bodied, low 



in and out

of rutted lanes

leads forward into

oncoming light




Jody Baltessen is an archivist and poet living in Winnipeg.   Her poetry has appeared in Prairie Fire and is forthcoming in The New Quarterly.  Her suite of poems "Invasion Studies" was a runner-up for the 2016-2017 Gwendolyn MacEwen/Exile Poetry Prize.



by Marnie Barker


your eyes open

a half-healed wound

staring from another face

another time


I feel joy and sadness

stir again in unison

to blur the mind

and lead the heart

to begin again

to love


so close to hate is love

I wonder will we

fight the same old battles

on fresh ground

you and I

new opponents

but old tactics

moving quickly

to destroy?


will the trust break

to deception

will the hand that now

clings warmly

reach out to grasp

my soul against her will

and wrestle till

the strength and cause

are gone?


or will this peace go on?

for here with you

the heart commands

the mind to rest


and so I close

my eyes

and keep this first

wound to myself

this self-inflicted



I reach for you

in darkness

so I may only feel


Lost and Found

by Marnie Barker


Lay your body next to mine,

the old, familiar lines of it

that trace my life

with gentle fingers,

and in the silence

hear the whisper of our love

still echo softly

through the spaces of my heart.


The lines have changed your face

into our lifetime's story,

written there

for me to slowly read,

and etched in sorrow,

love and laughter

I see you,

in a face so like my own.


Maybe tonight  you'll tell

me one more secret,

or we'll talk awhile

and play back '82,

and in the darkness

reach to share

those memories,

this reality,

that justifies all dreams

we've lost and found.



Marnie Barker is a social worker who lives in Winnipeg.  This is her first literary publication.