Dan Rouse | 3 poems

Animal Bars

We go to secret animal bars
in the soft twilight.
To wash away the sins
of love left resting
on her smooth hips.
We swallow dreams
that are thick as honey
and as bitter as oak.
We hold onto barstools and onto backsides,
like the ends of ropes and ledges.
The blood moon glows crimson,
full of shadow and gloom,
casting orange light
against the snow falling
into the mountainous night.
The roar of laughter,
like the lions in the heat of pride,
echoes bouncing down the alley,
from brick to brick.
I hang my head low in the fog.
Sweat like the geniuses
of broken bottle loneliness that we are.
In secret animal bars,
in leashes that move,
from hand to mouth.
Like coming
to the guitar whine dirges,
as these barebacked dancers
move enthralling,
down tin canned hallways.
And come to ,exhausted,
thrilled in the graceful heartaches.
Scream the night down,
into the puddled sidewalk, splashing,
grinning ,a thousand forests wide

On Love At The Eve Of War

That first night
that first time I saw you dressed,
Wrapped in the fineries of a woman
I knew I would....
My tight chest slow breath feeling
that you won't love me like I do you....
but the warm knowing that you do...
That closed eye rush
when lips part and meet skin.
That growing need for more of you,
and the embarrassment that goes
with having to admit as much...
That feeling that I will burn
my flame brighter and hotter
and faster until it goes out
for you...
That one day you will look at me
and smile.
I'll take that smile
and fly across the sea on it.
Because it might be the last I see of it...
Like soot boot refugees
running down a dust paved road
to laugh again and to cry again
To breathe air together again
I have to feel your arms
around me,feel the warm sun
on soft sheets again
Until then let's cause revolutions
with our love
and let's cause bombs
to lie dormant on battlefields with it...
Let's put put flowers in rifle barrels,
and all the other cliche'd things.
Laugh away the murderous snake of man,
Make love as it eats itself and starves.
Let's leave it dried to a crisp,
So it's shadow never covers the sun.
And pay it no mind as it cries
in its loneliness.
Let's make soldiers
lay down arms by the shorelines
and give them a moment
to be human again...
Let's shout it from megaphones
in front of god and country to see
and let's burn the ticker tape excitement
in front of war torn flags..
And we say that you should do the same


In here no one cares
for your name.
No one cares where you
have been, and no one cares
where you're going.
In here no one cares
how much you drink
or what drugs are on your list.
In here no one cares
whose hands have been in your skin.
In here you are not good enough.
In here they will find out,
and it's immeasurable,
the joy they will find in it.
In here the boxes line the wall,
the piles of clothes move
with the mold and the mildew
from corner to corner.
Here is where we peel the layers
of hair and dirt off of the play doh
to feel it crack and turn to dust
between our fingers.
Here is where mountains of dishes
stay in the sink, the water turns brown
and the maggot husks line the plates
before they get thrown against the walls.
Here, there is a hole in the hallway floor
that rats use in winter to come chew
the thin dark brown paneling
and make nests at midnight in the bath.
Here we move dirty laundry
from the shower to be able to wash our skin but no one gets clean enough.
Here is where we bury things in piles of filth



Dan Rouse is a poet, spoken word performer, and artist from Appalachia. He draws inspiration from real life experiences and embellishes them for emphasis. He writes in the hope that his words may comfort, reflect and inspire the reader to create their own life, in their own words.

Dan’s first book is The Hollow and Other Poems.


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