The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Brad Rose

But Not Always


Last night, the sky looked like a black lawn. I went to bed and had a fast dream. It might have

meant something, I’m not sure. It’s hard work salvaging scrap metal from flying bullets.

I don’t think the neighbors know I’m living next door. I think the husband died. Usually, people

 do things for a reason.

Through my living room wall, I can hear the woman’s life rush though her, like a river rushes

through itself, the telepathic frequencies lost in her hair. Is she laughing carefully or weeping


Fumes rest against my temples. From inside the television, the music swims like a motor of lies. I

need a machine for talking to the future, so I can explain why it’s important to decelerate your


Yesterday, I read about a man serving multiple life sentences. Now I’m wearing my leather

gloves. They’re black as a midnight ditch. My hands are quiet as rabbits. I’m prepared to

evacuate the premises.

Usually, people know what they’re doing, they have a plan. They’re in control.
Usually, people do things for a reason.




BRAD ROSE was born and raised in Los Angeles, and lives in Boston. He is the author of Pink X-Ray, Big Table Publishing, 2015 ( ) Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Brad’s poetry and fiction have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Folio, decomP, The Baltimore Review, The Midwest Quarterly, Lunch Ticket, San Pedro River Review, Off the Coast, Posit, Third Wednesday, Boston Literary Magazine, Right Hand Pointing, and other publications. Brad is the author of three electronic chapbooks: Right Hand Pointing: Democracy of Secrets, Dancing School Nerves, and Coyotes Circle the Party Store.



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