The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Brad Rose



My words begin talking before I know what to say, but they’re just words about talking. My

teeth are asleep, time is rearranging my cells. Subconsciously, I’m quite tall. I hate to disagree

with you, because I’m a ‘yes’ man, but I have no choice, it just turned out this way. Maybe it’s

because I was informed, not consulted? Of course, the angels are sad whenever the dead take

risks, but there can be no light without darkness. Have you noticed how the countryside is green

and slow, like it’s taking sleeping lessons. I’d love to throw some money at it. Everything is

absolutely relative around here, like an orphan’s family tree. Since my sister’s electrocution, I

don’t swim in lakes. I don’t drink water. I prefer to sleep in my car. But enough about me;

how about you?



Brad Rose

Free Parking


He rolled up all the windows and drove the car into the lake. Although it wasn’t a very big car,

it immediately began to sink to the mossy bottom.

With his lungs filled with what easily could have been his final breath, he pushed open the

driver’s-side door, and just as he always did, squeezed out into the vague, green water,

propelling himself upward like a skittering bubble toward the lake’s bright surface.

As he began to swim toward the deserted shore, he wondered if he would ever stop doing

things just for the hell of it. He wondered if this might be the last car he’d steal and sink here, in

the Maine woods?

Reaching shore, he climbed out of the chilly water, and surveyed the surrounding pines. The still

trees, like unsuspecting gazelle, seemed to graze quietly at the water’s edge. The vacant air,

pure, buoyant, pointless.




BRAD ROSE was born and raised in Los Angeles, and lives in Boston. He is a sociologist, and author of a collection of poetry and flash fiction, Pink X-Ray (Big Table Publishing, 2015 ) His new book of poems, Momentary Turbulence is forthcoming in late 2017 from Cervena Barva Press.  Brad is also the author of three chapbooks of poetry and flash fiction, Democracy of Secrets, Coyotes Circle the Party Store, and Dancing School Nerves.  Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Brad’s poetry and fiction have appeared in, The Los Angeles Times, The American Journal of Poetry, Folio, decomP, Lunch Ticket, The Baltimore Review, Clockhouse, Boston Literary Magazine, Right Hand Pointing, and other publications.  Brad’s website is: A list of publications is available at: 



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