Jonathan Travelstead


Mad Mo Zel by Gene Kreyd

When I can choose my fridge’s persona
I’ll choose one like Batman’s pragmatic butler whose nasal strategies
to present dilemmas effervesce a sommelier’s disinterest.
Remember the 80’s movie about a man
who falls in love with a mannequin? Or the one where
Joacquin Phoenix’s operating system read all of his emails?
I could fall in love with a program like that.
Someone like Alfred, who recognizes my passion for Bluetooth
as a repressed product of living in a sexless marriage.
Until a chime announces the arrival of my quantum wife
I’ll be practicing the words I’m OK, you’re OK,
& this is the best of all possible worlds.
Until she rasps Hello, Jonathan over the home’s speakers.
She’s coming. She knows my nutrition–she has my search history.
We’ll transcend marriage & transistor,
then visit a restaurant at the end of the world
where capsules arrive at our table through a system of tubes
like at bank drive-up windows.
Whoomp! Hiss! Lozenges off-gas fries & my glove’s
haptic feedback tells me we hold hands.
We’ve already calculated each other’s possibilities.
Neither speak. Alfred, my love.
My one. My only.


About the writer:
Jonathan Travelstead served in the Air Force National Guard for six years as a firefighter and currently works as a full-time firefighter for the city of Murphysboro and as co-editor for Cobalt Review. Having finished his MFA at Southern Illinois University of Carbondale, he also turns a lathe, crafting pens under the name Scorched Ink Penturning. His first collection How We Bury Our Dead by Cobalt Press was released in March 2015, and Conflict Tours (Cobalt Press) was released in 2017.

Image: Mad Mo Zel by Gene Kreyd. Mixed media. 80 x 140 cm. 2015. By permission. Gene Kreyd was the O:JA&L Featured Artist in April 2019.