011.1: Nicelle Davis:: Jesus Propositions Judas with Salvation & The Mother of Invention & Faith as Seen on YouTube 011

Nicelle Davis is a poet with an eye towards the spiritual. These three poems come from a series loosely related to Davis' upbringing in the back-room of a record store in Mormonville, Utah, and this unexpected fusion becomes a "spontaneous combustion" of matter turning into energy. Through these poems we encounter Jesus, Judas, YouTube, Joseph Smith, Hollywood, the Knights of Templar, Missouri, Utah, a prostitute, turnips, libraries, and God. Spirituality and faith eventually become, like Mallarmé's "Dice Thrown," a game of chance: "I know only chance. My feet will / won’t hit ground." Instead of choosing a faith based in the material world, which becomes a roll of the dice, Davis embraces the non-material of a pure energy: "Let there be light." Andrew Wessels

Jesus Propositions Judas with Salvation

We ought to cut
each other from our skin-tethers—
quit this arithmetic
               of oxygen,
                                             and flash of blue.

We could have just as easily been violet fireworks,
but are not,
not even with the potential of spontaneous combustion.

The star compounds in us
               are explosives disarmed
                              by the wet of our bodies
                                             thrashing with desire.

Hot July, Jesus says, Stop struggling against me and give us a kiss.

The Mother of Invention

1820, Joseph Smith is 14 years-old
                                            at the Second Great Awakening.
                                                                                     The thick ropes of evangelical 
voices are drawn tight over heaven
                                                                                     to tether God to the ground.
Too many tongues on fire to hear
                                            a pre-teen in the kitchen saying, Dear
                                                                                               Father, make me
a tuna-fish sandwich.
          He faints
                                                            hits his head on the table.
I saw an angel.                   He had wings                              like a shark’s mouth
and spoke                           like Shakespeare.
Will someone please
                                                               pour me a glass of milk?

Faith as Seen on YouTube

I. Contemporary Gnostics

He seems to be
kissing more than speaking
words. His fellow Gnostic spokes-
model transitions into frame—her face an orb
of light dimmed to a long-legged brunette. Mention
the Knights of Templar and his eyes flash with Hollywood
potential. Imagined rescue
—she’s tied to a chair by the arms of her own cardigan—
obviously the work of papist conspirators. She’ll
say, truth will be sought by the few—rebels
moaning softly in University Libraries.
There is more than just this body,
she’ll say. Oh yes, he’ll
say, more. more.

II. Because I’ve Heard it Before

I’m not converted. Joseph Smith went down—
with his six shooters firing—from a window
for something similar to gnosis. He knew
it was over. Angry mob with ropes
noosed. He wanted life more
than salvation. Reached
for the blue hands
of God before
the ground

Something more (like gravity) is out there. A martyr is
born from the earth of Missouri; like a turnip. Belief.
Like harvest. I’m sown and born in Utah. I never asked
for this religion, never asked for gravity. A turnip isn’t
choosey—it will grow anywhere—with its ability to
prevent famine. His was a con, but such a necessary con.

said “I
do” to 33
women, before
the gig was up. As
he came down, a promise
for love manifested itself—as
light turned to flesh in a mild root.
I won’t be a fool-bride but the pains of
starvation are a mother’s hands in my soil
digging to save her children from the absence
                                                                                 of heavens feast.

III. Broadcast Yourself

Originally I wrote tit instead of lip when describing the sexual tension between young
missionaries. Their knowing beyond                         knowing like lovers hanging from
cords of ecstasy—refusing to                                                      come down, makes my
eyes hatch locust from                                                                         staring too long at
their lights shining                                                                                   from my laptop.
I know only chance. My
feet will / won’t
hit ground.

Bet                                                                                                                            any-
thing  the   night   before   Judas  died,   he   paid  some   mouth   to   call   him   child.
Tell the  ground to  come for me—he  asked the  prostitute. Tell the  world I meant  no
. I don’t know why love is deemed legitimate for some and not others. I tell you
Judas loved Jesus enough to die for him. The hanging body: a pornographic image. I
tell you, there are those of us who must fall; our faith an all-in wager. We jump praying:
Let there be light.