“Jeff Bezos Goes to Space and Becomes a Bhakti Poet” by Tishani Doshi

Tishani Doshi


“I! I! A terrible thing.
Run from it if you can.”

We must believe Jeff bows down
in all that darkness. That his transformation
occurs the way a new star burns out
of the cloudy egg that has sheltered it.
For so long, they have been trying to tell
him, Journey within, in order to slay
your inner deer. The city of your body
is your own green garden. Like all men
who believe they have the right to go on
forever, Jeff thought the word emperor
came from empyrean. He wanted
to get there first. He had never experienced
the discomfort of being a guest too long
in someone’s home. What Jeff saw,
he beheld and owned. From above
he sees there will never be enough time.
We can only survive by closing the gaps—
these globs of dust around us, the whole
cosmic past—an inferno, still simmering
out there on the horizon. Waves rise
through his body, and he gets it now,
he really gets it. The body is as boundless
as the universe. Every window inside him
opens. Look how our planet gleams
like the bud of a rare blue lotus—oh!
It’s why bliss is always described
as a kind of burning. We begin and end
with fire. Jeff, listen, if you can.
It’s not too late. We are aglow,
and the future is coming for us.

from Poets Respond
November 2, 2021


Tishani Doshi: “Jeff Bezos announced this week that his commercial space station venture ‘Orbital Reef’ will offer among other things an ‘optimal location for film-making in microgravity’ as well as a space hotel. According to this article, ‘The station will have large Earth-facing windows so that space tourists can take in the beauty of our planet and experience the thrill of weightlessness in complete comfort …’ The Bhakti poets knew a thing or two about connecting with the cosmos without actually relocating there, so I suppose this poem is wishful thinking.” (web)

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