I found this long, strange poem by Norman Dubie by googling the phrase “history of the ampersand”; I got to Section One of Book of the Jewel Worm and blinked in amazement. The stanza that prompted the Google hit was striking enough:

His history of the ampersand
as clear Sanskrit drool. His idea of the dead
borrowed from calculus and polkas.

But the more I scrolled around, the more striking it got, from the prologue:

I dreamt of wild horses bathing in white water again.
One stood and ate the salmon like a bear.
What of the Wishbone Pulsar, those cooling wicks
of the dark mother, lodged
deep in the throat of Cygnus; the merchants’ charcoal-
ballasted ships crossing the dead cluster district…

to a lot of stuff about the Khandro and Whitman and Dickinson and the Plain of Jars and… well, I don’t really know how to describe it, and it’s only part of a much larger work that’s not yet completed (“The Book of Crying Kanglings | coming November 2003”), and it’s based on some weird fantasy of future Buddhism (“This futurist poem enjoys the broken narration of its hero, Paul Ekajati, an amateur mathematician who once taught the Calculus on our moon. He is now an exhausted buddhist Vajramaster living in a small village at the Bakavi Lake Mining Colony on Mars. The year is 2277.” –from the Preface), but for some reason it appeals to me. Your mileage may vary.

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