For insulting the Quran, “'Thousands of people
dragged a Pakistani man … from a police station …
(and) beat him to death,' police said Wednesday.”
Is it even possible
to insult a book?
Has it a soul within its leaves
a heart that beats
an eye that winks
a cord running through its spine
descending from a thing that thinks?
Is a book of inky lines
(of characters not themselves sublime)
capable of being hurt or ridiculed
or cheapened by critiques
either of the wise, or fools?
Has it veins between its covers
salty with the blood of lovers?
Is there something in its pages
(even if put there by sages)
that warrants death to critics?
Is it a thing so lame that priestly brothers
(arrogant, imperious, parasitic)
who worship sheaves of ink on paper
must, for its sake, snuff the holy breath
by Jim Culleny