The Triple Evils Presented In No Particular Order

(Martin Luther King, Jr. identified the triple evils as Racism, poverty, and war.)


Frosty moonlight

filters through church-window prisms,

striking the cross,

the hungry one crying out of the dark,

words to the Sacred.

In the dark, no one remembers the sparrows.

An old man dreams

about a cheeseburger and hot fries.

Where will he lay his head?

Left half-dead outside in the cold,

perhaps, through some oversight,

shivering and naked,

with no bowl of hot soup

to warm his belly.  Might as well be dead.

Holy candles flicker as they burn.

The old man dreams a valid dream.


Dirty children line blasted streets,

sucking babes who cannot cry,

their parched throats

swelling amid the rubble.

Have they no homes, no mothers?

And, oh God, the men.

Yes, the men.  Are they so guilty

as to die for those who govern with

trumped-up creeds, pitting brother against

brother, maiming for life, stealing

divine creation one-by-one?

The world must lock the door

to keep war out, the people safe.


A woman rises from a third row seat

with stomach churning

and lungs that will not fill.

She’s a Pillar of Fire

who wants to burn like

God’s voice at midnight.  But ice crystals

cast thin shadows in the place where she’s going

in a room filled with strangers.

There’s no make it plain in the buzz of this crowd. 

The woman’s dream is divorced from the cross:

Small embers in fallen leaves,

the Promised Land in the incensed air.

And all she totes are borrowed words.

from Better with Friends (Rank Stranger Press, Mt. Olive, NC)