Stained burlap:  Google Images

Sometimes when I walked up to Caldwell’s to get some candy
Or a cold drink on a sweltering summer’s day, he would be
Loitering outside, eyeing me up and down as I strode towards the door

He gave me the willies.  His hair was greasy, straggly and fell in front
Of his face, half-hiding it.  Hiding his lightless, flat, grey eyes void of any
Human values or decency.  There were rumors, stories, shadowy tales
Surrounding him.  I believed every one.  He had been imprisoned by the law, by his
Own lewd and sickening behavior toward children…his own too.

As I gave him a healthy, wide berth, he spat a stream of brown-spittled
Chewing tobacco on the sidewalk at my feet.  I recoiled in shock in spite
Of trying to ignore him and keep my wits about me.  What did he want?

Next to his battered and filthy bicycle that he rode around through the
Neighborhood, lay an equally nasty, burlap bag.  He always had it with him.
The stains and spatters that covered it could have been caused by anything
But that spreading, blackened-red, substance had created an outline on
The bottom of the raggedy, rough, frayed cloth
Shaken, I looked away.

Over at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads we’re invited by Laurie Kolp to be inspired by burlap.  I don’t know why I was led in the direction I was…it isn’t pretty:

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  1. This raises such horrid memories… have captured the sense of evil so well


  2. jasmine calyx

     /  November 24, 2012

    Goodness, this is terrifying. You totally gave me chills.


  3. Well done for this! Its wonderful and your talent for writing shines through every line of it.

    Its awful to think that people such as this exist but they do. I have seen a few matching the description.

    I love this

    Christine xx


  4. Laurie Kolp

     /  November 24, 2012

    Scary character, so vivid… now you have me begging for a part 2. = )


  5. Gayle, this really creeps me out. I do hope it is totally fictional. You have created a very vivid poem here !


    • Totally fiction, Mary, but I can say that my three sisters and I (when children) were approached by some unsavory characters when growing up…but escaped harm. The only thing real in this was the name of the store. Caldwell’s was in our neighborhood.

      Thank you, Mary.


  6. No matter what you do, you do it so well. Understated but powerful. The imagery is chilling. And to think that this was inspired by burlap! 😉


  7. yikes.


  8. Androgoth

     /  November 25, 2012

    How incredibly ghoulish, and just how I like it 😉 lol

    Andro xxx


  9. How unfortunately true to life. I suspect there’s so much of this sort of thing in the news that we are tempted to address it in story and poem. It’s one way to deal with our distast and fear, isn’t it? I think it’s well to tell such stories. They serve as a warning and they also make us want to explore the humanity involved: What does happen to people to turn them this way or what is in their chemistry that corrupts?

    A good story well told, Gayle. I was engaged from beginning to end.


    • Yes, it is a way to deal with it. In my and my sister’s experiences and our girl friends growing up in the neighborhood, I see very clearly how children (girls in particular?) are preyed upon. All of us have a distasteful and fearful experience to share. I don’t know what makes people behave the way they do…but it seems like too much of this is going on…almost like an epidemic.

      Thanks, Jamie


  10. Sometimes it is another’s reality in life, so different than our own, that is so difficult to grasp. Well written, Gayle.


  11. Wow, you’re not the only one with the willies! That was creepy in the extreme, Gayle! I could picture it so well, like a movie playing in my mind’s eye. The really scary thing is that there are all too many people like this out there…goodness, who knew burlap had such sinister qualities? Nice job on the write!!


    • Now, just how did this twisted story pop out of my noggin’? Maybe that’s the real scary thing! 😉 But, seriously, I would agree, Corina…I think there are way too many “sickies” out there. And, thanks, my friend!


  12. This piece has just the opposite effect as the following one … how beautiful it is to be a child, but also how vulnerable.


    • You are so right, Diane…so vulnerable. I think little girls in particular…but maybe not…seem to be targets for all kinds of unsavory people.



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