Note: Several of these poems below are representative of work from my manuscript EATING THE PEACH to be published  by Blue Bone Books–once I get back to it. My move north has postponed many things…

by Bea Garth,
published in Lake City Poets, issue no. 9, copyright 2014
I ate up almost all
of the black Bing cherries
this afternoon thinking of you
driving my blue pick up from Portland
to Eugene, eating Royal Annes
just picked from the old fruit farm
where you are staying ensconced
in a miniature bus so clean and white and fresh
with its bare tatami mats, feeling open,
despite its postage stamp size
and the gray rain and time-spotted exterior.
Now it is sunny and warm this afternoon
just after experiencing July third and fourth
with you, sharing gas expenses, going to a slide show,
having brunch with your old vagabond poet friend
and his cohorts and my poet friend
who is about to leave for the East Coast.

Three cherries still sit in the white
ceramic bowl on the blue table cloth.
The sun streams in from under the window shade.
Earlier I stretched out on the back lawn
and let my legs bask in the sun
while my head lay in the shade
and I looked up at the wisteria pods
and twisting bark. And I remember
the little girl during brunch
who wondered what that lump was
on your throat and I told her
that it was an Adam’s Apple,
and that most men have them,
it’s just more obvious in some
than in others – and I looked
at your long neck red from the sun
and your corny South Dakota humor
and later you asked for some black tea
with a pretend English accent
while up above us yellow butterflies
flew a patterned loop
in and out of the fruit trees


by Bea Garth,
published in Lake City Poets, issue no. 9, copyright 2014
My love is as fresh as a pink rose at noon,
as a tulip at dawn pushing up
through winter’s hard earth
trumpeting spring
along with the camellias,
green and hot pink,
as delicate and waxen
as the sky after it has snowed
and as sharp edged as the air.
My love is like an impatient calf
reaching for his mother’s teat
as she ambles to the next patch of vetch
and dandelions. My love is as enduring
and resonant as a deep pond
lined with calla lilies. My love
is as sweet as the yellow/green
sour-grass and as abundant
as clover twining amongst the daffodils.
My love holds my hands and we garland
each other with watercress and violets.
We kiss each other,
our combined breaths
rushing through our beings like fireweed
covering our bodies with pink and lavender blossoms
and we become the earth shot through with roots:
noduled, hairy and shining like secret talismans.

by Bea Garth
published in Lake City Poets, issue  no. 9, copyright 2014
We climbed nearly to the top
passing the deep purple/blue iris
and the oak sprouting
tight shiny yellow/green leaves
amongst their hairy moss covered limbs.
A tangled hedge of poison oak
and blackberries hid us from the path
as we lay upon the open grass
and held each other, feeling the late
spring sun drench our bodies
and open us up as if we were blossoms.

When dusk came I walked sideways
beside you on that last steep slope
coming down, and breathed deeply—
smelling the fresh air
thinking of the wild iris
and the pale green yarrow
tickling our feet as we kissed.


Montana Trip—1992
by Bea Garth
published in Synchronized Chaos, February  issue, copyright 2014
We go into the river knee deep
then tread the rocks underneath
pulling ourselves along in the current
like crawdads.

Two days ago I sat on a rock
in Rattlesnake Creek
icing my foot in the cold mountain water
having hurt my ankle going down hill.
You sat next to me
and kissed my ears, lips and neck
and observed the little water bugs
who had made shells out of the tiny rocks
covering their bodies like mosaics.
I said, “They must secrete a saliva
that makes the sandy rocks stick”
–like my emotions all sticky
attracting memories and sensations
of the present like so many colored rocks:
rose and green and gray blue and black and mahogany
encasing me in a kind of readymade shell,
my feelers out and tingling, smelling the currents.

Now I look at the river reflecting the sun
and wonder whether or not to let you in,
my toes feeling the water’s edge
as I dry myself off with a towel.
I think of taking a picture of you
on the sandy spit – but I can’t
since the image of my old lover
pops up like some reminding ghost.
Old Chief Looking Glass winks at me,
the wide Montana sky opening up in a huge arc
reflecting off the river
reflecting off the you and me standing under it
and I cannot say or do anything
but pull away into my shell.

by Bea Garth,
published in Synchronized Chaos, February issue, copyright 2014

He lies with me
a descendant of the Aegean,
his head looking like
that on an ancient golden cup.
Son of the Minoans,
the hair on his chest and back
dark and curly and sensuous
as tender green shoots
of milfoil—healing all wounds
except the one in my deepest heart.
He is a more than friend
friend, this traveling companion:
we kiss and caress, our passions rising,
yet we turn apart:
he feels such love would be immoral,
he feels he will only share himself fully
with the one he loves
beyond friendship, beyond sensuality.

In the darkness he cries out,
he has had a nightmare:
he is lying naked and someone is poking him,
violating him with sticks.
I would love him but must leave him alone
despite the fact I love his touch and kiss:
he drives me mad with pleasure,
he drives me mad with his fears,
descendant of the Aegean, descendant of Thalos.
Those eyes look at me so clear blue, gray, green
as if they were reflecting the ocean,
his hair like tangled seaweed
capping that face.

This is an adventure being with him
sharing this time and space,
our bodies holding each other
as if we were at sea while remaining apart
about to swim to separate destinations.
For now I take mental pictures
and explore the feel of the currents
and the taste of salt.

Note: Milfoil is another term used for the herb Yarrow, also known as Achillea Millefolium, or Soldier’s Wound Wort—referring to Achilles who reportedly staunched his and his soldier’s wounds with it.

by Bea Garth
published in Poetry USA, copyright 1999

I escaped, somewhat singed,
and became this Irishman’s Goddess
for the time being
until I decided it was too unreal
and went back to my Dragon instead
in search for gold and jade
amongst the fiery lava
finding it at last in a subterranean passage
where he takes off his armor
and brilliant heavy wings. My Dragon,
I stroke his head and nose, laughing,
my Dragon understands
what a Goddess needs.


by Bea Garth
published in Sparring With Beatnik Ghosts Anthology, copyright 2010
The center of gravity pulls us down
down into the depths, down into the chasm we climbed into
with its glistening stalactites and stalagmites
and the tinkling stream full of salamanders.
We crept into the dark
slithering in the mud
your arm in a tourniquet splinted
from a fall from earlier explorations.
Suddenly light begins to stream into the dark cavern,
the large rocks becoming smaller until they are only gray rubble
the blue sky increasing as we walk through this tunnel.
We knock over a rock and discover a steel beetle underneath.
The dank smell of the cave gradually begins to evaporate.
I feel our bodies rising as if they are being pulled to the light,
leaving the cadaverous hole behind us,
strips of gauze from some ancient archetype
unravels from our bodies like chrysalis breaking
as we transform into butterflies in the blue air,
our wings still wet and raw. We begin to flex,
the moment poignant as we shed our fears
and tentatively begin to fly — the air crystalline,
the edge of the few clouds shine silver and gold
a transcendental equation as we fly amongst tall birch
in search for what we know not.

We begin to see a lake off to our right,
cat-tails and marsh grasses stand tall around the near edge
the water a deep ultramarine blue
the sight shocking like an electric volt
as we begin to soar in the air like feathers in the wind.
We bat our wings, translucent in our delight
as we spy a large fish beneath us,
an identification tag dangling in its mouth.
We fear the water would swallow us
like the fish, but we lift higher,
the theorem being that sun and wind above water heats
and we rise slowly then quickly,
batting about like two ecstatic sorcerers,
enjoying the brisk wind pushing us beyond the lake.
Soon we light onto a clump of blackberry bushes
and suck nectar from their white flowers
as we speculate on the meaning of blue
and how it brought us to the light.


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