Monday, October 12, 2015

Bea Garth and Fats Waller

Let's take a break this Monday evening -- and dance with Bea Garth and Fats Waller!

Always Too Big
(after Fats Waller’s “Your Feets Too Big”)

My “feets too big”
definitely way too big
as my body sways
in lively exuberance
to Fats Waller’s
irreverent rhythms
my long toes waving and tapping
thinking of him and Harlem, Harlem blues
a horn picks up the beat
from his impossible piano rhythms
while Fats’ deep belly trills, serenades
his whole  body at play
my feet smiling: always too big
remembering how I had
to get bigger shoes
thinking I’d grow taller
but  never did
and I imagine myself
transported careening, my feet dancing
the sun shining on my bright yellow dress and red hat;
Fats jumps up and takes my hand,
twirls me around, looks me up and down,
tells me I might be beautiful, otherwise,
and shakes his head
with a broad grin and wink,
while declaring my “feets are definitely too big,”
he “can’t use” me “cause my feets too big”
he points to my oversized feet
singing from his big belly: “tra la la ah!”
and all I can do is smile
since I am “ruined” cause my “feets too big”
my grin almost as broad as Fats
on this sunny day
my yellow dress and red hat shining
my feet happy since they are “useless”
being way “too big”
as Fats explains
the “Only Reason” no one wants me
is “Just” cause my “feets too big”
so I shake my head and wave my fingers
in a knowing point
smiling at Fats wink and rotund belly
my feet buoyant
as I dance down
the street.

Bio: Bea Garth is known for her narrative poetry as well as for her unique visual art. Early on Bea was influenced by her grandfather and great aunt’s love of poetry  plus exposure to ancient art and myths due to her parents’ early occupation as ethnologists/archaeologists. She has been an extemporaneous poetry and arts organizer and editor off and on for many years in the San Jose, California area and previously in Eugene, Oregon. Currently she is president of Quicksilver Artists, a San Jose art and poetry group. She is  often found painting and writing in her studio with  her cat Keiko or renovating houses as a property manager. Her manuscript of poetry and line drawings called Eating the Peach  will be published by Blue Bone Books by early next year. She has previously had poems and artwork published in a variety of small press magazines including The Song Is, Synchronized Chaos, Lake City Poets, Poetry USA, Sparring With Beatnik Ghosts, Caesura, Fresh Hot Bread,  Alchemy, Poetic Space, Denali, Coyote’s Dance, The Other Paper, Writing For Our Lives,  Sheffield Phoenix Press (cover for Where The Wild Ox Roam) and the poetry anthologies Elegant Stew, Women’s Dreams/Women’s Visions and Song of Los Gatos. You can find examples of Bea's artwork and poetry at 

Of course, we'll start the music with Fats Waller's "Your Feet's Too Big": 

Louis Jordan (and Bing Crosby) chime in with "Your Socks Don't Match":

Here's more Fats Waller..."Ain't Misbehavin'":

This is a recording of a radio broadcast (Fats Waller in 1938):

I'll finish with Cab Calloway's version of "Jumpin' Jive."  The Nicholas Brothers will also appear in this video:


1 comment:

  1. I really liked your poem Bea and then listening to what I could hear of the music--my parents had all those early records of Fats and I could get the gist of it, the rhythms, and exuberance. It was wonderful the way it all brought me back to childhood.
    Thank you.