2021
POETRY OPEN
Second Prize
$100 Award

EYES (circa 1990)

by Beatrice Kujichagulia Greene

She sat everyday

in front of the Lenox Hotel

 

in lotus pose on a blanket.

I noticed her long, thin arms

 

bare during warmer weather,

her wrinkled but clean apparel.

 

Her brunette hair, long, stringy

framed a ruddy, oval

 

much younger than me

white woman’s face.

 

She did not speak, held no cup,

nor outstretched hand

 

her gaze cycled from

empty to sad to peaceful.

 

More than one passerby told me

she, a college grad, once worked for a

 

large Boston publishing house.

What happened? Had she strived

 

to be perfect for old men in suits

working longer hours

 

using yet hiding her intellect

to battle in-house mind games?

 

As she sat on that blanket

I knew she could be me.

 

One day, when I reached out my hand

to give her dollar bills

 

her eyes became mine, her face mine.

Then hers returned to her as

 

her irises brightened

and she said “Thank you.”

Beatrice Kujichagulia Greene was born to African American parents in the South Bronx. Her poems have appeared in The Bones We Carry, Writers Without Margins, the Lunar Calendar and exhibitions at City Hall in Boston, Massachusetts.

In a production she created about the life of Frances Harper, Black woman, abolitionist and poet, she incorporates historic, biographic highlights as well as music between dramatic readings of Harper’s works. 

Her piano compositions include Spirit Warriors commissioned by the United Nations Reporting Network and The Other commissioned by Violence Transformed, a local Boston organization. Beatrice has received degrees in philosophy, law and music.