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.”

Published poet Beatrice Kujichagulia Greene, an African American native of the Bronx New York also creates as a composer, pianist and dramatist. She has received a City of Boston Opportunity award, a Vermont Studio Center grant and a Creative Entrepreneur fellowship from the Boston Arts and Business Council. Her poetry appears in The Bones We Carry, Writers Without Margins, Mojo Extra Anthology, The Lunar Calendar and Oddball Magazine. 

The United Nations Women’s Reporting Network commissioned her to compose and perform a piano composition entitled Spirit Warriors. Women who experience violence based on religion, culture or tradition, and people reporting this, are honored in this piece. Recently Beatrice composed and performed a piano composition entitled The Other commissioned by Violence Transformed, a Boston, MA organization. 

During her one woman show of the poetry and life of Frances Harper, 19th century black woman abolitionist, Beatrice plays trumpet interludes between readings, biographical and historical notes. She currently lives in Boston.