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My Miss America: A Poem Inspired by Ernie Barnes

Updated on February 15, 2012


Walking through the California African American Museum, I was stunned to look up and see the oil on canvas, 49 x 37 inches painting. The bright colors and large size only added to the overall effect of this vibrant piece. I took out a pen and wrote this poem immediately. Art inspires art!

My Miss America

"Ain't I a woman?"

She silently and calmly lifts her head.

The epitome of pride and resilience,

She is Black Queen Mother, Earner, Lifter.

Callused hands, muscled arms, strong, sturdy thighs.

Maculated by a world that doesn't understand her.

The ultimate sacrifice,

Radiating dignified beauty.

In stout arms she carries

Bags of shame, anger and oppression.

Silently, chin up;


Eyes on an invisible prize;


Breasts have fed both man and child;


Remembrances of days sexuality fulfilled;


Home, she arrives, silent.

Dark castle knows no king.

She no longer dares to dream.

Knowing the harsh slap of fantasy

She daily lives in reality.

Strength born from faith,

She sacrifices so WE can live.


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    • Indian Chef profile image

      Indian Chef 5 years ago from New Delhi India

      Krystal very nice poem and girls here in India are known to sacrifice a lot for family and loved ones, which makes girls great.

    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      I will have to check that hub out James. I really enjoyed that Ernie Barnes painting. He was an artist I knew very little about but I have enjoyed learning about recently. Thanks for the warm welcome :)

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

      Your poem is powerful and profound. I published a Hub named "American Painters" in which I feature a different Ernie Barnes painting, "Sugar Shack."

      Welcome to the HubPages Community!

    • NightFlower profile image

      NightFlower 5 years ago

      Now this makes me very proud Krystal, it really does seem over recent years that if we don't lift each other we don't get lifted. I'm not going to say no one appreciates who we are as women but it's under-rated. We've taken a lot of hits over the past in the media with "Why black women are the least attractive among other cultures" the numerous articles of why we don't measure up in other ways. We ourselves have even abandoned our worth so this is really refreshing and just plain gave me goose pimples and if I keep talking I might tear up lol.

    • cleaner3 profile image

      cleaner3 5 years ago from Pueblo, Colorado

      Wow Krystal,

      I just found your hub

      think its kinda neat

      your poetry is powerful

      and your words are sweet

      After reading your words,

      I just say, Oh boy,

      now that Iv'e found your hub

      your poetry I'll enjoy.

    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thanks Rachel!

    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      lawdoctorlee, thank you for reading and I am glad you enjoyed. The painting in person was that real. So consuming! She really swallowed me up and forced me to tell her story.

    • lawdoctorlee profile image

      Liza Treadwell Esq aka Liza Lugo JD 5 years ago from New York, NY the painting inspired you! Your poem is wonderful and as I read it and looked at the painting, I felt like I could hear the words coming out of her mouth.

      Great job on this piece.

    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      rorshak sobchak, Eiddwen and Deborah, thanks for stopping by! I am glad you appreciated this peice :)

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      This is so did a wonderful job...I voted up and awesome..

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      Hi krystal lD;

      I loved this write up also.

      A positive up up and away here.

      I am so glad Sunnie shared your link.

      Take care;


    • profile image

      rorshak sobchak 5 years ago

      Great write up. This was pretty neat. I enjoyed reading. :)

    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Miss_jkim-Thank you for stopping by!

    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thank you Sunnie Day. This art filled with me with that passion! I love they way that happens with art.

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 5 years ago

      This beautiful piece has left me speechless and in awe. Thank you for sharing this wonderful poem, filled with deep emotion.

      God bless,


      I am going to share this on my facebook and twitter...Thanks again.

    • miss_jkim profile image

      miss_jkim 5 years ago

      You've written a great poem and shared a prize hub.

      Voted up and beautiful

    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      You are welcome!

    • NatalieSack profile image

      NatalieSack 5 years ago from Pittsburgh, PA

      Thank you for introducing me to the word "maculate"!