November 6, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

AP photo



Betsy Mars




C’est une pipe bomb



Magritte painted a picture of a pipe

and we began to doubt

in this meta world of art and artifice

what our eyes behold,

what we are told –


in such a surrealistic time


when the president jokes

about a bad hair day

as his populace mourns

on a blood-drenched prayer day.


A pipe bomb is not a pipe


in a bubble-wrapped mailer.

A racially motivated murder

is not terrorism if the man with a gun

is not a person of color.


We preach to the choir.

A whispered prayer

becomes a congregant’s scream.

The Treachery of Images –

oil on canvas is harmless

until you light it on fire.






Betsy Mars

Betsy Mars is a Connecticut-born, mostly California-raised poet and educator. Her parents gave her an early appreciation for language and social justice, which her childhood years in Brazil reinforced. She has a bachelor’s and master’s degree from USC which she puts to no obvious use. A mother, avid traveler, and animal lover, her work has recently appeared in The Rise Up Review, Writing in A Woman’s Voice, and The Ekphrastic Review, as well as in a number of anthologies and the California Quarterly.

Editor review


  1. Betsy Mars November 07, at 04:01

    Thank you! I would also love to see that, but the chosen image was also effective in bringing the current realities home. The title came to me and established the poem. I hadn't known the actual name of the work until I researched it.

  2. Garanamoo November 06, at 18:50

    Wonderful poem. I'd love to see it paired, illustrated with the Magritte. Would make it even more powerful.


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