Ceci n’est pas une pipe

Ecem Yucel
| poetry


This is not a pipe, said surrealist painter Magritte about his painting. It looks like a pipe, convinces you, makes you believe that it is a pipe, but you can’t push your hand through the canvas, grab it, take it out, stuff it with tobacco, light it, and smoke. It’s just a representation of a real pipe. People were angry with him because of his treachery when they should have known better. In this world, there are other things we take for granted, just like this pipe, looking like a pipe, yet isn’t a pipe. N’est pas? See, that smile on your face, aimed at me, is not a real smile (ceci n’est pas un vrai sourire). Whatever you say to fill my head and sate my worries is not the truth (ceci n’est pas la vérité). What we have here, between us, that we both thought was special, is not love (ceci n’est pas l’amour vrai). For whose sake then, this façade we’re putting on, as we’re continually chanting in our minds, this is a pipe, this is a pipe, this is a pipe, crumbling our souls and throwing them to the birds so that every morning we wake up to find ourselves less and less of the people we’ve been once? This is not the way to live (ceci n’est pas la façon de vivre). Let’s not be afraid anymore. Let’s admit it to ourselves quietly at first. Then, say it out loud with hoarse voices. Let’s say it once more with feeling. Go shout it off the rooftops. Don’t be deceived; whichever way we pretend, this aesthetically shaped, polished, damning pipe that we cling on so hard, that reminds us of the scent of a good tobacco and happier days: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.

Ecem Yucel (she/her) is an Ottawa-based Turkish writer and poet who holds an MA in World Literatures and Cultures from the University of Ottawa. Her writing has recently appeared or is forthcoming in The Evergreen Review, HAD, Overheard, Stanchion, Autofocus, Idle Ink, Kissing Dynamite, and Selcouth Station, among other publications.

Welp [Found Poem among Yelp Reviews of a Local BBQ]