Smoking Cigarrettes With Raphael


Page 45  ‘When You Close Your Eyes’ by Tom Snyder

“We’d be over at Christine’s after school.” Raphael says, “and sit around te kitchen table drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, and eating cinnamon toast. Because, you know, they never had any food in that house. So toast was about the best we could do. But at least we could hang out and smoke, and we sure couldn’t do that at my house. So Greg and Mark, and Chris and I hung out and talked about what seemed important to us.

“Greg had largely dropped out of school and had fashioned an outdoor studio in the backyard studio.” Raphael recalls. “He spent most of the time painting, working on these large somber things with a lot of texture and layers. But they didn’t have any people in them, just turmoil, like heavy dark seascapes – very dark and gloomy. Christine did a few drawings, probably more than we realized, but wasn’t doing any painting when I first knew her. Greg was the artist in the family, and had all his mom’s attention for that. Chris just tried to stay out of the way.”

Christine also tried to stay out of the way in public, but around the kitchen table, she brought the controversial style of both her mother and maternal grandmother to any discussion.”


Smoking Cigarettes With Raphael


John Presco


Raphael and I

smoking cigarettes

together in the dinette

This couquette

who spoke perfect French

had two wondrous dimples

above her derriere

The sign of Libra

the balancing of Love


in days to come

when we were young

sprinkling cinnamon

on the popped toast

eating all the butter.

Sprinkle Sprinkle

Little Star


I couldn’t wait

till Christine came home

from school

I in need of some company

painting all mourning long

as a failure

at seventeen

Large canvases

wiped out

on the fumes

coming in the back door

just to say hello

I lied

Yes I noticed

the dimples at the corner

of your smile

and the twinkle

in your smoke-filled


“Another cigarette



School girls

So innocent

I so jaded

from reading art books

in my high-school

drop-out world

that they promised me

would be a living hell

without them

my schoolmates

in the cafeteria line.

Not for me

the Good Grade

grab bag

of Total lies

What truths

do you own now

Mr. Wise Guy?

“Pas me

the pack of Marlboroughs!”


Mr. Fougette was a French chef

from a line of them

Christine discribed

the seven course meal

while I was hungry

Raphael testified

we Prescos

had no food.

most of the time

Just cinnamon toast

in the alclove

talking art

waiting for the toaster

to do its thing

Pass the butter



Playing scrabble

with the sisterhood

by Rosemary’s

Reseda pool

Everyone of them

is gone

I left alone

to search for words

Christine on the cusp

of being famous

wearing a funny hat

Pass the tile box



have you marked

the X, Q,

and Z?


Cheating at Scrabble

Cheating at Art

I used to pen poems

to my finished work

I declining the guitar lessons

Bryan offered me

telling him I am creating spaces

with no expectations

no comericalisation

allowing un-known notes

to find each other

Scrape Scrape Scrape

the sound of cinnamon toast

and grumbling stomachs

as Raphael and I

looked so cool

smoking cigarettes

in our after-school

Bohemian Hot Spot.


All winter long

we passed the butter

and the time

Mark did not join us

that is a un-artistic lie

I was tempted by

this French maiden

to take her out back

to the little shack I made

the bed I raised

on stolen palletes.

I was her foreign ideal

I owned a European look


If I had seen Raphael

in the nude

we would have had children

and more smoking of ciggerettes

in the afterglow.

Much more after-glow


She had the most

perfect derirre

waiting for me

in our Little Bohemia

carved out of

that giant city

“Plus de toasts cinnomen?”



About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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