the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

The Boy Who Cried Goose


Sophia, my mother, and I are sitting on the porch in Cheshire, MA, looking at the lake and the “geese” on the lawn.

Sophia: “You know, Neil, you might need to write a retraction on your blog. You told them all that you chased away these geese, but, um, I think they are ducks.”

Neil: “Ducks? You think so?”

Mom: “What’s the difference?”

Sophia: “Geese and ducks are as different as wolves and dogs.”

Mom: “Yeah, but wolves eat dogs. Geese don’t eat ducks.”

Sophia: “What does that have to do with anything?”

Mom: “I don’t know, but it’s true.”

Neil: “What do ducks eat anyway?”

Sophia: “I think they eat fish.”

Neil: “So, why are they always here on the lawn, looking for food?”

Sophia: “They must also eat grass.”

Mom: “Maybe these ducks are vegetarian.”

Neil: “I thought the reason ducks came out of the water was to clean themselves off.”

Sophia: “What do you think, ducks are like cats?”

Mom: “Wouldn’t it make more sense if they just cleaned themselves off while they swim? They’re in the water already, for God’s sake!”

Neil: “I wonder if ducks and geese even get along?”

In other news, my relationship with Emily Dickinson has spiraled out of control. After our one night stand at her New England home, she’s called me on my phone ten times. When I stopped answering, she sent me a text message saying that she’s thinking about me constantly . She even wrote a poem about me for this week’s Poetry Thursday.

Wild nights! Wild nights! by Emily Dickinson

Wild Nights! Wild Nights!
Were I with thee,
Wild Nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile the winds
To a heart in port,
Done with the compass,
Done with the chart!

Rowing in Eden!
Ah! the sea!
Might I but moor
To-night in Thee!

I send her an IM telling her that I’m really not in a position to start a serious relationship.

She IM-ed back:

“And what exactly did you think we WERE HAVING when you pushed me against the Italianate style armoire in my drawing room and took pleasure in the ‘rhythm of delight’?”

“Huh? I answered.

“We f***ed, you asshole!” she wrote back.

I immediately blocked this crazy Emily chick and made myself “invisible” on Yahoo messenger.

This morning, I woke up early hoping to look at the lake outside my window. Instead, I found a dead, bloody duck (or was it a goose?) hanging from my window sill, “Fatal Attraction”-style. Attached was a handwritten note from Emily Dickinson:

“Nathaniel Hawthorne was a better lay.”

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: Marketers, Over Here!


  1. Miss Syl

    Fraud! Charlatan!

    Emily Dickinson *clearly* did not write that poem to you. Because, as any former little miss English Lit major smarty-pants like me knows, EVERY Emily Dickenson poem can be sung to the tune of “The Yellow Rose of Texas.”

    (Try it. You’ll see).

    Humph. I bet you didn’t even shtup her, either.

  2. Miss Syl

    Um, though obviously I’m not smarty-pants enough not to stick a typo in “Dickinson.” Maybe it was just subconsciously, after all your false shtupping claims, the actual spelling just seemed too bawdy for me.

  3. Priss

    is mighty free
    with the exclamation point

  4. Fitèna

    This gal, you actually met her or was it all virtual and she took it way too seriously! lol! 🙂

    You’re funny Neil, ever told you that!? And I love the conversations you guys have! 🙂


  5. idighootchandcootch

    you should have sent a note back “so were the Bronte sisters”.

  6. helen

    I don’t believe you!! U wouldn’t write your ‘Fatal Attraction’ here coz Sophia reads your blog, right? lol

  7. Roberta

    Maybe they’re chickens.

    You are practically a farmer.

  8. The Retropolitan

    I’m still waiting to find out if you or Wharton won in the wrestling department.

  9. Paris Parfait

    Brilliant, Neil! By the way, geese are much taller than ducks. I’ll see some in Hyde Park tomorrow when I’m in London and take a picture for you.

  10. Alissa

    Ouch – don’t tick off Emily! She’s depressed enough Neil!

  11. justrun

    Pretty hilarious. All of it.

  12. Rabbit

    But your writing is way more entertaining than Hawthorne’s.

    This post, for example, was hysterical.

  13. Jessica

    Sigh. That Emily D. really is a basket case. No wonder she is often noted as being a recluse – no one can stand being around her!

  14. Sarah

    I heard that about Hawthorne.

    I can’t believe you mistook ducks for geese. Here’s a tip…walk up to one, and if it hisses and spits at you, then lunges for your fingers or crotch, it’s a goose. Run for your life!

  15. Margaret

    Sarah just explained the game Duck, Duck, Goose.

  16. Jenni

    This reminds me of the poncho conversation I had with my mom and my sister.

    And what’s with Emily Dickinson? Sheesh, what a spaz.

  17. Kevin

    I think Neil’s been sniffing too much fresh air. Time to get back to the smog of L.A., Neil! The air is giving you hallucinations of sexual grandeur. Post mortem sexual grandeur, at that.

  18. tiff

    ED = Emily Dickinson, and also erectile dysfunction. Be careful Neil, she’s a total ball-buster.

  19. Think Frustrated

    I hope you used protection. Emily Dickinson, as her name suggests, loves the penis. She is probably dirtier than a bus station toilet. Back in her reclusive days, she used to order male escorts and do them, two at a time, with wanton abandon, and total disregard for her health and well-being. I’m just sayin, man, she’s a slut. I hope your penis doesn’t fall off. We’d all miss the conversation. BTW, what does Neil’s penis have to say about this encounter?

  20. Tara

    Hmmmm, Hawthorne, eh? She didn’t just happen to give you his phone number or email address or anything did she?

  21. Nance

    If Hawthorne’s sexual prowess is anything like his writing style, then he probably makes a big deal out of nothing.

  22. kristen

    You are too funny! I don’t think ducks eat fish; I think they eat those nasty, scum-hovering bugs you find lurking along the edges of water. They most definitely eat carbs; our town duck pond practically has a bread crumb dispenser next to the benches, the birds are fed that much.

  23. jules

    Neil, you are such a city boy and being such you should have known better than to have a one night stand with a drama queen like Emily…

  24. lizardek

    He might have been a better lay but I bet his blogging sucked.

  25. peefer

    Bashing dead poets is the best. This place makes me happy, Neil.

  26. wordgirl

    I think I missed something…somewhere.

  27. Dagny

    *sigh* You need to get out of the city more often. Next thing you know you’ll be calling those birds swans.

    Oh, and Emily? You should have known better. She always seemed a little unbalanced to me.

  28. chantel

    Swoon, I’m blog crush of the day. I never could have dreamed of such an honor.

    P.S. That Emilly chick, I taught her everything she knows.

  29. Edgy Mama

    Hawthorne? Pleeezzzze.

    I would have gone for Wordsworth myself.

    Chicks named Emily always seem prim and proper, but get them in the bedroom, and kaboom! Or so I’ve heard.

  30. Blonde Vigilante

    Here I send you this email and go on and on about how scared shitless I am of my mother’s geese and the whole time they were only ducks.

    Be careful with Em…she’s a very sickly girl.

  31. Sandra

    You should have had your penis respond. If I remember correctly, he sings a good song.

  32. Pearl

    No words, Neil, just a big ear-to-ear grin and a brief laugh aloud.

  33. Painterbeachgirl

    that post took quite a turn. ducks and geese tend to eat seeds from the grass or something.

  34. akaky

    1.) How do you propose to get from Massachusetts to NYC?

    2.) Who doesnt know the difference between ducks and geese? Geese are larger and have nastier tempers. They can be trained, though; according to The Secret History by Procopius, the Byzantine Empress Theodora, back in the days before she met up with the emperor Justinian and was merely the sixth century equivalent of a modern porn star, had a gaggle of geese specially trained to peck grain out of her genitalia for the edification of the Byzantine peep show going public.

    3.) Never eat at a diner called Mom’s, never play poker with a guy named Doc, and never sleep with a woman who has more problems than you do–Nelson Algren.

    You are obviously ignoring most of this very sage counsel, good sir, especially the part about skipping high maintenance dead chicks.

  35. Leah

    Geese aren’t very nice. I can understand your urge to run from them. They also love to poop all over walkways and bicycle paths. At least that’s been my experience.

    And this Emily chick sounds like a scream.

  36. Neil

    OK, we finally asked a knowledgeable neighbor. We have both ducks AND geese. The geese are the ones with the longer necks. More specifically, we have mallards and Canadian geese. And both hang out with each other. Answer me this — if ducks and geese can live in peace and harmony, why cannot men and women?

  37. cherchezlafemme

    So, are those ducks or geese? I saw one of them fly overhead in a downtown Seattle store parking lot. Wonder if it was the same one. Hey, LA to Seattle isn’t that far .. as the duck flies.

  38. Jules

    Neil, I’m going to help you out with a little more goose knowledge. They’re called Canada Geese. I know, I know…makes sense and actually sounds better as Canadian Geese, but they aren’t Canadian, some are actually American.

  39. Dustin

    You sure know how to pick the winners Neil.

  40. plain jane

    Hilarious post!

    Info on ducks and what they eat–

    Info on CANADA geese and what they eat–

    Fun Fact: Ducks love to eat slugs, so in the Pacific Northwest some gardeners use ducks to keep the slug population under control.

  41. plain jane

    P.S. Love the title!

  42. cruisin-mom

    why the F*#k are you blogging when you’re on vacation?

  43. rachh

    ‘Rhythm of delight’ eh, you dark horse Neil, geese, veggie ducks, Emily, Fatal Attraction, sound like a fantastic hol.

  44. Lynn

    No fair. Emily Dickinson never calls me, and I’ve given her my number bunches of times.

  45. Dating Dummy

    Geese, ducks… they probably both taste like chicken anyway.

  46. Lauren

    At the lake near my house, ducks and geese get along. Swans however, are mean SOBs and chase everyone away.

  47. 2nd Pearl at the Post

    You’re a wild wild wild read fella.

    Just don’t get me started on how loons are not ducks either.

  48. girlgoyle

    Ouch…comparison to Nathaniel H. in bed would’ve been a total blow to my ego.

  49. Kate

    Why do I suddenly have a craving for Peking Duck?

  50. mernitman

    Methinks you’ve been reading Melissa (“Tie me up and ask me to read Chekov to you”) a bit too much lately…

  51. vivian

    When I posted a photo of what I believe to be “ducklings”, my friend kindly pointed out it is actually “geese”..I felt so much better after reading this,knowing that I am not alone, love the part about Wolf and Dog… question….

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