the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

The Poet at the Genius Bar

Dear Evanline,

Let me drink from your sacred glass
My mouth filled with your wine
The taste of ambrosia on my tongue, so sweet
I am your servant of love
Your messenger of desire

And that’s when it happened. My iPhone ran out of juice.

“Crap,” I said.

It was 2AM. I was drunk, in bed, writing my love poem to Evanline on my iPhone. You see, like many of you, i do everything on my phone. And I mean everything, from making movie reservations, to Instagram, to trying to get Siri to talk dirty to me. I even sleep with my iPhone on my pillow.

I plugged my iPhone into the charger, but it wouldn’t charge. This was serious. My IPhone was dead.

And for the life of me, I could not remember one word of my poem.

The next day, I woke up early, took the subway to the Apple Store and waited on line at the Genius Bar, my iPhone in hand. I was assigned Ed, a friendly hipster dude in his early thirties with curly hair, thick tortoise shell glasses, and a goatee.

“How can I help you?” asked Ed.

I told him that my iPhone had died at the most inopportune time, and I was desperate.

“I’ll see what I can do.” he said, but added a warning — “I might have to reboot everything and you’ll lose your data. Is that OK?”

My heart stopped.

I pleaded with him, “You need to recover my poem!”

I told him about Evanline, and how this was my only chance to woo her.

I told him how I met her, oh so accidentally, in the bookstore at Grand Central Station. She had just stepped off the Amtrak train. It was her first time in New York. I was on my lunch break. We talked about books, about our common admiration for Charles Dickens, John Irving, and Curious George, or George Et le Camion, as she said in her cute French-Canadian accent.

Man, I love Canadians.

I lied to my office and said that my grandmother had died, an excuse I’ve been using since grade school, and spent the rest of the day with Evanline. It was a day I’ll never forget.

We did uptown, downtown, and then, right on 6th Avenue and 52nd Street, not far from the halal meat cart in front of the Hilton, we kissed.

But, alas, as in many lover’s stories, there’s the moment when the star-crossed lovers must separate. She had to return to Montreal, where she had a promising career as a neurosurgeon.

I waved to her as her train left the station, knowing that this might be the end. But maybe… maybe with a poem, I could change the course of history.

“Dude, ” said Ed. “That is the most romantic story I ever heard. I’m going to recover that poem, and after you win her over, I want to be invited to the wedding.”

“Deal, Dude!” I said.

As Ed went to work on my phone, I fantasized about the future. Evanline and I were in bed together, and I was reading her my poem.

“Read me your poem again!” she would say.

“Again?” i would ask.

“Yes, I never tire of it. It’s why I moved to New York to be with you. Read it to me over and over again.”

Ten minutes later, Ed returned, my iPhone in his hand. His expression was difficult to read.

“I have some good news and some bad news,” he said. “First the good news. I fixed your iPhone and was able to recover your poem.”

“That’s great!” I shouted. “So, what’s the bad news?”

“Well, I read the poem.”

Ed said he was a graduate student in the Columbia University Writing Program.

“This poem is awful!” he said, shaking his head in dismay.

“The taste of ambrosia on my tongue”

“Do you even know what IS the taste of ambrosia?” he asked.

“Uh. Is it like licorice?”

“Rule number one of writing — write from experience. Better you describe her taste as a Raspberry Pop-Tart. At least then you have some authenticity. You’re lucky your phone closed down when it did.”

“I see,” I said, wondering if Siri had become so powerful that she could not only find me a restaurant with tomato soup, but close down the phone to prevent me from sending a woman a bad piece of poetry.

“Listen,” said Ed. “Just be YOURSELF. Do what comes naturally.”

“I already tried that with another woman. I did what came naturally. I emailed her a photo of my penis, and she didn’t appreciate it. And it was a very good quality photo!”

“Jesus! Why do men think women want to see a photo of their dicks? To women, our penises look like overgrown one-eyed rats! They’d rather hear language that melts them into putty. Men are visual. But only a woman can have an orgasm from the rhythm of an iambic pentameter.”

“Wow, women are complicated,” I said. “I’m never going to understand them.”

I felt hopeless of every winning the heart of Evanline. And Ed saw the pain in my eyes.

“Listen, I have a solution. There is another way to win the affection of a woman, specifically created for men who can’t write poetry. It’s not as creative, but it is a truly time-honored solution that has been proven to work.”

He slid a $100 iTunes card under my nose and a bejeweled iPhone case.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“It’s called “buying her stuff!”


  1. thatgirlblogs

    ouch. and I love this. and yeah, he might be genius.

  2. Bon

    there’s actually a happy medium. send Leonard Cohen lyrics.

    • Amy in Philly

      or send Leonard Cohen 🙂

    • Varda (SquashedMom)

      I second the Leonard Cohen suggestion – especially to a Canadian. “I’m your Man”? Is the sexiest song ever written….

      If you want a lover
      I’ll do anything you ask me to
      And if you want another kind of love
      I’ll wear a mask for you
      If you want a partner
      Take my hand
      Or if you want to strike me down in anger
      Here I stand
      I’m your man

      If you want a boxer
      I will step into the ring for you
      And if you want a doctor
      I’ll examine every inch of you
      If you want a driver
      Climb inside
      Or if you want to take me for a ride
      You know you can
      I’m your man….

      • AMS47

        mmm some of the sexiest lyrics ever…personally I like Michael Buble’s cover 😉

      • Shane

        “If you want a boxer
        I will step into the ring for you
        And if you want a doctor
        I’ll examine every inch of you”

        That could, quite possibly, be some of the worst writing I have ever read. You consider that sexy? SMH.

  3. V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios

    Skip the photo.

  4. slouchy

    This made me laugh. Especially as I’d just composed a poem of my own.

  5. Luda

    I consider myself something of a woman and agree to skip the photo. Penises are not attractive, man. It’s just one of those facts of life.

  6. mmrilla

    Loved this!

  7. alejna

    This brought a smile to my face. Or maybe a smirk. In any case, I do enjoy your writing, Neil. (And don’t we get a truth quotient on this one?)

    • Neil

      Hmm. I’m leaving the truth quotient of this one vague.

  8. snozma

    This has happened to me. Where technology intervenes before I send something stupid.

    I say, keep it simple. Write: ‘You’re beautiful. You’re so beautiful.’

    Or something like that: ‘I can’t stop thinking about how beautiful you are.’

    Leave out the sex & sexy stuff until you’ve already had lots of sex and want more.

    But I can’t say I’ve tried this method and it’s been successful. It’s just a gut feeling.

  9. summer

    love this. I love a good smirk before bed.

  10. Megan

    I’d rather have the bad poetry than the dick shot.

  11. denise

    Yes, I agree bad poetry over photos. Unless the photos are of flowers, not sausage. I’d say Pablo Neruda is a solid go to.

  12. Bill Peschel

    Seriously, send your love a link to this post. It will make her laugh and melt her heart.

  13. Redneck Mommy

    Snort. Takes a dick to send a dick shot. Stick with the bad poetry. Better chance you’d get laid.

  14. Juli

    I like poetry as much as the next woman. But I don’t understand why everyone hates the penis photos. What’s wrong with them? I like a good photo, especially if it’s arty.

  15. Irish Gumbo

    Okay, note to self: remove “dick shot” from To Do list.

    Damnit, now I’ll have to rely on poetry. Hopefully, I’m screwed!

    • Neil

      No, you write good poetry. You must impress all the ladies!

  16. Sarah

    I totally LOL’d.

  17. The Honourable Husband

    So, the Genius Bar lives up to its name. Next time I’m there, I’ll ask for help with my term paper on Wittgenstein, and some stock tips.

  18. Paige Jennifer

    Aw, I sorta kinda love this, even if at a certain point your aspirations are dashed.

  19. Stacey

    “You mean just text “I miss you” and attach a photo of my dick?”

    Perfect. I had a good chuckle at that line.

    When we first started dating, my husband wrote me a truly terrible poem about how my love was “sublime” and whatnot. I may have actually preferred a crotch shot. But I’m classy like that.

  20. 180|360

    Nothing screams “trustworthy” better than a dick shot. Loved it, Neil.

  21. Ann

    What is ambrosia? Peaches? Butterscotch? I love the bait and switch when your iphone dies. You got me.

  22. magpie

    Please no photos. Haikus?

  23. A Vapid Blonde

    Fucking awesome.

    Also, if you ever get tested in the future. Ambrosia tastes like marshmellows, fruit, whipped cream and stripper. Stripper equals vannilla FYI. And you know what if you want to say ambrosia…say it.

    Some other words (via wikipedia) used instead of Ambrosia
    delightful liquid
    untameable hallucinogenic mushroom

    So…I think Ambrosia is a pretty cool word. But I’m am kind of a dork so do not listen to me.

    Love your tongue in cheek.

  24. deborah l quinn

    I happen to love the word ambrosia, actually, because it’s so fun to say. Like “episcopalian” and “motherfucker.” I’m fond of polysyllabics, I guess. The gift of a poem is always welcome, if it’s heartfelt…I’m not sure the same could be said of a dickpic. Hard to see how such a photo could be “arty”: a wreath of flowers? artful drapery? a Dali-esque moustache? And I have my doubts about Ed-the-tech-guy. He probably writes very flat, very “real” poetry, in which all transformative language has been abolished in the name of “honesty.” Taste like Diet Coke. Blech.

    • Neil

      Wasn’t there a soft rock group from the 70s called Ambrosia?

  25. Marna - jwoap

    ohsweetjesus, I am so fucking sorry to laugh but damn thanks for the honest of the apple genius bar!

  26. Anne

    It must be tough being a guy. All that upper body strength and all this history saying you’re supposed to act in certain ways. Your sense of humor makes me pretty sure this story and your other ones will have a happy ending.

  27. Hillary

    Oh, my gosh – I laughed so hard at the most inappropriate places.

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