Smoke on the Water

Chilling in between the sun and the shadows

Relatively free of weight

A light synth beat in my head

Broken angel wings strewn across the bed

Shining with dew and fairy dust.

Open curtains at the windows

Letting in late summer light

Autumn on the horizon with its scent of death

Carried on ghostly fingers like a lover’s breath

Trembling with the fragility of time.

The Vampire Elf Queen

Her name is Queen Ivory, and I love her because she is different from the one I knew before.

She is the elf queen of the Emerald Palace. She has long golden locks, bright blue eyes, and skin white as milk.

She tells me she loves me. “Human women,” she says, “they are so fickle. One moment they express interest, the next moment they have flitted away – pssh – after some colorful butterfly.”

“Ah, yes,” I say groggily, having become drunk on her darkenberry wine.

“They cannot sate you the way I can,” she goes on to say, locking my eyes with her ice-blue gaze.

“Perhaps not,” I whisper, the world swimming before my eyes. “But still – I loved her.”

“Did you?” she inquires. “You humans cannot even comprehend the meaning of love. ‘I love you, I love you,’ you are always blathering the words – but what the fuck do you think they mean?”

I shake my head, spilling my wine over the front of my shirt. Tears are pouring down my face.

“I suppose I don’t know,” I murmur lifelessly.

She comes forward to take my glass, then dashes it down against the stones. Broken glass skitters everywhere.

“Do you trust me?” she asks.

“Yes,” I whisper, looking dumbly into her ice-blue eyes.

She kisses me, sucking with her lungs, drawing the entirety of my soul from my body. Then she lowers her mouth to my neck, more vampire than elf, and drains the blood from my veins.

“You silly humans,” she whispers, patting my cheek with her warm hand. “You do not know what love is.”

My last sight is of her bright white dress, slithering away from me, as I fall down to the cold, bloody stones.

The Real Origins of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Middle-earth”

Most Old English poets were anonymous, and only a few are known by name. Cynewulf was one of them. The works definitively attributed to him are but four: Juliana; Elene; Fates of the Apostles; and The Ascension.

While the modern reader may need a little help to understand who Cynewulf was, I’m sure hardly anyone needs help with the name J.R.R. Tolkien. The great Mr. Tolkien: inventor of an entire world and language, father of the hobbit.


But here’s the interesting part. It could be argued that a line from Cynewulf’s The Ascension sparked the entire body of Tolkien’s work. The line reads:

“Hail Earandel brightest of angels

Above middle-earth sent unto men.”

Anyone even slightly familiar with Tolkien’s work – heck, even anyone who’s seen one of the Lord of the Rings movies – can jump right on that inference. I mean, come on. Middle-earth? I think we’re seeing the parallel here.


In Anglo-Saxon England, “Middle-Earth” (also known as “Midgard”) was the name for the world inhabited by, and known to humans. It was a remnant of early Germanic cosmology, and referred specifically to one of the Nine Worlds in Norse mythology.

After reading Cynewulf’s The Ascension, Tolkien said, “There was something very remote and strange and beautiful behind those words, if I could grasp it, far beyond ancient English.”

While studying at Oxford, Tolkien developed a language that is known now as “Quenya.” Below is an example of the word Quenya written in Tolkien’s script, Tengwar.


Tolkien thought that the language of Quenya needed an internal history: “one spoken by elves, whom his character Eärendil meets during his journeys.” The next step was the “Lay of Eärendil,” a work composed of several poems describing Eärendil, his voyages, and the manner in which his ship was turned into a star.

Around 1914, Tolkien wrote a poem called “The Voyage of Eärendil the Evening Star,” published in The Book of Lost Tales 2. “Eärendil” means “lover of the sea” in Quenya.

But Eärendil was destined to become more than just a poem. Eärendil the Mariner is depicted in Tolkien’s The Silmarillion as a child of Men and Elves: a great seafarer who, upon his brow, carried the morning star across the sky.

Here is an illustration of Eärendil the Mariner with his wife Elwing in the form of a bird, drawn by Jenny Dolfen.


According to the index of The Silmarillion, Eärendil was:

“Called ‘Halfelven’, ‘the Blessed’, ‘the Bright’, and ‘the Mariner’; son of Tuor and Idril Turgon’s daughter; escaped from the sack of Gondolin and wedded Elwing daughter of Dior at the Mouths of Sirion; sailed with her to Aman and pleaded for help against Morgoth; set to sail the skies in his ship Vingilot bearing the Silmaril that Beren and Lúthien brought out of Angband.”

Humphrey Carpenter (an English biographer, writer, and radio broadcaster) remarked in his biography of Tolkien that Eärendil “was in fact the beginning of Tolkien’s own mythology.”

So: Cynewulf’s poem spurred the creation of Eärendil the Mariner, and also of Tolkien’s Middle-earth, the setting for his great works. The above line from The Ascension can be compared to a quote from Frodo Baggins’s in The Two Towers.

He says: “Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima!” (Which means): “Hail Eärendil, brightest of stars!” In this case, Frodo’s exclamation was in reference to the “star-glass” he carried, which had been given to him by Galadriel, and which contained the light of Eärendil’s star, the Silmaril.

#Vintage #Photography: Madhouse.



“I am a prisoner in this house, which seems full of mad people. More I know not; and nothing do I understand.” — From “The Sire de Malétroit’s Door” by Robert Louis Stevenson.


Is that man looking at me?

Why is he smiling?

Perhaps he wants to cut off my head.


Can you see him, too?

Maybe he isn’t real.

Maybe I should cut off my own head.




(More vintage memoirs to come. All photos obtained from New Old Stock.)