junk funk – foto by Smith

Reading about Jimi Hendrix recently I learned there was an incredible gulf between his gregarious reckless confident showmanship on stage and his shy insecure manic depression off stage. He even wrote about it in a song titled (what else) Manic Depression — have a listen.

Wow – how could the not-yet famous guitar player who played with such brilliance when he jammed with Cream that he depressed Eric Clapton so much Clapton had to put down his guitar and walk off the stage be insecure? I mean, the man’s likely the best guitar player dead or alive. Of course, Hendrix said he didn’t play guitar, he played amplifier.

I think it’s basically biological but I always get depressed this time of year, just before my birthday (this will be my 65th). I believe it’s birth cycle depression, perhaps my blood memory of what it was like in the womb, so my psyche knows this is the anniversary of the shocking passage from the warm wet soft darkness of the womb with its soothing thump-thump thumping of my mother’s heart lulling my ears to being squeezed into the restricting unpleasantness of the birth canal and thrust into the shocking cold light and hard noise and slapping violence of the delivery room. Plus mom told me the doctor was holding me upside down by my ankles and slipped and dropped me on my head. No wonder this is my annual depression.

Believe the long 3-4 months of winter cold and dark and ice and snow also contribute, as does cabin fever, the serious lack of light and sun, and lack of funds and fun.

Mostly by-passed my February depression past five years — in 2005 due to the new joy of Lady’s love in my life; 2006 because we were in Croatia on the warm Adriatic Sea and southern France near the even warmer Mediterranean; 2007-9 thanks to 15 months in the sun of southern Mexico. I didn’t have time to notice if it hit me last year back here because we were dealing with a nasty bout of Lady’s mania.

But this year it’s back big time, probably exacerbated by my giving up coffee 6 days ago. Plus Lady’s fighting through another bout of mania which tears us both apart, although she is suffering way more than I. I’d gladly assume her doom and gloom just to make her better.

Looking through 48 years of poetry for the word depress, I had to choose this to post — it’ll put a smile on some folk’s face, disgust in other’s hearts:

Station 4 of 13 from
Stations of the Lost – for Lenny Bruce

I’m impervious to plain
So I’m becoming mannequin depressive
Go out at night
Look up mannequin dresses thru dressing room windows
Down gaping blousefirm fiberglass form
Only female mannequins though
I’m not weird or anything like that
No sick puppy for me
Though I do remember fondly flocking an amoeba
While lost in amoebae lust
They kept bisecting
(were they bisectuals?)
And I used to go out after a rain to pick up earthworms
Take em home
Cut em in half
Watch em regenerate
(Aunt Em Aunt Em I’m home at last)
After awhile would have enough worm parts for an orgy
Though with worms I never knew which end I was entering
(going out the enter only, going in the only out)
Dead chickens and Vaseline are my favorites though
Cuz Vaseline leaves no fingerprints when licked

— Steven B. Smith, 1985

Slate Jesus by Smith, 2006 – foto by Smith

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