I Am Secretly an Important Man BOOK review by John Leamy

Book Reviews
I Am Secretly an Important Man BOOK review by John Leamy
Feb 20, 2008, 23:21


I AM SECRETLY AN IMPORTANT MAN by Steven Jesse Bernstein; Zero Hour Publishing, 1996

Jesse Bernstein was a writer and performer based in the Seattle area who, through the intensity of his performances and the hard living lifestyle which informed his work, gained a sort of minor legend/local icon of the irreverent status in Seattle before being on Sub-Pop was anything to be proud and/or ashamed of. I vaguely remember his piece on the years ago Sub-Pop-200 collection and being, if nothing else, impressed with the conviction with which he spewed his thing about Jackie O. and the shape of his buttocks. The man certainly had a delivery. This collection of his work was assembled after his death in 1991 and some of it is good in a sort of Bukowski meets Burroughs way, and some of it seems unfocused, secondary to what by all accounts was a wacky yegg junkie way of life. At times a jazz trumpet player, whore and ditch digger, Bernstein wrestled with mental instability and nut wards for most of his life before he died, as the book informs us, “of his own hand.” Strange that a book containing a piece that graphically describes in the first person Bernstein's fantasy of turgid sex with the rotting, bloated corpse of Richard Nixon would omit the pertinent details of his demise. Weird stuff. Put some newspaper under this book if you're going to leave it lying around.

-John Leamy


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