Heiko Julien occupies an interesting, ambivalent venn diagramatic space in the (alt)literary world – somewhere between, or at least working toward being somewhere between, the poet Steve Roggenbuck and the novelist/poet Tao Lin. On Facebook – which it seems he has just left, at least for the time being – he alternates between inspiring life coach and in-depth autobiographer almost undetectably.
Weaving together poetry and prose, conscience and disconnect, even apathy, on personal and social levels, Julien's book (playfully titled I am Ready to Die a Violent Death, encapsulating the whole project from the off) is a collection of sometimes witty, sometimes moving observations and juxtapositions.
Below are two selections from the chapter "I Do It".
I Forgive You in the Forest
With the woods and the trees.
It takes a lot out of me.
I rub a leaf on my sweaty forehead.
“We should be very sympathetic to teenagers because
they are just starting to realize how terrible everything
is and if I remember correctly it is very painful,” I say at
“I want to be downsized from my middle management
job at a reputable company during a thunderstorm in
20 years,” is the sort of noise you make in my direction.
“I am insanely jealous of you, like so super jealous,”
we say at each other at the same time and it’s true.
And things orbit around.
Radioactive materials decay.
When people are heavy, sit with them. When entropy
increases, order me around.
Tax my energy over time like everything else.
I will chaperone you to a relevant outdoor music fes-
tival and you can push me around in a bassinet once
we get there.
Shoot me with a gun in the United States of America.
I Am Going to Put on a Pair of Jeans
I am going to put on a pair of white jeans and you are
going to push me down the stairs.
I am going to put on a pair of black jeans and you are
going to roll over my toes with your car on accident.
I am going to put on a pair of blue jeans and you are
going to sell my organs on the black market to pay off
your student loans.
I am going to put on a pair of yellow jeans and you are
going to put my other jeans in the dryer so that they
are all toasty warm and then watch me try each of
them on one at a time.
I am going to put on a pair of green jeans and you are
going to show me a power point presentation on the
dangers of sexting.
I am going to put on a pair of purple jeans and you are
going to drive me out to the arboretum and we are go-
ing to go for a hike and not really talk to each other that
much and wonder if its a problem.
I am going to put on a pair of oversized jean shorts
and you are going to take me to the pet store and we
are going to look at the different puppies and consider
playing with some of them but decide not to and go to
a restaurant instead.
I am going to put on a pair of knee high cut off shorts
and you are going to ask me about a bunch of Cool
Bands I have never heard of while we are riding bikes.
You are going to shout unfamiliar names back at me
while we are riding on the street and I am going to pre-
tend I understand by smiling and shouting Yeah but I
can't really hear you because it’s too windy.
I am going to put on a pair of pleated department store
khaki slacks and you are going to drive me to the mall
and pretend to be interested in buying a cellphone case
from an overzealous salesman at a kiosk because you
are lonely even though we are together.
I am going to put on a pair of stiff corduroys and you
are going to lower the basketball hoop on my parents
driveway to six feet so we can both do slam dunks.
I am going to put on a pair of long johns and you are
going to try to get me into a critically acclaimed cable
TV series on Netflix and I am going to do my best to
I am going to put on a pair of sweatpants and wander
out into the forest in the middle of the night, in the dead
of winter, with my iPod playing static on repeat, and you
are going to remember me the way I wanted to be re-
membered; by my collective social media output.