Judy Garland

   You’ve got to make up your mind, he said. Do you want to fuck Judy Garland or be Judy Garland?

   It seemed my entire life would be determined by how I responded. I could tell, by the gravelly graveness in his voice, the snip and barely suppressed roar, that he wanted me to respond, and with snapquickness—I want to fuck Judy Garland.

   I was eight at the time. Or nine. I had seen the Wizard of Oz about a dozen times. I loved the transition from black and white to color. It seemed like a color that appeared nowhere else, and could never be replicated. It was its own unique, one of a kind color, a saturated rendition of a special heaven reserved for only the truest believers. Beyond religion. Beyond sects and codes and creeds and fire alarms. Beyond all of that, lay this jazzy heaven of Oz, a color that asked you to become one with the one with the inner workings of the world’s best kaleidoscope.

   Back then, I didn’t have the words to define those feelings. I couldn’t extrapolate my inner. But that changed after years of throwing words at walls and seeing what stuck and what patterns and formations were created by these wall-meshed words.

   But, yea, Oz itself was my passport to a longed for elsewhere, and now my father, a brute on the shores of his own Normandy, was trampling that which was sacred with his vulgar and unexpected ultimatum: You’ve got to decide…do you want to fuck Judy Garland or become her? Perhaps my father had noticed things about me, things he found concerning. I was too effeminate. Too otherworldly in my pursuits.  Too much this, and not enough that. It, or I, was a math problem he couldn’t quite figure out. And so, he decided to pimp out Judy Garland, dangle her like salacious bait. Who, at the time, in the role of Dorothy, was my senior by about six or seven years. Did I want to fuck her? I had no idea. I loved Dorothy because her voice carried within it the soft and fragile remnants of broken soul and that did something to me. In my heart. In my human. Did I want to be Judy Garland? No. I liked watching her, gallivant around Oz, wander through a dreamscape with richness of vision, a talent for friendship, and sentimental bravery. I appreciated her, that is to say Dorothy, as a voyager. But the idea of me dressing up in a blue dress and wearing my hair in pigtails and playing ward to a noisy little dog named Toto, no thank you, none of that for me.

About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, spoken word performer, and playwright, John Biscello now lives in Taos, New Mexico. He is the author of three novels: Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, and Nocturne Variations, and a collection of stories, Freeze Tag. His fiction and poetry has appeared in: Art Times, nthposition, The Wanderlust Review, Ophelia Street, Caper, Polyphony, Dilate, Militant Roger, Chokecherries, Farmhouse, BENT, The 555 Collective, Instigator, Brass Sopaipilla, The Iconoclast, Adobe Walls, Kansas City Voices, and the Tishman Review. His blog--Notes of an Urban Stray--can be read at johnbiscello.blogspot.com. Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale was named Underground Book Reviews 2014 Book of the Year.
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