LA LOCA, an
award-winning poet from the cutting edge of j performance‘art,talks g to Philip Parr about how ' she makes poetic justice
of a world of squalor, sexism and sadism and
still remains ecstatic.
he poetry of Pamala Karol (aka La Loca
— The Crazy Woman) reads like a
breathless stream ofconsciousness. If
the pace ever starts to relent she senses
it and sends out a series ofstaccato
rhythms to set matters to rights. The reader struggles to keep up but is compelled to do so by Karol’s irresistible combination of angst and lyricism. This is no fraud stepping out of comfortable middle-class suburbia and putting on a mask ofthe tormented artist. She has lived in a world of squalor, sexism and sadism and she’s going to tell you all about it. She talks how she writes— there’s no ‘inhibition‘ in La Loca‘s vocabulary.
‘Sometimes I really hate having that pseudonym' says Pamala (the misspelling ofthe name is not a cute quirk but the simple result of her mother's ignorance). ‘I really cringe when I get introduced. At my first reading. the MC asked me how I’d like to be introduced and I said [a Loca. That came about because one of the 20 million guys that I’ve dated happened to be Cuban. He’s actually really famous now -- I‘m not going to tell you who he is but he‘s just been signed up to play in Godfather III (work it out for yourselves boys and girls). Anyway. we had nothing in common and also he neglected to tell me that he had a fiance’e. But what can you do, it was someone to date and there‘s really a desert of men in California.‘
‘When I went out with this guy. I had a lot of Cuban friends and I heard through the grapevine that whenever my name was mentioned he would scoffand laugh and ridicule me and call me La Loca. In English it sounds really cute but in Spanish, it’s a vicious, really ugly denegration. Los Angeles has the most ascerbic class distinctions and it was like a sin that I came from the absolute rock bottom — gruelling poverty. Almost everyone I dated came from very wealthy families so for them to spend time with me they were slumming it. They all used to say that I was insane. Taking on the epithet was like that Buddhist idea of non-resistance or to quote Jesus Christ ‘agree with thine adversary quickly‘. I realised that all along my instincts had been correct. They had been telling me the right things to do for the betterment of my own life but I had always been acquiescent to mother fuckers. Sol adopted the pseudonym almost out ofspite.‘
The poetry contained in her book. ‘Adventures on the Isle of Adolescence‘ illustrates a soul on a perpetual quest for peace which always seems just
I don 't usually get myself
into these situations.
His bedroom is a catacomb.
There is a poster of Farrah Faweett. There is the playmate of .I My.
There is his fiancee
herfaceframed in wrought iron atop his pine bureau
He wears an executioneer's hood
as he is naked
and comes into his
bed of nails
and reaches for me.
Nothing in his bedroom nay-says but his fiancee 's farsighted eyes.
[do not thank him.
Beneath shrouds and shrouds of history ‘ f at the spiral :21;- he dreams of slicin g somebody 's white neck. I'll live as long as I'm myopic ‘- so I remain objective.
He's stabbing Miss J ulv
His body becomes a metronome. It 's bloody
and herscream is making a mess so he pulls out her vocal chords and cuts them. What a hell ofan orgasm.’ And me.
out of reach. Ghosts of the past loom large. [m “53"”! ‘The two people who raised me — my mother and as a ‘8 "[1 my grandmOther — were really psychotic and of“ nude
completely filled with hate; the cruellest human beings I ever met. They had a kind ofserial murderer mentality. Some people commit the moral equivalent of serial murder on their children — they demolish the child‘s ego and leave them a squashed human being. I was a battered child who grew up to be a battered woman — re-eonacting the childhood situation ofeternal Victimisation.’
‘1 am forty years old and the last few years have been the only time in my life that anything good has happened to me. It was 38 years ofcrving myselfto sleep at night, incessant misery'and contemplation ofsuicide. That’s one ofthe reasons why I wasn’t successful at dating— who wants to hook up with somebody who‘s morbidlv depressed.’ '
‘A girlfriend who’s known me since I was eleven said. ‘you’re not insane anymore. you’ve got a really nice life, you’ve got acknowledgement;
4Thc List 13 — 261u|y1990