Fascism & ‘The Wild’ in ‘DIVE: Odes for Lighea’

Throughout the composition of DIVE I was very conscious of, and sensitive to, the relationship between the mermaid, and Mussolini. In the opening Prelude the mermaid vanquishes Mussolini and his fascist crowd with a mighty roar. Later the mermaid plays directly with Mussolini’s speech by improvising over a distorted and stretched out version of it, exaggerating it and distorting it, but also really digging into it and almost becoming a part of it.

‘DIVE’ is based on Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s short story ‘The Professor & the Siren’, set as Mussolini reaches the pinnacle of his totalitarian power, and the mermaid [1], at the core of the story, and who is so vividly and sensually described by Lampedusa, is a wild feminine divine being.

As I told you Corbera, she was a beast but at the same instant also an Immortal, and it is a pity that no speech can express this synthesis continually, with such utter simplicity, as she expressed it in her own body… Not for nothing is she the daughter of Calliope: ignorant of all culture, unaware of all wisdom, contemptuous of any moral inhibitions, she belonged, even so, to the fountainhead of all culture, of all wisdom, of all ethics...”
– Giuseppe di Lampedusa: ‘The Professor and the Siren

Giuseppe di Lampedusa

Giuseppe di Lampedusa


Is the tale a premise for the struggle between ‘fascism’ and ‘the wild’? Is fascism a polarity to the wild? Or is the tension between the two more complex? What do we mean by ‘fascism’? And what do we mean by ‘the wild’?

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Fascism & Utopia

a poem for extremists everywhere

Blacktop Mountaintop


Fascism is a hair’s breadth from Utopia.

Those who try to force funnel the hard grit gravity ground of everyday into Utopia,
to compel it across the great divide,
turn into extremists, slavemasters, witchhunters.
Naiively they set out to purify the strain, exorcise the demons, exterminate the wrong thinking, abolish the Mixolydians.
They wind up razing the terrain,
sterilising the DNA,
creating mutants and monsters,
which they,
and subsequent generations,
spend their lives chasing,
or running away from.

Pure seeds are so fragile.
Little trees planted in the scarification after the burn.
Acres upon acres,
hectares upon hectares,
kilometres upon kilometres of burn…
God the heat,
the scorching heat on the mountains of burn,
blacktop mountaintops as far as the eye can see.

Here we plant the little tree, the pure seed, the clean gene, the clear clean code,
and wait,
utterly simple single-minded, mono,
for the perfect shoot to grow.




* In my youth I spent summers planting trees.  One season I was in the mountains around Prince George, BC. The mountains had been completely clearcut and then razed by fire, an endeavor so grand in scale that it was, at the time, the only human project significantly visible from space. We planted only one species – one believed to be most profitable 60 years hence when it would be harvested –  to replace the grand diversity that had previously dwelt there for millenium, and returned home each day, head to toe, black in ashes.


We can bomb the world to pieces

“We can bomb the world to pieces,
but we can’t bomb it into peace.”
Michael Franti

‘chosen’ and ‘frozen’

“It is precisely when we start to think of some of us as ‘chosen’ and others as ‘frozen’ that we happily become willing to defrost them with our bombs”
Farid Esack

What we care for most

What we care for most
is what we’re most likely to fight for.
Ain’t it strange
how caring turns into fighting.

What we love most
is what we’re most likely to fight for.
Ain’t it strange
how loving turns into fighting.

The Mouse that Roared

They say ‘silent as a mouse’ ,
but there was once a mouse
still more silent than that
for this mouse never even opened his mouth.
But make no mistake, there was good reason for this;
the mouse knew,
from experience true,
that if he opened his mouth not a peep would come out,
not a peep,
but a ROAR!

The mouse that roared could bring down a house
with the vast sound that would come out
when he opened his mouth.
All the other animals would flee in fear
with that awesome sound ringing in their ears,
save only a few,
the big, brave and dumb,
who from miles around, from far and from near,
would round about come,
to seek out the roar, the source of the sound,
’cause to rule the forest you have to show your might,
you have to give it a fight,
O what a sight!

The lions and tigers and bears would show up,
and rhinos and panthers,
and boa constrictors,
and hippos and leopards,
and poisonous lizards,
scorpions, spiders and laughing hyenas,
elephants, crocks,
and great big gorillas,
but by far worst of all
for a mouse so small,
were the falcons and owls and eagles all regal,
with their eyes that could see day and night night and day
the tiniest movements a tiny mouse could make.

The battleground was prepared all could see,
and all did battle because none could see,
beyond his own wish to rule
his wish to be right
to rule the forest
if not right, then by might.

The gorillas threw down fruit from the trees,
the scorpions brought the bears to their knees,
owls warred lions and tigers through the night,
the falcon drove the rhino right out of sight,
the lizards ate the spiders with glee,
the eagles erred in coming down to see,
the spiders bit the boa constrictor,
the elephant stomped and thought he was victor,
the hippo downed the poisonous lizards,
the panthers and leopards fought though they’re sisters,
the crock bit the hippo right in the butt,
and the hyenas laughed ’till they split a gut.

In the end all were done and none won,
save one who looked on, alone, unsung:
the mouse, the mouse that roared,
who stayed out of the fray and whom all had ignored.
He crawled out from his hole,
surveyed the state of dismay,
and announced that the forest
was free for a year,
or a month or a day,
’till the big brave and dumb
would regret what they hadn’t overcome or won,
and would gather together,
and defeat one another again all over, and all over again,
and the mouse could then announce, once again, plain as day,
that the forest was free,
for a year or a month or a day.


That is why,
you must now know and now see,
that the mouse that roared never made even a peep.
He escaped the uproar his roar would make
and lived alone, yet safe, in a cave.
He bit his tongue, trained it to behave,
knowing yet, if the time should come,
come what may, maybe it would,
that he could open his mouth and roar in need,
and roar he could, roar loud, indeed!

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