About this site

Welcome to CyberStanza, a poetry site with a  focus on living & learning in a technocentric world. CyberStanza poetry will address both the positive and negative influences, or impacts, of technologies on human behaviour as well as on the environment we live in. Technology encompasses quite a broad canvas of possible topics, e.g. cyber or digital technologies, modes of transport, and our energy sources. If you would like to participate please see the Submissions & Philosophy page.

Twitter: @cyberstanza
Web: cyberstanza.org or cyberstanza.com

Half Life

by Derek Morrison

Half truth, post-truths, across the internet they fly
Echo chambers for believers, amplifying the lie
Opinion flooding cyber-fields promoted now as news
Reinforcing prejudices, seeds malignant views
Promoting instability and disorder, seeking pandemonium
Injected into virtual-space, with the half-life of plutonium.

Being strange

by Derek Morrison

They label me strange and not much fun
But as a problem-solver I’m number one
Their obsessive sociability I can’t understand
With no attention to detail, they never expand
They are so easily distracted,  they make no gain
And their lack of routine I just can’t explain –
Yet they label me strange, and so cause much pain.

Born with a brain-filter tuned really high
Excluding irrelevancies, so precision can fly
While my inner world is not a bad place
But others have needs that I share this space
So they come knocking, must join the crack
Must play their games, be one of the pack –
Yet my brain is wired for a different track.

My need to focus and perceived lack of tact
Obsession with routines, details, and fact
And nuance and irony simply pass me by
So ‘aloof’, or ‘arrogant’ becomes the common cry
Lack of sociability can make me appear rude
And absence of guile makes me sans shrewd –
Plenty of scope then to miss what is good.

They label me strange, yet now seek to be me
Eyes glued to shiny screens –  it’s all that they see
Headphones in ears and gaze fixed down
Thresh in Twitter-waters, trying not to drown
No crying baby, no outer-space must distract
Social skills degrading as sliding fingers act –
Training for autism, embracing Devil’s Pact.

Seeking re-tweets or to collect lots of ‘friends’
Feeding the stormy churn of latest trends
More comforting than the world outside
Status proclaimed, boasting gadget pride
But in connected isolation they are not like me
Constantly distracted, they are far from free –
Strangeness indeed in humanities’ new sea.

Background & Commentary Continue reading

e-Constipation@Gatwick

by Derek Morrison

Journey over, flight now landed
But suffering time now expanded
2 long queues at border control
Dampens the travel-weary soul
1 snaking line offers human touch
A seductive other, technology’s clutch
Gambling then on which is faster
Digital must surely be the master
Opting then for e-passport control
Down Alice’s Wonderland rabbit hole
The Mad Tea Party made more sense
Even the saintly were growing tense
As more passengers joined the crowd
Government posters declare they’re proud
But constipation struck the tortuous queue
Technology’s false profit[phet] making tempers stew
And the queue got longer.

The border officer with a rictus smile
Forced calm in voice; walks the aisle
“It’s really easy”; he demos the art
“Passport face downwards, show this part
Now step through the gate and face the glass
Facial recognition will let you pass”
But computer doesn’t know you, or is way too slow
Crowd grows more restless, no sense of flow
One poor innocent chap could not get out
Confusion on face, what’s this about?
“What’s the point of all this?” One woman protested
Filled with rage at tax millions invested
A functionary jotted some comments down
But auto-bureaucracy still wore the crown
And the queue got longer.

The officer gave up and guides some up the line
For real people to process which suited us fine
Meanwhile, the other queue had shrunk to nil
But at e-passport control? They are there still.

Commentary
Continue reading

Slaves

by Derek Morrison

Souls sucked through seductive screens
Connected to the matrix; sharing
But somehow not; communicating
In 140 characters or less
Over 1000 miles or; sending
Just 1 metre.

Self-worth; judging
From ‘likes’; by ‘friends’
Or is that strangers; providing
A brief heat, but no lasting light
From virtual Tinder
Encounter vending-machines; degrading
Courtship, intimacy, touch, and time.

Edited stories; scripting
Perfect worlds; portraying
Images: contriving
Onlookers; deceiving
And self; deluding
Projected idyllic lives; cloaking
Idyllic lies.

Twittering egos the Cloud; seeding
Silent yet strident prattle; creating
A cold polluting fog; obscuring
Metamorphoses as yet unseen
Digital disciples; surfing
Vast oceans of distraction; digesting
Small fragments only; drowning
Vestiges of reflection.

Power; amplifying
Or is that draining?
Vested interests; promoting
Privacy; denaturalising
Democracy; diluting

Efficiency; exaggerating
Empathy; eroding
Humanity; sculpting
Autistic slaves; serving
Intelligent machines; making
Stupid humans.

Souls sucked through seductive screens
In virtual space we hear no screams.

Commentary (work-in-progress) Continue reading

Victims

by Derek Morrison

Life not gone well
A need to blame
Any cause will do
Delusion of fame
Join virtual mob

To shout real loud
It’s never wrong
This wisdom of crowd
Gather with ‘friends’

Thought crime to seek
Insult and outrage
Primed ready to peak
Reputations drowned

Virtual tsunamis to ride
Crush protests of innocence
Leave nowhere to hide
Just a bit of re-tweeting

Is all that it takes
Amplifying echoes
Absence of  brakes
No smoke without fire

So guilt is assumed
Belief comes first
Truth is subsumed
Outraged of Twitter

Volume set loud
Prays for significance
But hide in the cloud
Punishment beatings

140 characters or less
Feel deviant power
Ramp up their stress
And micro-aggressions

A sign of our time
So challenging thinking
Risks becoming a crime
The Earth it is flat

And created in six
Challenge this ‘truth’
Face damnation by clicks
Feelings of grievance

Volcanoes in making
To ideology pushers
Ripe for the taking
Stream siren voices

Claim God’s grace
Cancerous memes
Infect virtual space
Life not gone well

But need to belong
A ready recruit
To dystopian throng
Publish your satire

Now they want you dead
Or in horror movies
To saw off your head
At virtual scaffolds

Baying mobs gather
Bread and circuses
From their cyber-father.

Commentary
Continue reading

Venus Fly Traps

by Derek Morrison

Many devices become a radio in these digital times
Now new platforms to watch all the world’s crimes
Online Venus-Fly-Traps proffering much choice
Inadequates and the evil now given amplified voice
No time to long read or to talk face-to-face
Eyes glued to a screen even as legs make the pace
As cyber wizards dream up yet more ways to connect
Distraction, distraction, drowning out how to reflect.

Smart dumbness

by Derek Morrison

A world of digital complexity
Where only experts can tune TV
Gullible swallowing of salesman’s art
A rush to devices with moniker ‘smart’
But like filament light bulbs of old
Rapid obsolescence we’re being sold
Because the smartness does degrade
Despite the high prices we have paid
Those smart devices by our side
Have software jigsaws deep inside
Comes a point of no app update
Smartness failing – so now contemplate
Not wise to fall under salesman’s thumb
Buy simpler devices – they’re better dumb.
Continue reading

Electric Car

by Derek Morrison

Waverley Electric Car
Advert for Waverley Electric Car in Saturday Evening Post 1910
Click to view larger image
I want to buy an electric car
But that won’t get me very far
Need Nissan Leaf for commutes
Tesla Model S for longer routes
So such purchases make no sense
For going green at great expense
Needs fast recharging stations
Easily found throughout the nations
And battery technology to mature
So in going further you can be sure
At destination you will always arrive
And not dependent on how you drive
But vested interest are at work
In the background they do lurk
Much investment in fossil fuel
Oils the wheels of existing rule
Remember electric cars are not new
When you take the longer view
Combustion engines they came later
But energy stored was much greater
For that fuel in the tank
Is such a simple energy bank
Taking single minutes to restore
No plug in wait, no kids to bore
But fossil fuel is bad news
So cleaner energy we must choose
An electric car does make sense
But governments sit on the fence
Nudging is now past its sell by date
Time for push, before it’s too late.
Continue reading

Energy draining

by Derek Morrison

Wind Turbine
Attribution: Mark McLaren [CC BY-SA 2.0]
Solar farms built in northern climes
Skyline monuments — wind turbines
But how to store the wind and sun
Not thought about as policies spun
And so we pay to Grid not feed
If wind and sun they have no need
Renewable energy going to waste
From policies made in unseemly haste.
Green power storage first must be cracked
For move from fossils to be backed
Much conversion figures in this quest
Although no solution has yet proved best.
But a certain irony has come to pass
Green electricity is turned to gas
Or it can be used to power a pump
Moving water uphill for later dump
Or compressing air can be its fate
For driving turbines at later date.
But wait …
Here come the disruptive events
For hydrocarbons now cost fewer cents
Oil’s demise has been much tracked
But now the shale is truly fracked
And the Arabs then lowered the price
So we embrace again our fossil vice.

(a longer version follows)
Continue reading

Big Brother

by Derek Morrison

Big Brother graffiti in France

Now in any space or event
Big Brother can watch you vent
Whether you’re inside, or outdoor
There’s no hiding place any more
Meteor strike or plane crash
All now captured from the dash
And if you cause some offence
Big Brother has the evidence
A fleeting moment of no constraint
But a lifetime to feel the taint
Your unwilling spot as YouTube star
Shows the world you went too far
The virtual mob smelt the blood
A comment trickle became a flood
A social position once enjoyed
Social media forever destroyed
Ninety Eighty Four has passed
Dystopian fiction it was classed
Big Brother defined what was true
Now Big Brother, is me and you.
Continue reading