Masters of Finance

by Derek Morrison

CurrencyLogoMasters of Finance
Of derivatives fame
That built the ghost funds
That built the debt bombs
You who owned banks
Who played the money ball
We just want you to know
We now see through it all.

You fiscal thought leaders
Much wealth did you claim
You treat our world like —
Digital bits in a game
You promise a home in our hands
But then you run from our cries
As the debt mountain rises
And the value then dies.

Your ‘quant’ alchemists
Many coded spells did create
For spreading poisoned apples
Among assets of higher rate
You gamblers on short-term profit
With true value lower scored
Inflated explosive bubbles
So debt-driven prices soared.

You Gods of Sub-Prime
Who feign to receive
Markets only grow
You would have us believe
But we now see through your lies
It was all for vain
All we thought we had
Has run down the drain.

You set up the debt levers
So that others would hire
And you sat back and watched
As dreams burned in the fire
You retired to your castle
As each nation’s wealth
Burst forth from the bubble
Built so much in stealth.

In your quest for obscene profits
The risks have unfurled
Now we fear to invest
What we have left in this world
By threatening our people
And causing such pains
We don’t what it is that
Flows through your veins.

But what do we know
To speak so out of turn
You might say we’re bitter
You might say we’ll burn
But one thing we know
Because we’re not one of you
Even Mammon decided
To disown what you do.

So it’s now time for some questions
Was that bonus worthwhile?
Did we share in your windfall?
Or is that not your style?
And what of your Hedge Fund?
Did that meet your need?
Did your selling short gamble?
Get you back on your steed?

And did your claim for expenses
Also treat us like fools?
Did clearing the moat around your castle
Meet with the rules?
Was your status really so special?
As you became embroiled in the mess
Did your pathetic excuses
Play well with the press?

You false Masters of Finance
You false Gods of  Sub-Prime
You purveyors of toxic assets
Have now had your time
And when the grim reaper calls
And you’re served with his writ
Explain your part to Beelzebub
May you roast slowly on his spit.
Continue reading

Just another day at the office

by Derek Morrison

Typist1910So how was your day?
Sudden urge to cry
Went pretty good
A well-practised lie.

Simulating levity
During family meals
No way of expressing
Exactly how she feels.

Time for bedtime stories
Children tucked in bed
Push aside her troubles
Focus on them instead.

Mummy, what do you do?
The youngest child asked
Why, I work in an office
Where I do what I’m tasked.

She must avoid such probing
Focus back on fairy tales
Where good always trumps evil
And nothing ever fails.

At first sleep evades her
Then come movies in the head
Replaying endless highlights
As nightmares they are fed.

Long days tracking ‘bad guys’
Logging exactly where they go
For higher pay-checks to decide
When to strike that blow.

Target in the cross-hairs
White furnace — then cloud of black
Wait until dust has settled
Now there’s no going back.

Survey the scene for hours
Observing what they do
Until the shift is over
Replaced by another crew.

For her no warrior status
No ‘right stuff’ claim
Just another day at the office
With tomorrow just the same.
Continue reading

The Troll

Mountain Troll, John Bauer, 1904
Mountain Troll by John Bauer (1904)

Darkened room — screen throws light
Unsuspecting victim to select tonight
Find online discussion — become a part
I’m a connoisseur of this disruptive art.

I was once the stuff of fairy tale
Unfriendly monster of mountain trail
Now the internet has made me real
With such reach, my power they feel.

Once in a group I seek to agitate
Or pick on someone to deflate
A scurrilous comment may well do
While posing as a real review.

They find it hard to make me cease
Untroubled by that country’s police
Because my range it is just so great
So many others can share that fate.

It’s my right to have some fun
As agent provocateur number one
They can’t find me in my room
As virtual ‘me’ makes them fume.

Wait — a furious knocking of my door
People entering — just what’s the score
Now they’re grabbing all my kit
Pushed in car – between two I fit.

I’m held responsible for the death
A distant person who drew last breath
Because of something that I said
Struck like a missile in her head.

Now they want to extradite
I can’t believe they have the right
We must recruit all my friends
It was just fun – I’ll make amends.

Social inadequate – limited intelligence
My lawyer promotes that defence
Such spurious arguments are rejected
And so by marshals I am collected.

So here I sit to wait my fate
Much time now to contemplate
What lies deep within my soul
That moulded such a cyber troll.

I was once the stuff of fairy tale
Unfriendly monster of mountain trail
While the internet made me real
It’s now their reach, their power I feel.
Continue reading

Dangerous Breaths

by Derek Morrison

CarExhaustBreath in deep and suck it down
These invisible poisons in which you drown
The sunny road ahead could not be flatter
But you won’t see that particulate matter
From fresh air you can’t tell it apart
But it works its way to your heart
Suck it down as you keep fit
You won’t see anything in your spit
In your system it will weasel
Courtesy of that once green diesel.

Diesel is a nasty fuel
Once considered the height of cool
By gullible politicians wishing to be seen
As not yellow, red, blue … but green
But now we know that at the root
That serious problems lie in the soot
That is bad … but there is a medley
It’s partnered with oxides deadly
So breath in deep and suck it down
These invisible poisons in which you drown.

Of course your car is really great
Its fuel efficiency is up-to-date
And it provides the deep-throated power
That makes lesser mortals cower
But now there is much cause to worry
You may want to sell it in a hurry
Before the rush which will surely start
When people know about their heart
And then your fuel efficient machine
Will now be viewed as source unclean
Meanwhile breath in deep and suck it down
These invisible poisons in which your drown.

Continue reading

No longer required

by Derek Morrison

Artificial.intelligence
Esteemed Time Lord now sounds alert
To possible futures we should avert
Dreams of bottling Man’s ‘commonsense’
Spawns nightmare of artificial intelligence.

The creeping crab of automation
Removing people from their station
Soon knocks on unexpected doors
Roles erased — now digital chores.

We may come to embrace the taxi ride
Just like Uber — but with no driver side
Autonomous vehicles being the future
Disintermediate, disrupt — apply no suture.

Manual labour always took the cut
Sold as progress as factories shut
Cognitive labour now feels this ache
As future certainties begin to flake.

Technological tsunamis disintermediate
Erasing ‘middle layers’ from the slate
When the “middle layers” were not us
No incentive there to create a fuss.

In the coming years from hence
People being the great expense
The ‘middle layers’ now encapsulate
Those thought immune from such a fate.

Auto arbitration, so decision made
Financial adviser, to background fade
Robot journalism, derived from facts
Much less need for expensive hacks.

No commodities trader is required
And your lawyer has just been fired
An accountant we need much less
Even physicians will feel this stress.

Intelligent machines to diagnose your ills
Yet others to prescribe your pills
When such decisions are automated
Cognitive labour can be decimated.

A corporate teacher on the internet
It’s not cost saving you can bet
“We’re just increasing the global reach”
Company evangelists will surely preach.

Triton UAV
Triton unmanned aircraft system completes its first flight May 22, 2013
Attribution: US Navy (CC-BY-SA-2.0]
Click to view larger image.

When fly-by-wire on the aeroplane
Incorporates take off and land again
Degrading further the pilot’s skill
Airline now trims this expensive frill.

People will be expected to adjust
To technologies continuing thrust
Adapt ourselves to what it needs
Or risk becoming redundant weeds.

Dystopian futures are always grim
But here with current tide we swim
As more workers are “let go”
Technologies lying behind the blow.

High tech industries don’t employ
The numbers of jobs they destroy
So what are then such people to do
Other than join a lengthening queue?

What then when we run out of jobs
Risk waking the Kraken mobs
Where then our consumer base
When so many have no place?

Because mass markets do depend
On populations who can spend
Are future spenders just an elite
To be served by a feudal fleet?

A possible future with an irony
Cook or gardener more secure can be
Than middle classes hollowed out
By technologies’ employment rout.

Future always viewed as a positive place
Technologies unthought of in our space
Amplifying what the Naked Ape can do
Including needing less – now just a few.

While the world’s polity embrace
Man’s ingenuity in time and place
Their vision is much too constrained
By the past to which their chained.

State functions depend on what they tax
But high-tech corporates aren’t lax
In maximizing their tax avoids
From wealth spun by techno-droids.

A possible future of serving oligarchs
A feudal system in exclusive parks
This then passes for democracy
A high tech future — far from free.

Continue reading

Distracted

by Derek Morrison

Multi-tasking distraction
Multi-tasked distraction
Attribution: João Pimentel Ferreira [CC BY-SA 4.0]
Click to view larger image.
We’re the king and queen of distraction
With an obsessive need to explore
No matter what’s the action
We need a new info score.

We must always be connected
No matter what we do
We naively think we are protected
We are the digital savvy new.

We believe in the myth of multi-task
We’re better than what’s gone before
The internet sun in which we bask
Our souls we have to pour.

Headphones embedded in our ears
Eyes fixed on our magic screen
We shut out the world and its fears
Become part of the virtual machine.

We think we can walk, cycle or drive
While virtual ‘friends’ updating
Injecting the petty minutiae on which we thrive
Ignoring the thin ice on which we’re skating.

We make mobile calls or text while driving
Though as dangerous as being drunk
We ensure the practice remains thriving
Because to such depths of ‘me’ we’ve sunk.

Our gods gave us many senses
We are beautifully designed
But we now employ techno fences
To render ourselves deaf, dumb, and blind. Continue reading

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