Cicero with an iPhone, Caesar with a Samsung, by Adrian Salmon

Safe behind screens
we pour pique into pixels,
rage into arrays of noughts and ones.
The volume of anger
is in inverse proportion
to the square root of
the difference between us;
that’s our Newton’s Law of outrage –
resistance to expression
halving each time portability increases –
oh these times, this Moore’s law.

In earlier dangerous times
we set up bounds in our bodies –
hormones still (mostly)
keep our barking brains
safely on a leash when face to face;
but now circuits short-circuit
temperance – quick angers
burst, and race
like coronal ejecta
in our virtual space.

See, these who wander
scorched by words:
radioactive with fear and loathing,
ticking down their half-lives.


Adrian Salmon is an international fundraising consultant by day, classically trained singer by night, and poet whenever he should probably be doing one of the other two things. He lives in Bingley, West Yorkshire.

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