(the lie and the truth)

Did we let it go from fistfights
To flick knives to 5millies
In under three generations
Curbside gangs striking fear in commuters
City sink estate teens
Supplementing dole handouts
By selling an ounce of botanicals
From homes with no gardens.
Up for the fight,
Always up for a fight, but
Unsure of the opponent.

Did we let racists kidnap the Union Flag
beer fuelled pasty opinions
white inked skin, red and blue
Swollen knuckles tattoed with 88
Blaming a population of foreigners
Ignoring suited men in harrow ties
Destroying a nation of neighbourhoods,
But history is cyclical
Hate, genocide, crusades
Just links in the chain
Keeping us bound on repeat
Let us not forget our forefathers fought
For freedom without domination.

Did we let prostitution move
From Street corner to computer
To handheld screens of pre-teens
Posting selfies of waxed pootangs
Playgrounds turned from French kissing
To noshing and Porntube banter
And still wonder how
A 4 year-old could be charged with raping
While the establishment rises
From the grave on tabloid front pages
Each with a paedophilic cross to bear
Each leaving a legacy of dead souls
Of care home survivors

Did we let religion be reduced
To headlines: Islam is terrorism
Christianity a punch line,
Now men kill for cartoons
And atheists for profit
Some fight in the name of Allah
Others for peace from occupation.
Millions spent maiming while
Education, food and medicine
Become commodities to fund lifestyles.
Left with Beckham and Cowell
We’re spiritually rudderless
God knows we need a new figure
Since they stole Jesus, Ghandi, and King
From us.

Because if my generation,
Is dumber than my father’s and so forth
By the time our grandchildren rule
They won’t know the difference
Between the lie and the truth.

Paul Crompton is an itinerant soul moving from Norfolk to Brighton via the U.K.'s West Country. By day he writes for a business magazine and by night attends Brighton's many spoken word events. Read other articles by Paul.