If she was not amazingly pretty, but pretty, still, and if people always said it. As a kid maybe not, but later, and then oh when people said it lots. But it is what people thought and there she stood and just did not know what to do when people said it. It was not like rebellion, or maybe, but there were other things and bigger challenges. She did not even want to think of her looks. Her looks, it is what they said. And now, locked in prison, her face in newspapers, the pretty one, they said it too.
Stuffy and straightlaced, that’s a square. A word parents say, or are. Fearful, inward-looking, conservative, old-fashioned and boring. Boring most of all. That’s a square.
And the box shape of houses, dotted along roads. Little boxes with hats on, regulation size and order. Boring. Terraces and semis, square gardens, rooms.
Or the symmetrical flats and maisonettes, linked by decks of walkways, in rectangular slab towers of concrete. The sleek squares of modernity, left to crumble.
The squares where people meet, met, opening up the grey planning to communities. Puncturing repression and uniformity, letting people gather, think. What is square; who?
Batten down the hatches
Man the barricades
Prepare to defend your privilege
From the grenades of the betrayed
Send in water cannons
Baptise the unholy few
Shoot them with rubber bullets
But duck if they rebound onto you
Let sirens be of comfort
Reclaim the streets and the ‘feds’
Then raze the estates to the ground
And build a Tesco there instead
Let’s not look for reasons
Or concern ourselves with truth
Let’s just shout out ‘treason’
And blame it all on youth
Drugs will sedate them
Violence? Just self-harm
And if the prescription fails
Just carry on, keep calm