The schooling of Juan Abbeste

He knew from the day he entered the gates that he was different.

No one else had his name.

Juan. Why Juan? It made him stand out.

The way the other kids said it, the way they said he said it – the way he said it.

It singled him out – but why?

What was the significance of his name, label, reference, and sign?

Where had their understanding of its meaning come from at the unlearned age?

What tutoring had they received, what text had led to this deceit?

He had sat in the same class, was born into the same class, but something was amiss.

And when the girls were playing kiss chase, and refused to offer their cheeks,

Juan very comfortably went and sat with the other geeks.

Was it his failing to speak their language with vernacular ease, or the unwillingness to demean and tease?

Surely not the latter, for he had took up this patter, for his peers to appease.

He just wanted to be liked, long before his hair he spiked, and rebellion took hold.

He would ride a straight handle barred bike, like the rams he was unlike, on his steed the knight felt bold.

He knew his place long before school, matriarchs taught him the rules, and the mesters did their bit.

But he would never understand, as jumble sale shoes trod the land, why he simply didn’t fit.

He knew that family was a team, as were his mates that damned the stream, and stood and fought their turf.

It was a lesson early learned, into his soul that mantra burned, it was a right he knew from birth.

He told him the brave don’t cry, and pain is all in the mind, lessons passed down from above.

She told him, cry if you wish, it’s not a crime to commit, such confusing lessons in love.

He read no brainwashing books, saw no dogma filled looks, he knew on which side he stood.

He was always amazed at the things that they’d say,

And how they only saw trees not the wood.

His sense of right and wrong, pulled him to certain songs, his musical DNA.

But on his own he would stand, refusing to follow the band, preferring to walk his own way.

He’d been taught to be a man, in ways he didn’t understand, ones he would learn to never believe.

And now when he looks back, at his craving for jeans and hair jet black,

Juan is glad he was never called Steve.

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