I began badly.
Yet another sick infant,
Born in Maternity.
I came out crying,
in order to get used to it.
Is the hospital a place to die
Or to recuperate?
Keep trying…
I never did recuperate.
I was born already dying.
I look around and see,
It was just another infancy
Frustrated, adulterated, obliterated
by my parents reveling inebriated.
I was just months old,
hearing more screams than a psychiatrist.
Anguish, grief, delirious thrashes
And tears are always present on my eyelashes.
My parents separated early.
My father, I'd see once a year.
My mother only hit me.
I'd run to the one who showed me sympathy,
And began to live with my aunty.
And she'd come home calling:
"My boyfriend!"
I was only six years old.
Sometimes I was a gigolo.
Sometimes I was a pimp.
She bought me with candies, cookies, and threats.
Receive attention from my family, I never could
But every visit to my Grandma's
was a visit to Hollywood.
That's how my substance abuse began.
Soon after I ran away from home.
It was about time, I'd had
Enough beatings to the bone.
Seven years old,
Still didn't know how to read,
I learned that life was a school
And how many tests did I miss sniffing glue…
Talking about school,
I kept a list of rules (strife).
And I used to rob for real,
So that hunger wouldn't steal my life.
At eleven nothing changed.
I would roll a number, and drag on …
The smoke rose
But I only burned myself.
At fifteen the cops beat me daily,
They hung them on to smite.
It didn't matter the color of my skin,
My nose
Was always white.
Soon thereafter came the fright.
I fell in love.
I made love.
I gota middle class girl pregnant.
At seventeen my life reset.
I began to work.
I cleaned up.
I rented a kitchenette.
Everything was fine, just fine…
Until nineteen,
When my wife fled with my son,
And left me a note
Saying she didn't want him to have a poor childhood.
I got lost in the desert,
I filled myself on dust
That turned to mud
with tears that smudged my face.
I was alone at home
And I yelled:
I just listened to the echo.
I wanted to teach my little boy to knuckle down,
But I was for keeps losing my marbles.
It kept getting worse,
I couldn't take the blow.
I wanted to teach my boy to play ball
But I was high on crack and about to blow.
I was drowning in the cachaça and the vine,
Tripping and too drunk to walk the line.
I am no Saci
Or Preto Velho spirit
But I always had my pipe.
I already bled and fled
All of the crack spots in Rio de Janeiro.
At twenty-five,
My major conquests were to have survived:
Seven attempts at suicide,
Three ODs,
And eight lost bullets
Later found along my body.
Add to that, that in my cafofo (barrack),
Under the Alcântara viaduct,
Five more shots were found and counted.
My life is over.
My name is Marcelo.
I am yet another homeless person of no relevance to you…
Who died last week.
Author's Notes:
1 -Hollywood: A brand of Brazilian cigarettes that later became Lucky Strikes.
2 - Glue: Ambiguity in Portuguese between crib notes and shoemaker's glue (psychoactive drug common among homeless people)
3- Teco: Ambiguity between slang for snorting cocaine and hitting one marble against another.
4 -Craque: ambiguity between excellent soccer player and the drug crack.

Cotta (Matheus Cotta) is 23 years old and is a poet. He is Slam Master for Paz em Guerra (Peace in War) and he created Slam Quarentena (Slam Quarantine), which was the first poetry battle byLIVES in Brazil. Since 2016 he has lived the spoken word intensely. In 2018 he represented his State (Rio de Janeiro) in the Regionals for poetry doubles and this year he became National Champion of Slam Brazil and Vice-champion ofAmericas Slam in Spoken Word. He also works with interventions/workshops in schools and colleges. Read more: @ocotta_ Image provided by the author.

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A magazine for teen writers—by teen writers. Under the Madness brings together student editors from across New Hampshire under the mentorship of the state poet laureate to focus on the experiences of teens from around the world. Whether you live in Berlin, NH, or Berlin, Germany—whether you wake up every day in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North or South America—we’re interested in reading you!