Rudy Francisco is like a beat boxer, but with words

By Khea Pollard
Assistant A&C Editor

Poet Rudy Francisco graced USD with his poetic genius April 8th, at 6 p.m. in the SLP Exhibition Hall in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness week.

You may know him from the poetry venue North Park, Elevated, as a member of the popular group of San Diego performance artists, Collective Purpose. Francisco is particularly well-respected among the collegiate circuit, performing on many college campuses around the country.

The workshop was intimate. Audience members were encouraged to free-write their own poems in the format of a letter to someone who has been affected by sexual or domestic violence. After the writing session, those who wanted to share their work with the rest of the audience were encouraged to do so.

Following the workshop he performed some of his most popular works such as “Deuces” (his poem about Chris Brown) and “Monster” along with a few more selections from his first chapbook “Getting Stitches”.
Specifically, “Monster”, a poem off his latest album “Scotch Tape” condemns the “millions of monsters walking the earth pretending to be men”, wholly encompassing the week’s theme.

His motivation for the poem, he said, was to create a piece different from his previous works that was not about heroes, but rather, some[thing] he hates.

As the evening progressed, the San Diego native spoke of his younger years as a fledgling poet watching Def Poetry Jam and emulating his favorite poets. Francisco shared his thoughts about his first poetry slam, his first open mic, and he reflected on his high school years in which his first poem was read to a room full of sulky teenagers receiving their unexpected praise. In between each performance piece he engaged the crowd with his quirky personality and sense of humor for the span of two hours with only a small break between the workshop and his feature lineups.

Many of his works promote awareness about issues such as domestic violence, religion, and politics while other works address life issues that are both hard-hitting as well as satirical. In one of his poems entitled “Seventeen”, Francisco addresses his seventeen year old self.

“Stop walking around like you are a mistake,” he said.

The wide variety in subject matter of his pieces afflicted the audience with an array of emotions. At different moments in his performance the audience let out an audible chorus of “oohs” or rumblings of laughter following clever wordplay.

Among many tidbits of information that he shared, Francisco made it clear that in his mind, performance of poetry is a way to hide.

“Speaking about someone or something onstage in front of a room full of people is a lot easier than speaking directly to the person who inspired the poem,” he said.

Perhaps that is why he is able to connect to the audience with such ease and conviction.That night the audience clung to Francisco’s every word.

“His poetry is socially conscious; it was more than just words rhyming on a page,” sophomore Je’vaughn Davis said. “The content of his poems draws you in.”

The honesty of his poetry enables his personality to shine through and his words to become relatable. It’s unclear whether it was the openness of his dialogue with the audience, the beauty of his poetry, the wittiness of his conversation, or a combination of all three, but by the end of the night the audience felt closer to Rudy Francisco.