Rudy Francisco constantly blows my mind. He is my favorite poet by a long shot. Rudy is an incredibly talented spoken-word poet who has been active since 2009. He won the National Underground Poetry Slam in 2009 and the Individual World Poetry Slam in 2010. After being born and raised in San Diego, Rudy completed a B.A. in Psychology and went on to get his M.A. in Organizational Studies. Many of his poems challenge the status quo and stimulate conversation about social justice topics, such as race, gender, and class.
One of my favorite poems is called “Sons.” Rudy Francisco teamed up with Terisa Siagatonu to create a narrative critiquing rape culture and how it is affecting the future generations to come. I ask that you now watch the performance of “Sons” before I discuss it further.
Wow, right? It’s a pretty powerful and eloquent poem. At every line that rises to a crescendo I get goose bumps. This spoken word by Francisco and Siagatonu criticizes the fact that children at this day in age are being taught fallacies about rape, gender, and responsibility when we are not looking.
“Rape culture is the worst kind of teacher our kids are learning the most from.”
This is one of the most important lines of the poem because it is spelling it out in plain English what is going on in our society. We wonder “where do they get that from?” but we need to look at ourselves and the environment. This poem has been presented to make us think about how and why rape culture is still present today. It is presented to think about why the media portrays cases about rape, as illustrated at the beginning of the poem, are projected the way that they are.
“They said nothing of the cemetery growing inside the body of the girl. Nothing of the graveyard where she would bury her trust in men.”
Why are we mourning the futures of the men that have raped, when we should be thinking about the women who have been raped? I know that a lot of us at this university don’t agree with the tabloids, but many people find that to be their only source for such cases and information. When information is shown this way in the media, many people do not think twice of it. They agree a woman is “asking for it” or “must have led them on.”
“It’s moments like these verdicts that make me numb to my own anger, Afraid to even talk about this out loud.”
This poem is important because it stimulates a hard conversation. A conversation that people don’t often want to have, or stir in their seat when brought up. If we don’t talk about these topics, nothing is ever going to change. Rudy Francisco wants to make his listener uncomfortable because it helps one think outside of the box. He uses his words to create new words, and thoughts, and feelings in his listener.
In my opinion, Rudy Francisco is one of the most intelligent Creatives of this time. Gardner states that Creatives exude 4 characteristics: (1) creative in a domain, (2) regularly exhibit creativity, (3) devising of new questions, and (4) accepted in a particular culture (p. 32-36). Francisco is creative in his domain of poetry, not only in his words, but also in his passion and delivery. He is also regularly creative, having published three books of poetry over the past three years and frequently producing and posting new content on his Tumblr. Additionally, this poem alone shows how Rudy Francisco devises new questions and challenges old ones. He does not settle for the status quo; he settles for what is right. Finally, he is one of the most popular and widely recognized slam poets of the time. His works resonate with a large population and is praised for it.
I encourage you all to think hard about this poem. To see points he and Siagatonu are making and take them to heart. Do not fear hard topics; push them, challenge them, and recognize them for what they are. I’ve attached the transcript if you’re interested in reading it verbatim. Please, start conversations. This is why the poem is present. Rudy Francisco is my favorite poet. I hope that he becomes one of yours too.
Transcript of “Sons”: http://genius.com/Rudy-francisco-sons-annotated
Gardner, H. Creating Minds: An Anatomy of Creativity Seen through the Lives of Freud,
Einstein, Picasso, Stravinsky, Eliot, Graham, and Gandhi. New York: Basic, 2011. Print.