The first time I heard the genius that is Rudy Francisco, it was from a video I stumbled across on YouTube, which was actually a medley of speeches from various motivational speakers and spoken word poets mashed together into a kind of inspirational mega mix.

Aside: Ben Lionel Scott, specializes in this sort of motivational content creation and I highly recommend checking out his channel if you’re running low on motivation, or are in need of a good pick-me-up vid. Two of his videos (#, #) in particular got me through my trial (referring to an unpublished-but-soon-to-be-published post on Automattic) 😉

Anyways, Rudy makes his entrance in the latter portion of the track and these were the words that made me an instant fan:

The human heart beats
approximately 4,000 times per hour
and each pulse,
each throb,
each palpitation is a trophy,
engraved with the words
“You are still alive.”
You are still alive.
Act like it.

— Excerpt from “Complainers“, Helium by Rudy Francisco


I think it was a combination of that particular excerpt, the track’s deep epic background music, and Rudy’s delivery that sold me.

You won’t usually find me reading poetry, or even watching & listening to it (referring to slam poetry), but I am a sucker for good lyrical word smithery when I do hear it.

I started to watch more of Rudy’s videos on YouTube, and it wasn’t soon after that I bought his book “Helium” on Amazon and had that sent directly to my Kindle app. I read it from cover to cover that very same day. Helium is the first poetry collection I have ever bought in my life, and I am very damn near to buying the physical version of the book because I loved it that much.

Helium is filled with work that is simultaneously personal and political, blending love poems, self-reflection, and biting cultural critique on class, race, and gender into an unforgettable whole. Ultimately, Rudy’s work rises above the chaos to offer a fresh and positive perspective of shared humanity and beauty. — original source (#)