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I'll Fly Away

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Notes From Black Reads

Poets have words. That is their craft. Rudy Francisco finds his own, by that we mean, “invented” words to tell us how he really feels. Francisco carefully, delicately and, at times, frankly, gives Black voices a new language. It is up to us as readers (listeners) to learn that new language.

Language so often fails us.

In his highly anticipated follow up to Helium, Francisco has created his own words for the things we cannot give name to.

English is the shiniest hammer
I own, but it's also
the only thing in my toolbox.

Nolexi noun
no·lex·i | \ nō-lek-si \
Definition of nolexi:
1 : a word or phrase that does not exist or has no direct translation in a particular language

I'll Fly Away uses Francisco's invented lexicon as the palette to paint an intimate portrait of Black life in America — one that praises joy and grace without shying away from the hard truths confronting all of us today.

ISBN-13: 9781943735693

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: Button Poetry

Publication Date: 12-08-2020

Pages: 124

Product Dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.50(d)

Series: Button Poetry

Rudy Francisco is one of the most recognizable names in Spoken Word Poetry. At the age of 21, Rudy completed his B.A in Psychology and decided to continue his education by pursuing a M.A in Organizational Studies. As an artist, Rudy Francisco is an amalgamation of social critique, introspection, honesty and humor. He uses personal narratives to discuss the politics of race, class, gender and religion while simultaneously pinpointing and reinforcing the interconnected nature of human existence.

Read an Excerpt

and the morning
shows up again,
like it always does.

A reminder that each day
comes with free refills.

I tell myself that every hour
is happy hour, as long as I am
on this side of the ground

and maybe that's a good
enough reason to smile
and get out of bed.

I know it's not the weekend,
but Friday and Saturday are

Let's give them something
to talk about.

Here I am, today.
A breath
That doesn't mind
Repeating itself.

Living proof
That sometimes,
You plan a funeral,

But a birthday party
Shows up instead.

Table of Contents

Mama Saba asks 1

This is how I scare the dirt 5

Legend has it 7

And maybe we all know a "Ricky" 9

What I know is this 11

My parents 13

Divorce is a stubborn grease fire 14

Love can bea reckless child 15

Perhaps I told you I was leaving 16


I'll Fly Away (Erasure) 23

The poem where I lie about everything 25

Most of what I know 27

Sometimes I'm the mess 29

Drowning Fish 30

Afterwards 33

2009 (Erasure) 34

Here I am today 36

I wish you a checkered flag 37

I once held on to a grudge 39

I want the kind of happiness 41

There are people 43

Ode to the block button 45

Have you ever noticed 47

Throughout most of my childhood 49

Seventeen 50


Perfect (Erasure) 56

You are a strange kind of beautiful 59

How 60

If you find yourself 61

When you walk into the room 63

I hope the camera gods bless you with a steady hand 65

A lot like you 67

Golden Girls Theme Song (Erasure) 69


Miranda Rights (Erasure) 75

It is the year 2036 76

Speak 79

NRA Statement on Texas, Ohio Tragedies 80

NRA Statement on Texas, Ohio Tragedies (Erasure) 81

Click 83

Climate Change 84

I watched the viral videoof the police officer 87

Alternate endings for the black movies that I can't stop watching 89

When they say he is black 91

Instructions for black people 92

To the Black Donald Trump Supporters 95

Let's just say 97

I remember when this neighborhood was an orchard 99

The youth choir sings "I believe I can fly" 101

The Peace Lily 103


Family Matters Theme Song (Erasure) 109

Dear PTSD 110

Whoever said a choir 111

Lasalle 112

It usually happens 113

Uwani 115

The women in my family never use measuring cups 117

Isn't She Lovely (Erasure) 118

Unsolicited advice 119

I say black fatherhood 123

Zoey 124

And the morning shows up 125

Index 127

Acknowledgments 129