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O Beautiful Storm March 23, 2011

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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Dave Walker of the Times-Picayune profiles spoken-word poet Gian Smith who voices the poem over the Season Two teaser for Treme. Smith says that he only started writing seriously after the storm as I did, and he now runs a spoken word event at at the McKenna Museum of African American Art at 9:30 p.m. Saturdays. There are some seriously gritty lines in the poem but they don’t come across as the casual misogyny of radio hip-hop in this context. It is what it is and I won’t convict the witness.

“O Beautiful Storm,”
By Gian Smith

I got the Rain in my veins…
The flood water in my blood makes my heart beat harder.
I’ve got the scent of the death and decay in the wind
Sinking into my nose and under my skin.
She’s the music in my ears, and the mold in my soul.
Move with her like bellies to congo drums
Write a sonnet to her, serenade her, recite her a poem.
Bump her like sissy bounce or mellow into her like Marsalis.
Let her weave through your brain like a song has moved you
And you can stop the flow…
But don’t let her go.
Last night, on my knees I scrubbed and scrapped
Katrina from the tiles of a house that would one day
Belong to my kids who’d have no idea there was a remain
Underneath the sofa, I had purposefully not wiped away.
Cause while Hugo and Andrew talked a good game
In the end all they did was ride the Gulf to the lake
And kick up a few waves and make a few trees shake
But Katrina had foresight and long term goals.
Bear her like ungratifying child labor of a stillborn
Answer to her, embrace her. Make passionate, steamy love to her til you moan.
Let her consume you on holidays and special events
Not meant to be spent alone.
Do what you must, but don’t let her go.
She’s Death’s greatest stage
She’s the 11th plague
She’s five men dead in a truck from a murderous rampage.
There is no fury like her rage hell bent.
The apocalypse heaven sent.
A city’s extinction level event.
She’s men’s residence changing homes,
Chickens coming home to roost again.
She’s man exalting science as defense
From God, being overthrown
She’s the perfect combination of wind, neglect
And Amir’s criminals in City Halls and black robes
Whose Congressional bills pass at levees expense,
Whose gavel smacks smash homes and crack domes.
Beat her to let her know you care.
Hate her on the streets in front of your friends for show.
Love her behind closed doors at home.
She’s a summer rain, a gentle breeze blown,
And an infamous name that our hearts now own.
O’ beautiful storm, I won’t let you go.


1. O Beautiful Storm « Back Of Town - March 23, 2011

[…] The producers of Treme made an interesting choice (for me) of a spoken word poet to voice over the promo for Season Two. Dave Walker of the Times-Picayune profiles Gian Smith and publishes the poem (which is also now up on Toulouse Street.) […]


2. Mark Adams - April 24, 2011

I heard Gian Smith being interviewed on NPR this morning and loved O Beautiful Storm. But, he also recited a bit of another poem which I felt captured the essence of south Louisiana. I dont know the name of the poem and cannot find it online anywhere. Does anyone know the name of the poem and can I find it in print anywhere?


gian - June 27, 2011

fast forward to minute 26 for the full version of the poem.


3. This Is Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile « Back Of Town - August 31, 2011

[…] and the spoken word event attended by Davis and his buddy at which Gian Smith speaks his poem O Beautiful Storm. “There’s no reason why those two scenes could not be shown as a CONTINUOUS RELATED […]


4. I Am Not Alright, But I Am Upright « Odd Bits of Life in New Orleans - September 22, 2012

[…] to come on Back of Town I recall last season’s Treme teaser poem by Gian Smith, “Oh Beautiful Storm.” I think the refrain from “O’Neill’s Lament” on Jackson’s […]


5. Cien razones más por las que vivir - June 27, 2014

[…] El poema «Beautiful Storm» de Gian Smith sobre el Katrina, utilizado por Tremé […]


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