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Family Affair 

When I arrive, MC Scott Summers is hopped up on cherry Coke, with a half-dozen maraschinos floating in his glass. He's bouncing, laughing, dancing in place. Summers passes out little slips of paper, each with a letter printed on it. (I get the letter M.) Later, Summers asks each of us to write a poetic phrase to match that letter.

This is Poetic Martini Wednesday, an open-mic poetry event held weekly at the Rim, a Decatur sports bar. The Rim is family-run place with a laid-back, familiar feel, and the show is neither as polished nor as intense as spoken word at Apache Café.

At Poetic Martini Wednesday, there's lots of embracing, and even a police officer laughs and joins in the fun while he keeps the peace from his stool by the door. Everyone observes a moment of silence for Miss Lilly, the cook who just had an appendectomy. The scent of hot sauce tickles the air.

Boasting a big beard and long braids, poet Yohannes Sharriff strings together international conspiracy theories joining BP and Bechtel with a pied piper leading us all by our ears. Last 4 Eva reads a letter, mourning a love that didn't last.

DJ Perry is playing a funked version of "It Don't Mean a Thing (If You Ain't Got That Swing)." Suddenly, a woman in a red sweater jumps from her seat, grabs the mic and starts singing, "Doo-wop, doo-wop, doo-wop." Before she surrenders the mic, she shouts, "You're all my family now." (She musta had one of the $3 martinis.)

Poet Lotus Speaks takes the mic, her voice divine as she tells of another woman's man whom she didn't fuck. Later, she performs "Don't Clap," a clever meta-poem. Bo Ellis reprises a poem by an under-endowed narrator desperately hoping that the old adage "It's not how big it is, it's how you use it" is for real.

Words are dancing in the air. Mingling ... M ... and so, "Mingling in Mesopotamia amid memories of martinis."

thomas.bell@creativeloafing.com

Poetic Martini Wednesday, every Wednesday (duh) at 9 p.m. (sign-up at 8:30) at the Rim, 2555 Wesley Chapel Road, Decatur. Free. 678-698-7477.

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