Images from DAP and Mann Made Productions
Review by Bobjohnson

In Detroit's Rivertown-Warehouse District, They Say is a cool, laid-back, jazzy joint, established to feed and entertain. Even the restaurant's menu contributes to its musicality, with appetizers billed as the Opening Act, salads filling the Intermission and dinner plates booked as the Headliner. Kind of puts you in the mood for a show, right?

Well a show is exactly what many people come to They Say for. Above the main dining room is the Thursday night hangout for poets. Every Thursday night They Say hosts live poetry readings featuring poets from the Midwest, East Coast, and across the South. Sweetening the deal: admission is free!

Recently, I was able to catch Flint Native De'Marcus Johnson, who goes by the moniker DAP, take They Say's stage as the featured poet. DAP's initials derive from his former writing name, "Da Poet," which in turn came from a poem in which he states, "I am Da Prophet, Da Poet, Da Promise." DAP's poems provoke thought as they touch upon social issues, black history, religion and politics.

In his poems the wordplay and metaphors are so slick I found myself questioning my own comprehension. At one point he said, "I spit reverse psychology to cripple your mind." Whoa.

In "The Homeless Man," a poem inspired by real-life events, he spits, "And sleeping in the backseat at this church is the first time in a long time he had felt some sort of worth. And illusion-ally, he felt that this was the closest he had been to God since birth. But it was an illusion, not a biased delusion, it was reality at face value without confusion. Like the awareness of having a venereal disease 'cause the only time he seemed to get a blessing is when he sneezed."

Entitled As a Man Thinketh, DAP's CD can be purchased by calling Johnson directly at (678) 362-1260 or by adding him as a friend on Facebook.

While They Say's featured poet is considered the "main event," other poets can sign up to recite two or three poems when the show starts at 7pm. The host, singer/poet Katrina Storm, introduces each act. After a handful of readers, the show breaks for an intermission before returning with the featured poet. One cool thing is that a bucket gets passed around and everyone puts a donation in it for the featured artist. After the feature, the show closes out with the remaining poets that have signed in for the second half.

They Say is located at 267 Joseph Campau Street, Detroit, MI 48207; for more information call (313) 446-4682.

© Bobjohnson, 2010