‘Green Onions’ by Meri Culp

Green Onions

by Meri Culp

The song was named by Booker T. Jones, stating that when asked by Jim Stewart what he’d name the song, Booker T. Jones replied, “Green Onions.” ‘Why ‘Green Onions’?” Jim asked. Booker T: “Because that is the nastiest thing I can think of and it’s something you throw away. He wrote ‘Green Onions” when he was sixteen.”

Bottom to top,
July nights, Memphis, 1962,
white heat rising to
green grass riff,

of 12 bar blues,
discarded, shot up too soon,
the runner of the good, footing
the dozens, flipsided,

A-side, Behave Yourself, B-side, Green Onions:
the turnover of soil, of song,
the movement of young Booker T,
sixteen, Tennessee fresh,

sitting down to supper,
his mother’s salad, onioned, sharp-chived,
composed in green, tossed by sound,
round bowl scored,

lines growing, running up the stairs,
the improv of midnight, a second story room,
green onions, white to green, bottom to top,
the yellow moon, a garden high, touching.


Meri Culp has been published in various journals, including Grist (forthcoming), Saw Palm (forthcoming), Nashville ReviewEspresso InkAbout PlaceCider Press ReviewOff the CoastSoutheast ReviewApalachee ReviewBOMBPainted Bride QuarterlyRose & ThornNomadsSnug, and Sweet: A Literary Confection. Her poems have also appeared online in True/Slant,  Poets for Living Waters, and  USA Today and in the anthologies The Gulf Stream: Poems of the Gulf CoastNorth of WakullaThink: Poems for Aretha Franklin’s Inauguration Day Hat, and All of Us: Poems from our First Five Years. She was also a finalist in the 2013 Peter Meinke Poetry Competition and the 2014 Crab Orchard Open Series in Poetry Competition and 2014 Crab Orchard First Book Award Competition for her collection, Cayenne Warning.


Follow us!

By RSS, Twitter or Facebook

One Response to “‘Green Onions’ by Meri Culp”

  1. February 10, 2015 at 5:14 pm #

    Beautifully expressed. Lots of layers of thought to peel away,as with onions.

Leave a Reply