Poems by Jerry Younkins


Rotted tree branch,
impact explosion,
a fall of three or four stories.
Akimbo, the shattered pieces
align in the manner of cast runes.
Allowing my vision to blur
brings the script into focus.
A single word repeats
in bird song, the croaking of frogs,
that crazy peckerwood knocking
against the tall, spring green trees.


Bicycling into town from the north
your fallen forms along my route,
the bitter highway.
Decayed forms, empty,
smears of blood, impact
flinging you into the tall grass.
For each of you I pass
a brief prayer for higher
& higher rebirth.
How often the wind brings tears,
stinging as I ride.
All your beautiful spirits!
If there is a heaven
we’ll sit together beside a river,
a band of friends.
If there is no heaven,
fuck it, ain’t no thing.
Jumping, animals,
into other realms.
May your food be plentiful
& your water, clear and cool.


A lone spider thread
shimmering in the slight breeze.
Vines ramble up a mature oak.
A small pond stranded & shrinking
leftover from the flood of 2013.
A dozen catfish, drifted inland
with the surging Merramac River,
feed lazily in the deepest section of pool.
the occasion fin cuts open the placid surface.
Patterns of motion, brush strokes perfect.
How little I know of this world,
even less of the world beyond.
All this beauty will transform
in the heat of summer.
All that is displayed will change
with a subtle regularity.
Cut off from the Mother River
all these fish will die.


Yes, the serpentine twists
in a wild fractal manifestation
become Madrone.
His emphatic voice, heard
in mind. “That’s right. That’s right!”
I could almost see Neal Cassidy,
his ghost form bobbing, twisting
in punctuation.
Last time I saw him alive,
Berzerkley, California, a gymnasium
at UCLA. A greateful Dead Concert.
Neal, in his white T shirt and chinos,
bobbing, swaying, bobbing
as the Dead played “Sally
Go Round The Roses” and “The Midnight Hour”.
Alone in a corner, one foot in this world,
one foot in another.
As I constructed this poem
the sun broke through the mist.
“That’s right, yes, That’s right!”