“That Poor Lamb”

That Poor Lamb

It was Kurban Bayramı. As the long-established tradition called for, lambs had to be sacrificed; their meat, to be distributed immediately among the needy.

            Our porter, whom my brother Süleyman and I affectionately called “Abdullah Amca”, was proud to be in a position to sacrifice a lamb for the first time without any monetary contributions from any of his relatives. He and his family had gathered outside of their ground-level home in our apartment building.

I was 10 or 11, and curious about the ongoing commotion down there. The lamb was tied to a pole. Once I saw that scene, I should have gone away immediately. I stayed, though, as if hypnotized. I regret my curiosity to this day. Within what seemed to be only an instant, there was blood everywhere.

Even at this late age, I still hear the lamb’s blood-curdling bleats.  


* Kurban Bayramı is the time of the “Feast of the Sacrifice” for practicing Muslims.

* Abdullah is a common Turkish male name.

* Amca describes a paternal uncle in Turkey. In this story, I use it in its popular context; namely, to refer to an endeared man of a familiar connection.

~ ~ ~ ~

This story is one of the 40 I had written in the form of autobiographical fiction in a book titled Once upon a Time in Turkey and published on November 15, 2022 with Inner Child Press International.

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When Information Delivery Is Condemned

While reflecting on the process of the midterm elections, I felt the need for a distraction as numerous other people evidently do. I glanced over the news feed. A most recent controversy caught my attention – the key words being the name Kyrie Andrew Irving and “antisemitism”.

Amazon has been enabling the purchase of the bestseller documentary and book, titled “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” – the same information that Kyrie Andrew Irving has shared, and has been accused of “promoting false accusations” about Jews since his words came under the radar of activists and lobbyists.

If anyone could make sense of this inquisition of Mr. Irving, please explain via reason and accurate referencing. While you are at it, do justify – by providing a rational discussion – how his act of information delivery goes against freedom of speech.

As a Liberal Arts professor and researcher in the U.S. over 40 years, I resorted to a multitude of reference materials throughout my academic career – some of those instructional materials were controversial; others, not. My teachings as well as scholarly activities were completed by the book; that is, within the rules, regulations and policies of the higher education institutions where I have served with honor. In sum, delivering referenced information has never been anything to frown down upon. Quite the contrary, it was applauded indirectly for the vast educational contribution to critical thinking and analyses. So, I ask: Why is a thinking individual such as Kyrie Andrew Irving being condemned publicly for bringing a legally (and broadly) sold documentary and book? Could the reason possibly be lying within his skin hue?

hülya n. yılmaz, 10.11.2022

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My Introductory Note to My Upcoming Fictional Autobiography, “Once upon a Time in Turkey . . .”

A corner from my old home

In Turkish, my native tongue, there is an adage which etched itself on popular songs and citations: “Bir fincan kahvenin kırk yıl hatırı vardır.” ~ “One cup of [Turkish] coffee should bring to remembrance this person for 40 years.”

I wholeheartedly offer you my own demitasse of Turkish coffee (virtual realities are all that we have these days) before you embark on my memories of “once upon a time in Turkey”. Would you please accept my humble offering here for forty years to come? I promise that I will also serve you Turkish Delight to accompany this daily ritual of high significance in my country of birth.  


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Another Excerpt from “Once upon a Time in Turkey . . .”

Dad’s Wood Sandals

At his usual relaxed pace, my brother passes by Dad’s favorite chair. Destination: The television. Purpose: To change the channel. Objective . . . one swift kick, like that of a skilled soccer player, to the sandal on the bottom. Mission accomplished: Son, 1 – Father, 0. (Yet once again.)

“Hınzır oğlan!”

“Why do you call me a rascal, Dad? What did I do?” My brother Süleyman snickers.

            The first-born’s demolition of the father’s sandal-based footstool officially takes place.

The once barely-there grin turns into a broad smile on my brother’s handsome face. Mom and I cannot help but side with the winner. Dad plays his usual role and chastises my brother. Our conspiring threesome laughter spans over our living room like a thick cloud. “Hınzır oğlan!” Dad announces again. My brother cannot hold back his gut-laughs any longer. Proud of his repeated success, he practically hits the floor laughing. Mom and I, though with a bit more tact, are ready and willing to join him. Dad gives us a make-belief angry look at first, but joins in the fun soon after.

          “Baba, you know that I am going to get you each time. So, why do you still keep towering your sandals?”

          “Oğlum, my feet feel really good like this. I am very comfortable. Besides, it’s great for circulation. If you sit for a long period of time, your . . .”

Before Dad finishes his sentence, my brother is already out the door. He knows too well what’s coming up. Mom and I know it too: a set of mini-lectures by Dad about the health benefits of lifting up one’s legs during prolonged sitting-sessions. While the first-born begins to have the time of his life again with his basketball buddies just around the corner of our apartment building, Mom and I, the members of Dad’s captive audience, stay put – awaiting our doom. After one more of his pretend-angry “Hınzır oğlan!” outbursts, Dad talks on. But first, poised, he puts his sandals back into their original cooperative state: one on top of the other, each tucking in one foot in an envy-raising tenderness.

          “I got these in Germany during my first stay there. Prof. Lemerz told me then how wood was the healthiest way to go as far as footwear. He was an intelligent man in every which way. I learned so much from him. He always said to me that our care for our health must start with our feet. In spring, summer and autumn, he would wear open shoes only. Inside and outside. In winter, only wood sandals inside.”

Mom and I knew what the mere mention of Dad’s doctoral advisor’s name was going to cost us: an onslaught of many more assorted anecdotes. We just had to escape without hurting Dad’s feelings. Just at that moment, our kitchen made an announcement: dinner preparations were in order. Thankfully, Dad was not paying any attention to who remained as his audience . . .

By the way, did I mention that Dad absolutely loved everything “Made in Germany”? His totally worn-out wooden sandals, in particular.


Süleyman is a popular male name in Turkey. Historical context: Süleyman the Magnificent, Süleyman I or the Lawgiver (1494/1495-1566), Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1520 to 1566.

Hınzır oğlan: Rascal

Baba means “Dad” in Turkish.

Oğlum: My son


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An Excerpt from “Once upon a Time in Turkey”

Our Delicious Wall

“What do you have in your mouth, darling?”

Not a peep from me. All the guests stopped talking and started to look at me.

“Sweetie, are you eating something?”

“No, Dad!” (It was no lie. I really wasn’t eating anything. I was only licking something.)

When Dad approached me, I moved my hand behind my back, trying in vain to hide the chunk of lime I had dug out of our largest living room wall. It had not been painted over yet. My secret was out!

“But Sweetie, that thing is not good for you.”

“Dad, this is so delicious!”

I was very little then. My father told me years later that I had a serious calcium deficiency since my birth. My mother was there when he shared with me the background of her pregnancy: her mother was suffering from late-stage ovarian cancer when Mom found out she was pregnant. While their first-born, my brother came to this world as a very healthy, fully developed baby, I was delivered pre-maturely, barely grown. Just like throughout her pregnancy with me, also during my grandmother’s illness, Mom was not able to eat properly.

The only exposed unpainted wall in our living room had all I needed, apparently . . . to meet my little body’s cravings for calcium.

~ ~ ~ ~

This short story is from my pending book of autobiographical fiction/fictional autobiography, Once upon a Time in Turkey . . .


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sitting on the porch
breathing in the soft breeze

a rare occurrence these days

fierce wind storms forced
the age-old trees in the back to bow down
so much so that the property owner
started to cut them off of the ground
that frail human attempt failed miserably
the branches, as thick as a tree stem, stayed strong

for the time being . . .

lately, they are gasping for air, maybe their final ones
another explosive storm
will surely make its way

exhausted, those trees are doomed to cave . . . 

hülya n. yılmaz

This poem is one of my three contributions to the monthly book, The Year of the Poet, published by Inner Child Press International.

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“I Want My Poetry to . . .”

i want my poetry to
be a break from life

i want my poetry to
burn tears in your hearts
then bring them to the surface
before you decide you had better cave in
to the pain and suffering, etched ever so resiliently
in your past, present and future memories,
when it is time to have that wail explode
letting out that desperately patient standby, “enough!”

i want my poetry to

ease you then
into the arms of a selfless child-bearer
whose lullaby will tuck you in safely
under a snuggle-obsessed blanket-sleep,
after having raised you from a darkest deep
together with the gentlest touch of other souls
who learned to utter only the tongue of love . . .
their aura will entice you into a burial ground of ashes
where to lie to rest your ire and your innermost fears,
to shed all your chains to be free of also the grim tears
which have been fiercely carved on Earth
on its every hidden nook and cranny
since the birth of humanity

                                                i want my poetry to
be a break from life

welding with steel
the vital holes on your pails so frail
for you to be on your steadfast way,
to flood in the universe with no delay
its tamest of waters on nature’s path
will gather for you to help you cleanse
your self-unforgiving self-foremost
but will not let you forget all else
which you may have cursed in wrath . . .
they will amass for you serene drops of bliss
to bathe under each the bitter ghosts of your ills
chafing away your immense boulder’s mass
for a modest few little whiles at last

i want my poetry to
be a break from life

holding your hand
every time you must weather a storm
so that you know i too have been marred
the craftiest kind left me barren in all its might,
hail rushed and wedded bloodcurdling thunders . . .
lightening was only watching from afar at first,
but then it exalted their union in a raucous roar
even snow flurries of my most loyal delight
showered the procession in a sliest twist

i want my poetry to
be a break from life

wafting you in the end
inside a cloud that is mate to the mild zephyr
to undiscovered lands as well to the Seven Seas
to the faraway councils of breath-taking skies
to the communes on the many luminous moons
to the comet-ic homes of ancient curiosities
in pursuit of the suns of the Egyptians,
of the Hindu, the Chinese, the Japanese,
of the Greek, the Aztec, the African,
of the Navajo, the Inca, the Inuit,
of the Sumerian, the Roman

even though
i do not
sing of elation alone . . .

~ * ~

“Be a Break from Life” has first appeared in I Want My Poetry To . . . Volume 3, an international anthology published in March 2017 by Inner Child Press, Ltd.


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Religion, a Personal View as a Poem

religion . . .

a controversial subject
in religious studies,
with scholars failing
to agree on any one definition

the Oxford Dictionary defines it
as “the belief in and worship of
a superhuman that controls power,
especially a personal God or gods.”

cohesiveness . . .
and rationale

‘believing in’ and ‘worshipping’
a controlling “power”,
one that is conceived to be “a superhuman”
“a personal” one, at that . . .

that “belief”,
energy spent on ‘worshipping’,
does, as evidenced time and again,
permit humans to destroy human lives
in unspeakably barbaric ways and means,
while justifying their senseless brutality

not believing in humans,
but rather ‘worshipping’ “a superhuman”,
“a personal” one, at that,
which allows massive mass-murders

the innocent, the bystander,
children not excluded . . .

not believing in humans,
but rather ‘worshipping’ “a superhuman”,
“a personal” one, at that,
which yields to continous fatal attacks
with the intent to eradicate humans
without remorse,

the innocent, the bystander,
children not excluded . . .

where do we, ordinary humans, ‘fail’?
wherein lie our “super” traits?
in killing one another?
in the name of an utterly vague
conceptualization of a “belief”,
of an urge to “worship”?

a phenomenon
we all have been conditioned with;
a phenomenon
for which a single definition
evades us repeatedly,
while it rips us all apart violently,

seeking a ‘personal’ “superhuman”
to “believe in” and to “worship”,
seeking one or more of it to feel entitled
to destroy unconditionally
the very same human on whose shoulders
that ‘personal’ “superhuman”
is bound to stand . . .

cohesiveness . . .
and rationale


(c) hülya n. yılmaz, May 31, 2019

Din hakkındaki bu şiirimi kısa bir süre içerisinde Türkçe’ye çevirmiş olmayı umuyorum.


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A Contemplation

I am contemplating . . . to have regular write-ups on my blog site in the near future. This post is only an invite as to what my dear friends and family consider to be a vital aspect in an intimate relationship. A thought from me on this matter: Sensitivity toward the partner’s concern about a previously visited irritating issue along with a resolution offer in a caring and keenly attentive manner in order for the trust factor to continue to remain untainted are a must. In sum: placing a cork on the partner’s bottle – full or half full – while s/he is still digesting the content/s will not relieve the tension as needed.

Note: Please do not conclude that this writing stems from a personal experience. I was reading an article on relationships, and thus was prompted to voice it. I am an analytical person. As one such, I prefer to bring important points to my own table to gain further insight.

Türkçe’ye Çeviri/In Turkish:

Buraya yakın bir gelecekte düzenli yazım eklemek düşüncesindeyim. Bugün yazdıklarım sadece siz, sevgili ailem ve arkadaşlarımı bir özel ilişki çerçevesinde neyi mutlak gördüğünüzü/bulduğunuzu benimle paylaşmak için size bir davet. Bu konuda bir görüşüm: İlişkideki kişilerden her birinin geçmişte üzerinde beraberce konuşulmuş tatsız (söz konusu olan tarafı rahatsız eden) bir konuda ciddiyetli bir dikkat, ilgi ve hassasiyet ile yaklaşmasının önemi yönünde. Özetle: Söz konusu olan taraf hala şişesinden içtiğini hazmetmeye çalışırken diğerinin o (tam ya da yarı dolu) şişeyi tıpayla kapatması soruna tek bir çözüm getirmez.

Not: Lütfen, bu yazımı kendi başımdan geçen bir durum üzerine dile döktüğüm sonucuna varmayın. Kadın-erkek ilişkileri hakkında bir makale okuyordum ve püf noktalarından bazılarını burada belirtmek istedim. Ben düzenli analiz yaparım. O özelliğimden dolayı da daha derin bir anlayışa varmak için bu tür benim için önemli yazıtları kendi masama taşırım.

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After Another Long Hiatus . . .

The last writing I have shared with you goes back about two months. I am still writing – poems mostly, along with a few analytical texts on the side. I have, however, been keeping the majority of those write-ups to myself. The reason as to why I stayed away from my website lies in the fact that I am ready to embark on an unexplored path here. I would, therefore, appreciate it greatly if you could suggest subject matters, topics, points of concern and/or ideas for reflections, . . . a focus that will allow me to explore in my writings henceforth. I thank you for lending me an ear.


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