Trayle Kulshan

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am from an island north of Seattle, USA and currently live in Dubai, UAE where I research food sustainability in the desert and I’m also on the PTA.

I revel in mixing things together: eggs and zucchini, blue and gold, quiet and bright — and taking things apart: physics, alliteration, taboo, uncertainty, double meanings, salt, driving, emergence, smooth wood, and storms.

My writing comes from impressions of moments I’ve witnessed. I am an expert in water and I make a mean low-carb tofu lasagne. I am a student, a scientist, an aid worker, and a teacher.

Art is like water: “It rests where people dislike to be… Where it dwells becomes good ground.”

Find out more about me through:
My Creative Website

Jack Handley @ Shot By BeaPhoto credit: Bea Goddard

Man on a Train

By Trayle Kulshan

I haven’t the strength
to lift the corners of my face.
Each cell rests there
anchored to my angry profile
set behind dark glasses.

I wonder how this man
loves his wife. Is she
fed savory rice and slowly
touched by him?
Do they share secrets?

I haven’t the will
to fight my envy. I covet
her life with an ugly man’s
hands holding hers
knowing mine will not.

Edition VII
Cairo - by Trayle Kulshan  (photo by Ahmad Minawi)Graphic by: Ahmad Minawi


By Trayle Kulshan

One street over, three men smooth mortar over new apartments
from top to bottom. Today, their rusty pulley stopped reeling in
flimsy iron baskets leaking sand.
Their un-plumb walls and crooked lintels rest exposed.
Their generator silenced, bird chatter bursts from dusty trees.

Eight stories down, a dead kitten shifts upon the street, blown or
kicked or pushed. It was dry and flat, near neatly piled bricks. It
was trash without blood, bloating, or being.
It was a silhouette outline in black and white, turning gray.
It is gone, buried by kids waving flags.

Six miles south, white smoke rises and falls from the lips of
Egyptians. The cupboard was bare. The boy was beaten and his
father’s hands were scarred. The pharaoh was corrupt, his
hennaed beard shaved, and now he is forced to pause.

Edition VIII

To a Poet Laureate - by Trayle Kulshan

To a Poet Laureate

By Trayle Kulshan

Dear Sam,
I once wrote eight page
letters to your son, quickly
placed inside the cedar shake box
your driveway lined with alder saplings.
I pumped my bike up one, two, three
straight hills to Sawmill Corner
hoping you and Sally
never knew that it was me.

A round faced nine, ten, eleven
years old, I once bound blank
diaries during art, which you
the printer, must have taught.
Boring holes through stacked sheets with
needles, the blunt end cut my finger
making it hard to tie thin thread.
Somehow three small bundles became a single
tome, glue beaten with a wide stubby brush
into paper we must have made
from fresh pulp.

Inside, I once wrote eight line
poems, invented words in colored
pen, punctuation
revised with wild insects flying round
kerosene lamps, flashlights and blue
computer screens.
I completed only one, quickly
placed inside the cedar shake box
hoping you and Sally
might think that it was me.

Edition X
pleiades-crush-by-trayle-kulshan-photo-by-jeremy-thomasPhoto credit: Jeremy Thomas

Pleiades Crush

By Trayle Kulshan

Black sky, full of stars and earths and us
flirting with seven arrows,
I was flying.
Orion’s gravity
a slight kiss, a blackhole grip
captured stars and earths and us.
Swip-swap-backward-falling down
I was hit and falling
Black earth, full of ferns and firs and us
decayed foxfire, tiny white and twinkling
grounded by seven arrows
I was kissing
his reflection in black dirt.

Edition XI
kabul-and-her-children-by-trayle-kulshan-photo-by-rachel-chisholmPhoto credit: Rachel Chisholm

Kabul and her Children

By Trayle Kulshan

The unemployed beside the destroyed
not sure who is who
between buildings or boys.

Bullets and rubble fill dusty pakols
wool, beaten and woven
to block dirty snow’s cold.

Burqua crossed eyes, the color of sky
womens’ enigma,
both freedom and sty.

Engulfing them slow
crawling up from below
this motherful city
hiding what’s
within silent grey mystery
looking upwards
past something
that destroyed joy
by her woe.

Edition XII
gentleman-by-trayle-kulshan-photo-by-luke-porterPhoto credit: Luke Porter


By Trayle Kulshan

I am as sneaky as a tom
cat missing a leg,
I am careful. I know
a single cigarette
is enough to give
your spot away.
I wear new shoes
the same model as the last
with a sturdy sole
that hides my limp.

Edition XV

Voice - by Trayle Kulshan (photo by Oscar Keys)Photo credit: Oscar Keys


By Trayle Kulshan

If I was smiling
If I curtsied
Would you come to hear me sing?
If my song was monotone
If the chorus never rhymed
If my metaphors were obtuse
If my foreign accent grew
If I was to stutter
If I was to gnash my lips
If my spit landed on my chin
If my nostrils opened into tunnels
If my snot gurgled with each breath in
If my syllables pushed stink between my teeth
If the spotlight revealed scales upon my cheeks
If you saw me as a monster
If my voice became a roar
Would you listen or ignore?

Edition XVI

The Second Time Around - by Trayle Kulshan (photo by Natheer Halawani)Photo credit: Natheer Halawani

The Second Time Around

By Trayle Kulshan

“I’ve passed this turn before,” she thought. “There isn’t much to see the second time around.”
She watched slow lightning break skies wide,
silent, as the sun sank before the thunder died.
She heard whisper-rain melt sand to glass,
the river rose widespread, hiding westward paths.
She turned behind again, waves from tires rolling round
Red splashed over green,
earth climbed up muddy trees,
A wild cat hid in leaves.
Finally the thunder joined the lightning and the rain, and washed the earth with sound.
“Perhaps there is indeed some magic here,” she thought, the second time around.

Edition XVII

Stinging Intimacy - by Trayle Kulshan (Photo by Clem Onojeghuo)Photo credit: Clem Onojeghuo

Stinging Intimacy

By Trayle Kulshan

I enjoy the warmth beneath
your purple cotton shirt
your double chin beneath
straight spiky hairs
your arm between
rough polyester
airplane seats.
I enjoy the stinging fear
of this surprising