Mitch Rayes

From the poem, “Karl Wallenda”:

“…blown off the high wire
by a gust of wind
ten stories above the streets of San Juan

he was seventy-three

being on the tightrope is living
he used to say
everything else is waiting

I walk a tightrope
made of words

but mostly I wait…”


Mitch Rayes was born breech in Detroit in 1958, the first of six children to a former Irish nun and a Lebanese chemist. He attended Wayne State University in Detroit as a Merit Scholar, and Naropa Institute in 1977, before the school was accredited.
Mitch spent many years in Mexico as a professional guide and outfitter specializing in remote areas of Chiapas. His mountain cabin near San Cristobal was seized by armed indigenous rebels in 1994.
During the 1990’s, he was influential in the developing Albuquerque poetry scene as a founder of the poetry non-profit Flaming Tongues, as editor for eight years of the Tongue newsletter, and as producer of several Albuquerque Poetry Festivals. A map of his performances would cover five time zones and forty degrees of latitude. Mitch often brings his guitar.
He has a long history of musical collaborations with area poets, and his recent soundtracks for dome animator Hue Walker have toured internationally with the juried DomeFest shows, including 2007’s top prize winner Our Turn To Dance, with Mitch’s original words and music.
Mitch lives in his contractor’s office in Albuquerque’s industrial corridor. He is currently working on converting part of his shop into an arts space called The Projects.

Listen to one of his poems here.

You can find him here:, or request more information on Mitch from the guild.

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