Mihalakis

Mihalakis is my name. Its how I was baptized. Emigrating to England in 1964, seeing snow for the first time in my life, and concrete buildings with many floors was a big culture shock, especially  at the age of 4. In the process of emigration I became known as Michael (on my passport), Mike for short. But that name I was born with always stayed in my mind….So much so that the first poem I performed publicly, some time in the 1980’s was called ‘Mixalakis’…which eventually became a dub song, produced by Tony Muttley…The original lyrics are somewhat extended with some freestyle ramblings on how careers teachers used to treat us at school.

‘Call Me Mihalakis’ was also a drawing by my friend Sonia Joseph, based on the poem and knowing me….Its a bit ghostly…but I really like the facelessness of the image. That feeling really captured the sentiment of the poem. Performing it so many times, I would always get some one coming up to me at the end and saying they went through exactly the same things….

MIXALAKIS

Mihalakis

At school
They gave us all kinds of names
Dished out on playing pitches
And over stormy dining tables
They called me many names
I had more nicknames than the years has days
More nick names than the sun has rays
Them call me colour
Call me paki, diego, whop, spik and darkie
Them call me class
Said I should work like my parents
Sweating buckets
Long hard hours present past
Them call me intelligence
Said I was good at
Rugby and footie
But my maths and history was dodgy and awkward
Them also call me
Culture
Said I was schizophrenic
Trapped in some kind of bi-cultural panic
Lost in Britain
And not proud of it

Call me colour
Call me culture
Call me class
Call me
All kinds of……
Nothing…..
But them never call me
Mixalakis
By my name
For that
Was all
I
Ever
Asked….

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