“Ü” by Kleenex/LiLiPUT
When I heard “Ü” in high school c. 1984, I instantly recognized its blurtish, gleeful, husky, squealed, jerky, kicked up, pissed off sounds, which might have come from inside my own extravagant pulse. LiLiPUT’s voices were moving platforms. In them, I found sense emerging through the force of articulation, as if their inability to speak English were an inability to breathe. There’s a lot in a word; it could be “bad” or “eeee” or “hard.” To sing all they had was the air in their lungs, which isn’t much, and you know it cost them, it meant something, it hijacked hijix and in doing, hacked the act of listening. Noise translated into words, words into noise: there was no way to tell the difference, no purpose in trying. Let English speakers toss out whatever comes to mind, the way we toss out garbage.
Christine Hume is the author of three books, most recently Shot (Counterpath), and three chapbooks, Lullaby: Speculations on the First Active Sense (Ugly Duckling Presse), Ventifacts (Omnidawn), and Hum (Dikembe). She teaches in the interdisciplinary creative writing program at Eastern Michigan University.
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