Noise Rises – July 22, 2010

Posted: July 22, 2010 in Samples of My Writing

A poem in memory of my brother Brian Austin Hilles who died August 26, 2008. These two pictures of him (one with my sister Cathi laughing too) were taken in May 2008 as you can see my bother had a great laugh and a great sense of humour to the end. To be dying and still laughing takes huge courage. This again is from Partake. Here is a video READING I made of the poem. The other two pictures are from November 2008 in Chiang Mai. CLICK on any picture to see a LARGER version of them.

The poem is now also at:

Noise Rises

A few hours after his death
We sat in a bar in Vancouver
Drinking wine and talking about my brother
As I felt his worldly absence for the first time.
A heavy west coast downpour
Had soaked us in the short walk
From our hotel to the bar.
All wet like that
We drank to my brother’s memory
While the TV flickered with bigger news.

Months later in Chiang Mai
Sometimes at night I lie awake
As noises rise up from the street below
The drum and bass line from Thai rock
A motorcycle revs past
A man shouts something in Thai
And I think of how my brother’s body
Changed those final months
He spoke of it sometimes but
The cancer took his voice too.

We can make bodies out of music
And street noise but they are never the bodies
We are in search of
But new bodies
Come to take the place of others
And noise begets noise
The city a hive of it
Nothing quiets it
Today I am thankful
To be amongst that noise.

All I can think of are random images
A horse coming up a hill
And then later
A dead bear on the highway
A rubber tire
A broken leg
Let the wind take it

My brother is the noise rising up
From the streets of Chiang Mai
All of it swollen into his shape
That sound now
That drumbeat
That is his heart
Slowing down and then stopping.

  1. Frank Burnaby says:

    Yes thanks Robert. My own brother is so dear to me and the pulse of my own life is really not my own, but him and those I love.. Hi to Pearl. Frank

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