Corey White

Post image for Corey White

by Ian on November 8, 2010

Corey White likes to spoon trannies, drink Southern Comfort and lean into pain. On his gravestone he wants them to write: ‘if you read this you’re gay’.  His blog is here: Failed Transcendence.


Arbeit Macht Frei

there is nothing better 
for the soul 
than a 
soul-destroying job.

the hated 
call centre 
is a temple, 
the hated 
fast food outlet 
is a temple. 
in temples 
to clean shit-
stained toilets and 
bus drivers 
get yelled at 
by 29-year old women 
who’ve worked retail for 12 years 
and never been 
airline hostesses. 

strip clubs 
are temples. 
Arbeit Macht Frei 
I whisper
the stripper’s tits
in the temple. 

there are many temples 
and in the temples 
there are many souls 
being crushed
and in 
the temples 
the souls 
get to 
be like 

24 hours

We broke up on the Sunday
and all day Monday
I was a suicidekid.
On the Monday night she called
and we compared notes
on how crazy we each got
after we broke up.
I said I was going to burn the towel
she’d left in the bathroom.
She couldn’t beat that.

I write poetry

once, I killed
a cockroach 
with a 
I still feel guilty
about it,
the way its guts
pumped as its broken legs 
for a miracle
which was never gonna come.
sure it was just a cockroach
but that’s the point.
in this red wine 
I write poetry,
just words, simple and
useless words 
that have never 
saved anything
worth saving.
but that’s the point,
to try for a miracle
as you die. 


You can’t steal gentleness, not like that.

The vision miraculous, the death-denying sight of love carrying itself like a sparrow through alienation and over mud:

30 year old Rob with a cask of goon, his double chin and queerly thin legs aligned like hands on a clock counting down to Armageddon, who had the soul of a friend and the liver of an alcoholic, who masturbated as Mok and I slept, who could always be counted on to say the wrong thing at the right time and make you chuckle like a rueful soldier. Rob drank with an ulcer and his girl Flo was back in Malaysia for he didn’t know how long and he was playing hopscotch on the edge of cirrhosis but the important thing was he was still youngish. Theoretically, he didn’t have to quit drinking just yet.

There was Mok, the eternal suicidedog freshly back from Melbourne, who had no money but possessed everything enviably unbridled and strong, who made the yummiest steak and chips, who gave you everything and asked only for your love but couldn’t do it with words, so you never really knew if you were just projecting or if he really did need the projector. He called me ‘the kid’ and I loved him with that truncated, self-censored male love that slaps backs and cracks crude jokes.

There was Pat Stephens, who kept to himself mostly. Pat kept to himself so much you had to go out of your way to see if he was still alive and sane or if he’d hanged himself wearing his shirt that said “What a gloomy fucking day”; you knew if Pat did it, he’d do it with irony. Patrick was King Solomon in my circle: Buddha-esque, radiating Tao like a worm in the earth at Chernobyl, iridescent with zipped-up tripped-up fucked-up wisdom, and in unstoppable love with a girl named Liv; once I was drunk for a week and I met her for six hours – she was good for Pat but I didn’t get to know her. I guess I didn’t want to see that side of Pat, I didn’t feel I belonged in front of their swan-graceful kisses and the transcendent yielding of their bodies to one another. It was strange seeing a guy in love who you’d talked about nihilism with for hours and hours at a time.

There was Kat, sister of Pat; she was a goddess. Mok, Rob and I agreed. Katty did speed and ecstasy and acid and had flights booked to India and there was always a whiff of dynamite that clung to her. Maybe it was the way she’d touch her short brown hair and LIGHT would leak out of HEAVEN to penetrate the MOMENT and you’d swear you’d gone mad but you hadn’t – it was just Kat doing her miracle thang.

There was Dan. I shared a house with him for 2 years – he was like a father to me, who I never heard tell a lie, who was the most stoic man I ever met, who was on the way to becoming a yoga teacher and was finally happy because 17 years of blazing self abuse had ended in a peace treaty with Thanatos at age 35.

There was Shayne, who had never been drunk or high. My tall thin friend since 14 who you always saw leaning into conspiracy and deadpan ultimates, who fished for truth in whatever existential pond or puddle he had to stop me from drowning in, who was my political soul mate, who was fierce and angry because Australians were losing their freedom. When he sniffed the bullshit of tyranny his light blue eyes darkened with libertylust and you hoped he never got a gun; he was ready for Truth like a bullet is ready to be a bullet – he WAS Truth, he WAS Truth, seeking himself and itself always.

There was Sarah. In our first winter together we made love nearly every night. It was a good winter, her tits flailing in the moonlight and her orgasms like earthquakes. After we finished making love we’d snuggle and make up pet names for each other, like ‘kitten pants’ and ‘miracle-toes.’ I didn’t have to drink as heavily that winter.

One Monday morning that same winter, at the call centre I worked in, middle management yelled at my friend Nigel, a middle-aged man with grey hair and gentleness. For the sin of failing to notify a customer that the call would be “recorded for quality and training purposes” they tore into him like dogs. Nigel broke, because he was gentle, he broke. Tears and snot clumped on his face like shit in the trains to Auschwitz, and the others pretended not to notice. A woman put in her iPod and turned it up so loud you could barely hear Nigel sob above the pop music. Later, he told me he was grateful she did. Nigel had a big good heart and the dogs could smell it but they couldn’t take it. You can’t steal gentleness, not like that.

I never met any people more soulful than these, the people you love as you slowly die.

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