The leaves are shifting colors,
so I feel that Mother Earth has found her Goddess
burn me crimson with desire
“What are you writing?” asks the 333 cab driver, his nasally voice cutting into my soaring reverie.
“Poetry,” I confess. Poetry?
“Poetry? Oh, so you’re a poet?”
“Well, I write.” I close the hardcover of my Markings journal, where I thought I'd been scribbling random words. There are three subjects oscillating at varying degrees through the crevices of my brain, when I notice our turn onto O’Farrell, after looping around it a few times, thanks to the abundance of one-way streets in this city. One subject being: a sense of reverence for the location of my lovely residence, which I'm returning to after spending Christmas in North Carolina, with my family.
When my former, jackass adviser failed to e-inform me that I still owed $5,000 towards my campus housing last summer, I decided that college in California was no longer where I belonged; it never was. As a freshman, the first time I ended up short on housing expenses, I had to sneak into my dorm and skip-out on meals in the caf, until I won a scholarship that exactly supplemented the shortage of financial aid. When I permanently returned to the city 13 months later, back in July, I decided to do things differently—wiser—with a focus upon tangible sustainability.
The other two subjects, which monopolize my thought energy: butterflies and Angelina Jolie. Once I finally flag down a taxi from the Civic Center BART station, the driver tells me that I have lips like Angelina, although I'm pretty sure it was a backward notion. I tip him with my gratitude and two extra five-dollar bills, trusting that the universe will send me favor when I need it most.
I step out of the cab and look up at the destination, my lips curling slightly at the corners. It is almost a smile, hopefully, one that masks my urge to analyze the potentiality of negative repercussions.
The Hamilton—my residence building—towers 20 floors above me, located in a sub-neighborhood called “The Tendernob.” That’s what the clever realtor of some of this property calls it, to butter it up for the big-bang sell. According to him, these days, the Tendernob is “pretty much the place to be,” as it’s located in the heart of the city. Not only is it in walking proximity to two major transit stations, but it is also populated with lush daytime eateries and the hippest, happy hour bars a bacchanal boy could ever dream of.
Likely doesn't hurt that the major designer boutiques—Louis, Chanel, and McQueen, to name a few—are less than ten minutes away in the dazzling (yet touristic) Union Square district.
Centered in an area that lies between the affluent Nob Hill neighborhood and the “economically depressed,” predominantly black gem that is the Tenderloin, this hood is also one of the most daunting examples of the socio-economic disparity of the city of San Francisco. Whereas the Nob is upscale, pristine and a beneficiary of social and environmental investment, in the TL, it is no rarity to stroll past homeless people smoking crack cocaine at the 38 bus stop. It isn’t too farfetched to spot me—a more lucid denizen of the darkness— having to play foot-dodge with the recurring piles of human feces on the sidewalks.
“Thank you,” I say to the driver, as he pulls away, throwing the strap of my navy Giordano bag over my shoulder. Oddly enough, despite the evil black moths that are beginning to flutter about in my solar plexus, I’ve practically done everything in my power to get back to this peculiar place. I feel I have so much to prove upon my return, especially after what happened the last time I was here, as a student.
When I am too young to know any better, I decide that I want to be a star. A real star. I want to inspire people to beam with perennial sunshine smiles, even if I don't know how to go about discovering happiness for myself. I want to create new worlds, despite the fact that I hold little interest in the biological and architectural structures that inhabit them. I want to shine; I want to be a light, but I recognize the tremendous discrepancy between wanting a thing and being in a vibration of receiving what is coveted. In other words: a life that seems so far away is the only life my beautiful, bright mind can imagine for itself.
The gleaming lights and the glamour, not yet recognized as artifice, the unlimited access to the expensive, designer clothing that celebrities rave about in Vogue or Vanity Fair, this appears to be the life to aspire to live, according to the belief systems and impressions that surround me. Where I come from, money is a form of religion, although the Pentecostals in my family often decorate their desires for material acquisition with verses from the New and Old Testaments. I daydream often about what life would be like, had I been born fortunate enough to manifest such a world into existence, a world free of oppression and limitation. Really, I don't just daydream it; I've been living it in my head for quite some time.
Perhaps, that’s the reason some say that an optimistic mind can be as big a burden as it is a gift. Once I imagine—passionately imagine—my heart’s truest, sometimes subterranean desires, they become almost impossible to escape or avoid. Inside, I am already that phenomenal guy. So much, in fact, that I am living this sort of crazed conceptuality with much more purpose and vision than the physical version of my reality. I constantly fight to protect the inner child of my dreams; there's been very little energy devoted to discovering or maintaining my true Self, whatever that boy’s reason for existence may be. Or, perhaps, to materialize this dream is His Will, as much as it is my own.
I lead an existence that is unfamiliar, one that never meets the expectations of what I envision. I unconsciously absorb the sensation of limitation from my mother, from my father—from their mothers and their fathers—and centuries worth of influential, ancestral forces. In many ways, my real life has yet to begin.
In many ways, I am a prisoner of the matrix.
While the fizz of a cherry Cola bubbles against my tongue, I frame my onyx eyes with a gold-flickered, five-dollar eyeshadow that I retrieve at a nearby Walgreens store. Usually, I’m not one for sodas or sugary drinks, but during this tragic spring post my freshman semester, I cannot afford to discriminate. The setting mascara that I apply, just before, gives me lashes that sparkle like a broke-down beauty queen. I am impressed.
I spend most of the morning languidly lounging in the powder room of a corner suite at the Fairmont, a Four-Diamond hotel on Mason Street, where I've been poisoning my soul with Jameson for breakfast. The coke which spills against the black marble countertops is just the appetizer. Honestly, I am just assuming that the place is worth a lot of money, but I've only been on the Wild West Coast for a pair of incomplete seasons. This is hardly enough time to truly understand what’s considered upper echelon and what is not, particularly when the echelon of my day-to-day existence is one in which Totino’s pizzas, bagel bites and wild berry Skittles have hitherto been staples of my body’s survival routine.
What my 19-year-old, freshman self does recall is the size of the living room, plus the two large closets filled with custom-tailored suits, from someplace called Al’s Attire. The mini-bar contains bottles of Belvedere and Grey Goose, some of which have even been opened for my enjoyment. If these simple pleasures aren't enough to convince me, the man who brings me back to this place will change that. He is in San Francisco for business with some “exclusive finance company.” His name is Peter, or Paul, or something that begins with a “P.” I only bother to ask once, for fear of seeming too inquisitive. Besides, it isn’t like we do very much chatting during our entanglement; my starving flesh is pretty much sold, after the first cotton-candy kiss. His tongue tastes like diamonds and anonymous dick, two of my absolute to-die-fors
With the help of my alternate ego, I transform into a moth-like creature of the night, living the most magnificent fairytale that one could ever imagine.
While I am slumming it on the streets, they are my to-die-fors. They are symbols representative of the far-off, but steadily nearing, Prince Charming who will rescue me from the Great Depression of ancestral poverty. It will be similar to the closing scene in Pretty Woman when Julia Roberts finds her rose-bearing savior waiting in the pumpkin carriage of a white limousine. In the limousine carriage, blood-red roses in hand, he will haul me away, like precious cargo, to his ivory castle upon the Hill. Except, being in the life is beginning to be a major hassle. I may have to retire from being a whore before my residential ascent beyond the Taylor Street Stairs.
First off, is the nagging issue of my perfectionist alter-ego, Jessiah Frost. The bourgeois bitch wears too much makeup and is too big a diva for his britches. For seconds, bourgeois might be the incorrect word, considering that neither me nor my ego, have a proper place to call home this week. The meat of the matter is this: being that crazy guy is almost like being a completely different person with completely different values, experiences, and expectations. Jessiah walks differently, with an orgulous stomp-strut; he sees the world from a contrary perspective than myself, a heightened perspective, one with much more possibility and poise. It isn’t something I try to do, just seems to happen automatically, during moments of creative ascent, rare as they come. That’s how I know that my invention of this wicked persona is divinely ordered; I have made me as I am destined to be.
Being an introvert at heart, becoming Jessiah makes me strong; it gives me permission to express intentions that might otherwise seem outlandish. Most importantly, it gives me a big enough voice to speak up for myself in a lifestyle where I am often too easily victimized (even by myself).
I clench my diamond jaw tightly, using baby powder to highlight my subtle cheekbones, which seem to go from dull to machete-sharp whenever they please. Today is looking to be an especially dull day; extra powder is applied accordingly. I massage my skinny body against the back of the slipper chair in the powder room, and it makes me feel more pampered than I have in a while. It’s almost like that feeling I get, when being fucked by someone new for the first time: the feeling of being desperately desired, of being treasured, of being seen in the purity of a raw aesthetic. At least until they finish, leaving me to clean up the sticky residue left inside, a harsh fate. Yet, I am beginning to master the healing art and, in time, the psychic poisons of others will fail to affect me in any significant way.
I shower and give myself a soothing manicure, with cosmic-black polish. Afterward, I extract an odd pleasure from smothering my entire body in musky men’s lotion—courtesy of Peter-Paul—or whatever the man with the diamond-dick tongue introduces himself as.
I’m beginning to feel more like a star than ever before and, in my head, I’m on the verge of becoming. Only a small percentage of that other self manages to maintain a fragile connection to the harsh tragedy called reality, but in my world—in Jessiah’s own world—it’s mine. Every inch belongs to us.
With the help of my alternate ego, I transform into a moth-like creature of the night, living the most magnificent fairytale that one could ever imagine. Like most magnificent fairytales, unfortunately, this one has a conclusion to reach, and so it has.
The centimeter of the callboy’s frostbitten soul, which manages to cling onto the tangible aspects of my surrealist life, reminds me of one important fact: all of these precious white lines and custom-made suits really belong to Peter-Paul, who’s only letting me indulge while he’s away at a breakfast meeting. I remember that Peter-Paul has a real-life to return to, presumably one with a wife and children; I’m merely a distraction along the way. He milks me for all the entertainment he believes my body to be worth, and the feeling is mutual. Not to get it twisted, however. What Jessiah Frost does in bed, he does best, even if he—or I’m—or we are not the prettiest angels in the devil’s kingdom.
Truthfully, I only decide to lie down with Peter-Paul, because I am always a night away from spending another six-to-eight hours sleep-hiding in the parking garage at Stockton Street. After being conned into giddily depositing a big-fat fraudulent check, courtesy of a Craigslist scammer, I end up seeking refuge at the garage on several occasions throughout the week, over the course of a fourteen-day bout of homelessness. During this period, I am indirectly robbed of all my belongings, after naively stashing the luggage in one of the off-ramp corridors that separate the garage from the stairwell. I lose everything, except for what is on me, including the photographs I shot for school.
I'll be damned into repeating the situation unless I conjure up some black-boy magic housing spell to shield me from this crisis of student debt. I have to make my resources count. Luckily for me, the will to succeed is such a powerful propelling force, one that I’m not too ashamed to demonstrate.
For me, an African-American dreamer with a pret-a-poor upbringing, growing up with a mom who still works as a custodian, the more affluent white man is an easy and immediate resolution to my financial shortcomings. So, with the rise of a demanding sun, it becomes time for me to hunt for a new day’s catch because I’m no novice when it comes to the rules of master’s game. Every trained trickster knows that when a John or Peter-Paul permits his hard night’s keep to “sleep in,” while he’s away, it’s Morse code for: “Your money is on the table, slut. I expect you’ll be gone when I return.”
Jess Moor is a college dropout, but a full-time student of the construction of human persona, as it pertains to the intersection of sexuality and spirituality. He's currently crafting a series of narratives that chronicle a complex relationship with the crude nature of human incarnation. Following an internship at FourTwoNine magazine, Moor worked as a content writer in San Francisco, before penning The Birth of Eros, a spiritual journey of eroticism.
He currently resides in North Carolina, where most of his time is divided between meditation, the exploration of synchronicity, and writing about sex work. Follow on Instagram and Medium.