The Abramiad, Part Four: "The Trevor Mayfield Letters" (excerpt)


"I had found my way to the docks, just below the Baixa, between the tree-shaded Praça 7 de Março (overlooked by the imposing red sandstone fortress of Nossa Senhora da Conceição) and the Praça MacMahon, with its World War I memorial (facing Lourenço Marques’ beautiful railway station, the work of Monsieur Eiffel.)  If I were a really well-funded imperialist I would buy and dismantle the railway station, ship it home, and reassemble it, London Bridge style, somewhere other than Lake Havasu City.  Maybe in some stretch of waste ground south of Market.  Watch the filthy fuck-sinks of Folsom Street wither in the shade of the Trevor Mayfield Palace of Culture.  Did you know Orson Welles filmed his adaptation of The Trial in the disused Gare D’Orsay?  Think of the uses to which I could put this building, which is far more beautiful than our own institutional symphony hall, and would not be worse situated down on Howard Street.  Imagine a wing of it devoted to a San Francisco Athenæum, a lending library by private subscription, its editions protected from the snot- and scum-stained fingers of idle children and drifters and tramps coming in out of the rain.  A theatre that stages something better than Bullshot Crummond and Beach Blanket Babylon.  And a music hall for sophisticated entertainments – not the ossified Brahms ad infinitum and twelve tone tortures of the Civic Center, not the druggy murderous noise of Winterland, not the dashiki mau mau anthems formerly known as jazz, but actual music, written and played and sung by the narrow-necktied refugees of our stunned and gluttonous culture or clutter, long displaced and now grateful of a home.  That’s what I’d do with it.  But I must buy and sell some furniture before I work my way up to entire buildings."