Chronophrenia. Time mind. A beautiful and appropriate title for Seth Abramson’s project, a poem in which readers find themselves rolling down the Mississippi River during a time that feels at once immediate and distant. The speaker mentions 1927 as a specific date, but the poem evokes something more mythical, at once haunting and gorgeous in the way it casually records trade, distances, and violence. But Abramson’s poem isn’t merely a record. Each section flows with a different rhythm, realized by Abramson’s deft use of repetition. We have the chiming effect of “Could it” in the first section; the surprising energies expressed in “Level and fire” and “the other/then the other” in the second section. The fourth section, when the speaker situates us back in the present, is the most repetitive section of all. In this present world of bumps and growling fighter jets and loudspeakers, repetition suggests the frenetic activity surrounding the river. This activity corresponds to a shifting subject position: our speaker is somehow dead and alive; here and there; a witness and a victim. To have a “time mind,” in other words, is to inhabit a place every bit as immediate and distant as the Mississippi from more than a century ago.
To those readers who have faithfully read along with us now into our eighty-ninth issue, and to those readers arriving for the first time, we thank you for making this second year of publication successful and enjoyable. With the holidays fast approaching, and friends and family taking time out of their busy lives to enjoy a few moments of rest and community, we here at The Offending Adam are likewise hitting the pause button so that we can fully enjoy the holiday season. Fear not, though, dear readers: TOA returns with punch and power Monday, February 6. Until then, here are a selection of works that we have published in 2011, to either read for the first time if you missed them, or to rediscover.