Recorded live by Walker Durrell of Sunday Chatter on Sunday, April 15, 2012, I'm glad the audience stayed with me for this one...
The Witchcraft Persecution of Cotton Mather,
and the Hysterical Public Hangings of Satan
in Puritan, Massachusetts, in the Year Sixteen-Ninety-Salem.
Because we were awake in history,
all of us know by now that it was during,
and just before, and right after
the American Boston Tea Party
that the madness that inflicted Colonial Massachusetts began;
many things were believed by the Puritan colonists
that witches themselves couldn't even believe,
and therefore had to die for their disbelief.
Over fourteen women and five men
were convicted of hanging Satan to death in the woods,
and for their crime these innocents were forced
to invent the nursery rhymes we use today,
and also the washing machine.
During the many centuries that took place between
1692 and 1776, a time known as America's start date,
the people who lived in the colony of Salem,
particularly young girls attentioned with affliction deficit disorder,
farmed pumpkins and produced the cigarettes the town was named for,
and the magical old ladies who owned land refused to suffragette,
along with their slave Tituba, who screamed as well.
New England's power structure, seemingly threatened
by the hysterectic and frail preachers who wore long white socks,
believed that little children were the mark of the devil,
and so many galleon ships were sentenced to a hanging death.
The simple, early versions of man who lived in Salem at the time
thought that most women could be explained supernaturally,
like a hangnail, night terrors of the Easter bunny, or a dropped phone call.
These were the so-called “burning times”,
in which the fierce witch trials in the nation of Europe
broke out all over Massachusetts.
Face-to-face pacts with the Devil proved affordable,
which led to more dancing and naked piano music.
Scholars point to the influence
of a guy named Cotton Mather,
who was highly influential in influencing
the influence of witchcraft in the agriculture
of an easily-influenced New England.
Thanksgiving crops soon suffered violent muscle spasms
under heavy inquisitioning by the Bible people later that Spring.
Perhaps more interestingly, though certainly more importantly,
scientists point out the curiosity of actually naming someone Cotton,
as though that word didn't already have a meaning
that related to both clothing and sheep.
For billions of years, anthropologists have wondered
why you would name a baby Cotton.
Why would someone do such a thing,
even under the pressure to reveal who had cast the spell?
Historians even baffle over it today still.
When we remove our clothing, and read the stories
of what happened to the witches that used to live in Salem,
we become full of wonder that someone
would ever be named Cotton, or Increase, or Goody.
Did no one own books in early America?
Did no one bother to listen to the radio
in the year of Salem, Massachusetts?
Why did everyone who lived in the nation of Puritan,
during the sixteen-ninety-two, ignore the option of looking up names
that made sense on the internet?
Was Satan actually influencing the elderly slaves
and children to play with eggs?
Was Massachusetts truly under the thrall of the Devil's
convulsive dancing techniques?
Did this village of Salem, Massachusetts
ever really exist, or was it too, a hoax perpetuated
to live on through perpetuity in infamy, for all posterity?
released November 16, 2014
Recording live by Walker Durrell of Sunday Chatter on Sunday, April 15, 2012.
Rich Boucher is a performance poet whose poems have appeared in Adobe Walls: An Anthology of New Mexico Poetry, Fickle
Muses, The Rag, The Malpais Review, Crack the Spine, Menagerie, Clutching at Straws, Shot Glass Journal, Mutant Root, Sparkbright, The Mas Tequila Review, Borderline, The Legendary and The Nervous Breakdown....more