“The “Dean from Hell” Guitar, on its Role in Pantera’s “Cowboys from Hell” by Daniel M. Shapiro

The bristly drawl waits inside me,
warms my mahogany neck, courses
through the smoothest rosewood.
If you have tattoos, you know
what it’s like to be told, Careful:
It’s permanent. The ink
that labeled me from hell
isn’t going anywhere. I’ve
been designed for top speed,
Space Ace in a hot DeLorean.
This bridge, these humbuckers,
they built screams out of exhales
mistaken for sighs. You could call me
a hillbilly, mock my V-shaped head,
but I could tremolo from here to where
we used to practice our scales, snake
from groove through rolling hills to a solo
no one can buy without the devil’s loose change.
That solo used to play me, but now it’s gone.

Daniel M. Shapiro is the author of several poetry books and chapbooks, including How the Potato Chip
Was Invented, Heavy Metal Fairy Tales, and The Orange Menace. He is a special education teacher who
lives in Pittsburgh.

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