If I Die Tomorrow

If I die tomorrow
Maybe in a speeding car
You know I like to travel
With my notebook and guitar
But there’s too many cars out there
Not enough train tracks
I tried flapping my wings
But I just don’t have the knack
Don’t talk to me of accidents
In this great democracy
America will be the death of me

If I die tomorrow
My body blown apart
By some child with a shotgun
Raging fire in his heart
Killed in some concrete jungle war zone
By some kid who never learned to write
Raised by desperation
And surviving the long night
In the wrong place at the wrong time
In this land of opportunity
America will be the death of me

If I die tomorrow
From a pipe bomb beneath my seat
Or from drowning in the bathtub
Or choking on a piece of meat
You can rest assured I did not mean to slip upon the grass
It was no one that I knew
Who rammed the plunger up my ass
It’s just that I was told
To speak freely
America will be the death of me

But I may not die tomorrow
And my death will not give pause
To the coroner who may say
That I died of natural cause
Lungs black from breathing city air
Cancer coursing through my veins
I’ll be glowing in the dark
From the radiation rains
So here’s a toast to Uncle Sam
And to mortality
America will be the death of me

“If I Die Tomorrow” originally appeared on We Just Want the World CD (1998).

There are many ways to die, particularly in the United States, and this song explores some of them.  You can be targeted for your political activism like Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney.  You can die in mysterious accidents after witnessing a crime you weren’t supposed to see.  You can be tortured and killed by police for being the wrong color or for speaking your mind.  Or you can just die from cancer, due to the high levels of a myriad of varieties of toxic shit in the air, land and water around here.  Altogether enough to make one start feeling very patriotic.