One Song

Everything is moving
Everything’s in flux
Every living thing is constantly having sex
Is this punk
Is this rock n roll
Well maybe I’m Louis Armstrong singin
That old jelly roll
Or maybe I’m Old Glory
Flyin at half mast
Or maybe I’m a message
From your forgotten past
Or maybe I’m the circus
Rollin into town
Grab your ticket, find a seat
The curtain’s comin down
Someone says 10 seconds
I’m all alone
Down front the critics clean their teeth with sharpened chicken bones
And I get one song
One song and then I die
This is not a school exam
But the last meal ‘fore the hanging
One song and then I die
One song and then I die

I wish I had read more
And memorized the right things
I wish I’d had a teacher
Who knew exactly what to bring
To bring to my attention
To impress upon my mind
So my ears would not get fuzzy
And my eyes would not go blind
And I wish I knew my heroes
And that we could go for walks
And that we could sit for days on end
And I’d listen to them talk
And they’d say get that guitar out
And I’d fire it up each time
And theyd laugh and open up my case
And throw in all their dimes
And me who never joined anything
Who never joined a health club
Never joined the army
Never joined with anybody at the hip
Never joined a mutiny, never killed the captain of a ship and
I knowin full well what I’m not
Got 3 minutes to figure out what I am
Before the lights go up and I get
One song
One song and then I die
I can hear the master of ceremonies
As his lips curl out my name
One song and then I die
One song and then I die

Peel me like an onion
Never know what you might find
I could peel away, peel away
Peel away, peel away
For 13,000 years
And I could get to the bottom and find

Down along the river
I pass away my days
Memorizing colors and fashioning bouquets
Memorizing bird sounds and fashioning a drum
That I’ll beat for my lover when my true lover comes
And sometimes watching clouds roll by
To reveal a perfect rhyme
And sometimes doing nothing for hours at a time
And sometimes painting my face
Blue like in a dream
Clearing all the dead things
Crying til I’m clean,
For one song
One song and then I die
Where are all those things I’ve written
I was saving for the future
One song and then I die
One song and then I die
One song and then I die
One song and then I die

(lyrics: Dan Bern)