Day After Tomorrow


I got your letter today
and I miss you all so much here
I can't wait to see you all
and I'm counting the days here

I still believe that there's gold
at the end of the world
And I'll come home to Illinois
on the day after tomorrow

It is so hard and it's cold here
and I'm tired of taking orders
And I miss old Rockford town(2)
up by the Wisconsin border

What I miss, you won't believe
shoveling snow and raking leaves
And my plane will touch down
on the day after tomorrow

I close my eyes every nite
and I dream that I can hold you

They fill us full of lies, everyone buys
'bout what it means to be a soldier
I still don't know how I'm supposed to feel
'bout all the blood that's been spilled
Will god on this throne
get me back home
on the day after tomorrow

You can't deny, the other side
Don't want to die anymore then we do
What I'm trying to say is don't they pray
to the same god that we do?

And tell me how does god choose
whose prayers does he refuse?
Who turns the wheel
Who throws the dice
on the day after tomorrow

I'm not fighting, for justice
I am not fighting, for freedom
I am fighting, for my life
and another day in the world here

I just do what I've been told
We're just the gravel on the road(3)
And only the lucky ones come home
on the day after tomorrow

And the summer, it too will fade
and with it brings the winter's frost dear
And I know we too are made
of all the things that we have lost here

I'll be 21 today
I been saving all my pay
And my plane will touch down
on the day after tomorrow
And my plane it will touch down
on the day after tomorrow

Written by: Tom Waits and Kathleen Waits-Brennan
Published by: Jalma Music (ASCAP), 2004
Official release: Future Soundtrack For America. Various artists. August 17, 2004. Barsuk (sponsored by MoveOn.org). Re-released on: Real Gone, (P) & October 3, 2004 Anti Inc.

Known covers:
Versatile Heart. Linda Thompson. Aug. 14, 2007. Rounder Records
Day After Tomorrow. Joan Baez. September 9, 2008. Bobolink/Razor & Tie Entertainment
This One's On The House. Scott Cook. January 20, 2009. Self-released
Das größte Glück. Die Strottern. November 4, 2010. Self-released (Austria)

Waits performing "Day After Tommorrow", Real Gone/ Orphans tour 2006 (ANTI, 2006).

Notes:

(1) Day After Tomorrow:
- Tom Waits
(2004): "The government looks at these 18-year-old kids as shell casings, you know, like we're getting low on ammo, send in some more. We're neck deep in the big muddy and the big chief is telling us to push on and offer up our children. I sure wouldn't want to let my boys go." (Source: "Bard Of The Bizarre". Telegraph Magazine (UK). By Richard Grant)
- Tom Waits (2004): "If you write tunes or whatever. I guess that's all you really can do is put a human face on the war. These are MY feelings. You know I just tried to imagine a soldier writing home from ANYWHERE. This is your war you have lost, both sides have lost." (Source: "BBC Interview With Tom Waits." BBC Radio 4 (UK). October 4, 2004. By Mark Coles)
- Vit Wagner (2004): Tom Waits pauses briefly to consider whether "Day After Tomorrow," which takes the form of a letter home from a soldier at the front, should be interpreted as anti-war in general, or anti-Bush in particular. In the end, he decides, it all comes to the same thing. "Bush calls himself a wartime president, so if you're anti-war you're anti-Bush and if you're anti-Bush you're anti-war," reasons Waits, during a recent phone interview. "I don't know whether he came in knowing he was a wartime president and said, `Well you know what, the only thing missing here is a war.' He's like a doctor who breaks your leg. And then comes in and fixes it for you." (Source: "Songs Of Decay From Waits." Toronto Star (Canada). October 5, 2004. By Vit Wagner)
- Tom Waits (2005): "Yeah just a soldier writing home to his family. Tried to make it so it's not really about necessarily this war that we're in now, the Iraq war, but in fact about any war really. Because I guess the letters home are probably the same. I think most of the soldiers are really like the gravel on the road. NS: What do you mean by that? TW: Well the gravel on the road that the others are driving on, you know? Spent shell casings." (Source: "Cool Ivories", American Routes radio show, by Nick Spitzer. February 16-22, 2002)

(2) Rockford
Jonathan Valania (2004): On "Day After Tomorrow." which sounds like a soldier's letter home to his family, you mention Rockford (Ill.), near the Wisconsin border. TW: I read an article about a soldier who died and was from Rockford. A lot of these soldiers come from the South and the Midwest. And these ads for the Army? They're ridiculous. They all play rock 'n' roll, and it's turned up full-blast; they all look so cool in their equipment. JV: On that song, there's a line that goes, "I'm not fighting for justice, I'm not fighting for freedom, I'm fighting for my life." TW: All the guys who come home on leave say that. That's why when you ask them why they just don't stay home now that they're safe, they say, "Because I've got buddies over there, and they need me. I'm not going over there for the government." Because in the end, it's just you and your rifle and your friends. They really are just gravel on the road. Do you think that a senator sleeping in a nice warm bed looks at a soldier as anything more than a spent shell casing? Nothing more. That's why we need more ammo, and the ammo is these children. (Source: "Magnet Interview With Tom Waits", by Jonathan Valania. October, 2004)

(3) Gravel on the road: Notice same phrase being used in Sins Of The Father (Real Gone, 2004): "Hand on the wheel and gravel on the road. Will the pawn shop sell me back what I sold."