13​,​760 Feet - My Personal Hole in the Sky

by A TWA Flight 800 Memoir by Mark L Berry

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1.
Aluminum Parachute - lyrics When all else fails When those I love die From sudden stops After falling from the sky My aluminum parachute Is better than gold A place to re-compute That never grows old There’s a place I still go There’s a place I belong Forward of the front row The source of the siren’s song My aluminum parachute Is better than gold A place to re-compute That never grows old My window with a moving view My office in the wild blue My sanctuary in the clouds Where I’ll always think of you My aluminum parachute Is better than gold A place to re-compute That never grows old
2.
Under the Tiny Bridge - lyrics I followed my gal To Amsterdam We took a cruise Through Amsterdam It’s the way to see True Amsterdam Where Vincent Van Gogh Drew Amsterdam The cruise began In three dialects The guide informed us Of what would be next Anne Frank’s House Was on the right We imagined her hiding Day and night The Tiny Bridge loomed ahead I asked if we’d go through But sir, shall I ruin The end of the tour for you? I followed my gal To Amsterdam We took a cruise Through Amsterdam It’s the way to see True Amsterdam Where Vincent Van Gogh Drew Amsterdam The rest of the cruise Was only a blur I knew now Where I’d propose to her Then finally Up ahead The bridge appeared And the guide said Lovers who kiss Under the bridge Will share their lives In a happy marriage I followed my gal To Amsterdam We took a cruise Through Amsterdam It’s the way to see True Amsterdam Where Vincent Van Gogh Drew Amsterdam We pulled under the bridge I got down on a knee I pulled out the ring For her to see I asked her Will you marry me And she asked Are you for real? I held her hand Close to my heart And I kissed her To seal the deal I followed my gal To Amsterdam We took a cruise Through Amsterdam It’s the way to see True Amsterdam Where Vincent Van Gogh Drew Amsterdam
3.
Plastic Bags and Tiny Tags - lyrics How do I feel About that knock at the door? When the feds delivered All that she wore? In plastic bags Individually sealed It was all too apparent What it really revealed Her fate Her final flight She’s gone And nothing will ever make it right Plastic bags And tiny tags Her business clothes Are now salty rags From air to sea Then delivered to me By the FBI And I can’t unsee Her fate Her final flight She’s gone And nothing will ever make it right All smashed Beyond repair From her fall Three miles in the air So why did I Have to receive Her remaining things That only make me grieve (instrumental) Her fate Her final flight She’s gone And nothing will ever make it right
4.
Tighty-Whitie Deep-Sea Divers - lyrics I remember my first brother in a white christening gown It’s the first memory I had, but then he wasn’t around The baby sitter told me he’s gone home to the sky I didn’t understand it and I didn’t know why A year has gone and I’m at my friends to play And we’re on an ocean expedition today We’ll swim right down to the bottom of the sea All hands on deck come diving now with me We’re deep-sea divers We’re deep-sea divers I don’t know where my dad is but he took my mother And they left me here to play while they made me a new brother We’re deep-sea divers These aren’t just tighty-whities that I’m wearing on my head I was peaking out a leg-hole and jumping on the bed Our cotton diving helmets let us breath under the sea Jump off the bed into the shaggy green sea We’re deep-sea divers Tighty-Whitie Deep-Sea Divers I don’t know where my dad is but he took my mother And the left me here to play while they made me a new brother Yes, We’re deep-sea divers Then my mom walked in the room with a blanket in her arms We were bouncing on the bed and sounding the ship’s alarms Here’s the treasure that you’re diving for, my dad said to me Welcome your new baby brother. We named him Timothy We’re deep-sea divers Tighty-Whitie Deep-Sea Divers We’re diving to the bottom of the shag rug so green And the bathtub is a bubble bath machine We named the bed Calypso, it’s a Yellow Submarine We’re a deep-sea divers
5.
Ode to the Relief Pilot – lyrics Your nickname is “The Eater” And in case you wonder why You sit through the in-flight service While the other pilots fly First salad, steak, then ice cream Don’t forget the Key lime pie Poor old relief pilot You’re a food critic in the sky R-E-L-I-E-F P-I-L-O-T There’s two seats in the cockpit And you’re pilot number three You only fly on long-haul flights To destinations over seas R-E-L-I-E-F P-I-L-O-T You’re the third pilot On a two-pilot crew After the in-flight movie What is there to do? Too junior for a landing You only fly at cruise Poor old relief pilot You’re paid to take a snooze Dozing for dollars That is your resume With both pilots in the cockpit The rest seat is where you’ll stay And every time you get up You’re in the attendants’ way Poor old relief pilot Your turn will come someday R-E-L-I-E-F P-I-L-O-T There’s two seats in the cockpit And you’re pilot number three You only fly on long-haul flights To destinations over seas R-E-L-I-E-F P-I-L-O-T
6.
Companion Song: 13,760 Feet - My Personal Hole in the Sky Chapter 06 – Sorted by Speed
7.
Sacred Watering Holes - lyrics Number thirty-six for takeoff And the aircraft won’t get cool Passengers are all complaining They’re calling me Captain Cruel Only three more legs to fly today Before reaching some random hotel But somewhere in whatever city There’s a place I know they sell A frosty adult beverage With my name on it And I can’t wait to buy a couple For myself and my copilot Every city that we fly to Has a special place Known to every flight crew As our office space The Office is our home-away Picked long ago by our mentors Some sacred watering hole With late-night food and beers Another day Another five flights With challenging approaches Down to the runway lights Dodging thunderstorms In an unfriendly sky And calming passengers Who are afraid to fly Avoiding mountains And high terrain While navigating through torrential rain And mechanical problems With the plane There’s one thing That keeps me sane Every city that we fly to Has a special place Known to every flight crew As our office space The Office is our home away Picked long ago by our mentors Some sacred watering hole With late-night food and beers
8.
Learning to Breathe Again - lyrics I sit and look at your white-gold engagement ring My heart breaks as I sit and stare at this thing She only wore it for two months and four days This ring and I live just like two castaways I’m just trying to learn to breathe again Trying to live another day I’m just trying to learn to breathe again As I try to find my way I’m just trying to learn to live again Trying to end this slow decay And I’m just trying to learn to breathe again To get this pain to fade away I saw a doc to resolve all of my outbursts He made me count from 100 by 7s in reverse He knew I needed help to learn to grieve So he said he would teach me how to breathe I’m just trying to learn to breathe again As I try to find my way I’m just trying to learn to live again Trying to end this slow decay I’m just trying to learn to breathe again To get this pain to fade away No words can explain this pain Nothing will ever feel the same I’m just trying to learn to breathe again Trying to live another day I’m just trying to learn to breathe again As I try to find my way And I’m just trying to learn to live again Trying to end this slow decay I’m just trying to learn to breathe again To get this pain to fade away
9.
Black Firebird - lyrics That new Firebird was his pride Midnight black, with black inside Gold bird of prey across the hood He’s always washing it and shining it good Early one morning, he happened to stop by Yelled in my window “Lets take her for a ride” Breakfast was calling as I crawled to the car My head hung over from drinkin’ at the bar Lets have some fun and take a little ride Just a speed run to the airport’s other side We took off so fast I was glued to my seat Engine’s howling whine, I feel the heat From a distance I could see the Village Inn My stomach aching and I’m feeling sick and thin I saw it in his eyes, shoulda thought the worst It caught me by surprise when he slammed her in reverse Engine screamed I’m sorry, Tires squealed and smoked We suddenly came to a stop and he finally spoke You see my warranty is up in just a few weeks I’ll have to pay out of pocket to fix all the leaks I want to keep this car, I want it like new It’s a long walk back and that’s why I brought you Sorry about breakfast, I hope lunch will do Thanks for the company, I can see you’re not amused He never returned for the second semester He probably went to jail or is some big investor When the pages of life turn with time and memories of friends turn to rhymes Refreshing my mind of a dangerous time That airport run is still burned in my mind And that black Firebird, black as night A symbol of my youth, before this boy took flight
10.
Keep the Giant Emergency Life Raft Inflated - lyrics I heard the overhead announcement In my head Prepare for a ditching out at sea In my head I thought that I could save her In my head She would always be with me Now In my head The flight attendants yelled In my head “Open seatbelts, come this way” In my head I couldn’t leave without her ’cause In my head The last I saw her was that day I see a giant yellow life raft In the crisis of my dreams No matter how hard that I pump it The more pointless that it seems In my head The giant yellow raft was leaking In my head Water was spilling over the side Oh In my head The captain handed me a hand pump In my head I couldn’t accept that she had died (spoken through a megaphone) Keep the giant emergency life raft inflated Keep the giant emergency life raft inflated In therapy The hand pump was my breathing In reality It did more than keep me alive In therapy My breathing was my reminder In reality She would have wanted me to survive (spoken through a megaphone) Keep the giant emergency life raft inflated Keep the giant emergency life raft inflated Keep the giant emergency life raft inflated In the sea There was no water landing In the paper The plane exploded in the air In my head I dream that I was with her In the real world She was never really there I see a giant yellow life raft In the crisis of my dreams No matter how hard that I pump it The more pointless that it seems
11.
Teaching Is A License To Learn - lyrics My students and I sit side by side Sometimes it’s a turbulent ride Sometimes new ones get terrified That’s when I have to stay dignified Keeping students from crashing me Giving advice and acting naturally While flight instructing daily Teaching is a license to learn Teaching is a license to learn I show students the proper procedures How to handle the throttles and mixtures How to plan for unexpected encounters And how to emergency land into pastures Keeping a cool personality It’s harder than it appears to be While flight instructing daily Teaching is a license to learn Teaching is a license to learn I’m getting paid to fly While my students try To navigate the sky Every mistake that a student can do Is a chance for me to learn, too Every hour that we fly, me and you Is doing what we love to do Keeping students from crashing me Giving advice and acting naturally While flight instructing daily Teaching is a license to learn Teaching is a license to learn Keeping students from crashing me Giving advice and acting naturally While flight instructing daily Teaching is a license to learn Teaching is a license to learn
12.
How Can I Keep You - Lyrics (v1) What good do plans do? If I'm left without you And all of our dreams Have all washed away What good is love for? If I'm left still wanting more You’re back in yesterday While I rotate away (chorus) I dream of you each night You’re gone with the sun It doesn’t seem right I feel so undone What can I do? What can I say? How can I keep you From slipping away? (v2) You were all too real You were so meaningful You filled up my life And gave me your love Why did you have to die I just cant to say goodbye Were you more than I Was worthy of? (chorus) I dream of you each night You’re gone with the sun It doesn’t seem right I feel so undone What can I do? What can I say? How can I keep you From slipping away? (v3) What good do plans do If I'm left without you And all of our dreams Have all washed away I’ll never see you again My lover, my best friend You’re back in yesterday While I rotate away
13.
Hopping Dream - lyrics I packed my bags Left my winter coat Went to find my wings Left my folks a note Bought a one-way pass For S-J-U Don’t know where I’ll end up But before I am through I’m coming back as crew I’m only coming back When I wear wings, too The hardest part about any job is getting it The hardest part of any dream is forgetting it And if my dream takes longer than expected And if it feels like I’m endlessly rejected I’m gonna do what I have to do So I became an airport rat Begging to interview Every pilot that I ran into Is your airline hiring? I want to know Who will be acquiring More planes and grow? I want to be an F-O Copiloto quiero yo The hardest part about any job is getting it The hardest part of any dream is forgetting it And if my dream takes longer than expected And if it feels like I’m endlessly rejected I’m gonna do what I have to do There are DC-3s And Briton Norman Islanders The Seaplane Shuttle And de Havilland Twin Otters Every island in the Caribbean Is connected by air But who needs another pilot? I’ll take any job, I swear! The hardest part about any job is getting it The hardest part of any dream is forgetting it And if my dream takes longer than expected And if it feels like I’m endlessly rejected I’m gonna do what I have to do Still I’m gonna do what I have to do
14.
"Hey-ho, I Can't Let Go" - lyrics (1) Holidays and Birthdays Are triggering events Whenever one sneaks up on me It makes my body tense Those calendar reminders Don’t make a lot of sense (chorus) Hey-ho, I can’t let go I’m pumped too tight and I don’t feel right Hey-ho, I can’t let go I’m dynamite And I’m about to blow (2) Emotions that we bury We bury still alive Somewhere deep inside of me They’re growing and survive They’re trying to take over me They’re buried yet they thrive (chorus) Hey-ho, I can’t let go I’m pumped too tight and I don’t feel right Hey-ho, I can’t let go I’m dynamite And I’m about to blow (3) Combat soldiers, football players And fighters in a cage Someone running from a mountain lion Should feel this kind of rage If you tried to take my blood pressure You’d prob’ly break the gauge (chorus) Hey-ho, I can’t let go I’m pumped too tight and I don’t feel right Hey-ho, I can’t let go I’m dynamite And I’m about to blow (alternate chorus) Hey-ho, I can’t let go I’m hydraulically Pure T-N-T Hey-ho, I can’t let go I’m pumped too tight And I’m about to blow
15.
Pilots of the Caribbean - lyrics I have to shake the millipedes from my shoes It’s just a another part of paying my dues But there’s a runway just outside of my back door That’s all I care about, and that’s what I’m here for I’m a pilot of the Caribbean Just Another F-ing First Officer But I’m burning jet fuel and logging turbine time From the right seat of my Twin Otter The Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico Just some places, that you know that we go Beef Island on Tortola The crushed-shell runway of Virgin Gorda Well I’m a pilot of the Caribbean Just Another F-ing First Officer But I’m burning jet fuel and logging turbine time From the right seat of my Twin Otter Get the tourists off and load more back on Gotta lift off, got to be gone A happy hour buffet waiting for me For all I’m not paid, I’ve got to, I’ve got to eat free Well I’m a pilot of the Caribbean Just Another F-ing First Officer But I’m burning jet fuel and logging turbine time From the right seat of my Twin Otter
16.
Tryin’ to Get Off-Island - lyrics St. Croix is beautiful Someone said to me It’s more like a trailer park In the middle of the sea The hotel I’m living in Has been condemned One-dollar longnecks Are my only friend Tryin’ to get off-island In the middle of the night Need to get off-island Before morning light I heard a rumor I could catch a flight With a mail plane in The middle of the night So I’m standing on the tarmac With a flight bag full of rum Here comes a couple of props And I stick out my thumb Tryin’ to get off-island In the middle of the night Need to get off-island Before morning light Tryin’ to get to San Juan To catch another flight If I get to San Juan I can make it home tonight Vieques is hot, he said So the ride won’t be boring Before I know I’m flying He’s asleep in back and snoring It’s just me and the sun and sky And the endless blue sea Sitting in the cockpit I’m finally free Tryin’ to get off-island In the middle of the night Need to get off-island Before morning light
17.
On the 20th Floor - lyrics On the 20th floor She’s waiting for me She opens the door For my therapy On the 20th floor Office of psychology My counselor With a grief specialty The session begins With a big hug hello And she’s never the first It’s me that lets go She opens our session With how do I feel? My eyes are open But nothing feels real On the 20th floor She’s there for me Inside the door Of my therapy On the 20th floor Office of psychology My counselor With a grief specialty I get through my days From sun-up to sunset In a repetitive haze Through eyes that stay wet So she offers to listen And she nods once or twice And only when time’s up She offers advice On the 20th floor She’s there for me Inside the door Of my therapy On the 20th floor Office of psychology My counselor With a grief specialty There are no easy answers There’s no quick way to heal There isn’t a short cut Through the pain that I feel She walks me to the door And she hugs me once more Until the elevator opens On the 20th floor On the 20th floor She sets me free Until I need more Of her therapy On the 20th floor Office of psychology That’s where I store My broken side of me
18.
The Box the Twin-Otter Came In - lyrics The box the Twin-Otter came in It may not be that perty You may be tempted to laugh and point But I still love my Shorts 3-30 The tower asked us to climb a little faster Sorry, but with thirty passengers there’s no way I told him, “We have a load in our Shorts” I could hear him laughing as he said, “OK.” The Shorts was very slow, Much slower than a jet But I got paid not by the hour But by the minute; that’s better yet The box the Twin Otter came in It may not be that perty You may be tempted to laugh and point But I still love my Shorts 3-30 The Shorts isn’t pressurized And can’t climb above the rain and snow When ice begins to build up There’s just no place to go I’ve got ice building up in places Almost as big as bowling balls But I have to make announcements Before I shed ice against the cabin walls The box the Twin-Otter came in It may not be that perty You may be tempted to laugh and point But I still love my Shorts 3-30 As we neared our destination Approach told another plane to follow us “Negative sir, we can’t see him against the trailer park” Said the snarky captain of the larger Airbus He can try to hurt my feelings But I still love to go out and fly The box the Twin-Otter came in Even if it’s the biggest joke up in the sky The box the Twin-Otter came in It may not be that perty You may be tempted to laugh and point But I still love my Shorts 3-30
19.
My Magic 8 Ball - lyrics (v1) Now that you are gone I put my lens cap on My future’s so unclear A week, a month, five years I can’t bear to see Anything ahead of me My eyes are full of tears From facing my darkest fears (chorus) Even my Magic 8 Ball Can’t tell me what to do Even my Magic 8 Ball Feels lonely without you Even my Magic 8 Ball Can’t see beyond today Just me and my Magic 8 Ball Since you went away (v2) Oh fortune telling sphere You know what I need to hear Will there ever be a day When the pain will go away? Is there a way to hold on tight? And make it through the night? And face tomorrow too Can you tell me what to do? (bridge) Don’t let me down Don’t make me “ask again later” Instead of “I better not tell you now” Just do me this one favor I’ve already asked you twice I’m desperate for your advice I thought you understood I’m tired of, “Outlook not so good” (chorus) Even my Magic 8 Ball can’t tell me what to do Even my Magic 8 Ball feels lonely without you Even my Magic 8 Ball can’t see beyond today It’s just me and my Magic 8 Ball since you went away
20.
Long Live the Pigship - lyrics The year of fire, one foot in the exit Ain’t even got started and it’s all on the line Do or die, in for all or nothing And everything’s against you when you’re doing your time ’88 (aviate), desk job on a Pigship Everywhere’s the same when you’re sideways and blind Every flight could be the one to break you So brace for the worst while you pray to survive O, the days when pigs could fly (Pigship roll call) Porky’s Pride, Thunder Pig Queen of the Sty, Swine Flew Lard Limo, Ham Tram Piggy Sue, Pork Chopr Warped Hog, Sky Pig Picnic Ham, Spring Chitlin Pickled Pigs Feet, Makin’ Bacon Bacon Bomber, Aurora Boarialis Petulant Porker, Heavenly Hog Porker Forker, Porky’s Petunia Pigmalion, Kermit’s Desire Hammy Fay Bacon, Truffle Hunter Strato Swine, Short Lardage Pigadilly, Old Lang Swine Lark Sakes, Kitty Hog Pig O- My Heart, Pork Du Jour
21.
City in the Sky - lyrics I want a coffee at 40 West Is that so hard to do? When I give an order I expect it carried through It’s a city in the sky It’s a city with a king Those who make a living Must kneel and kiss his wings Don’t you dare talk back to me Or I’ll fire you on the spot You see me wearing four gold stripes And when I look at you you’re not On wooden ships with iron men Many miles away from shore The captain’s word was law back then But we don’t need tyrants anymore When I sign the logbook That means from nose to tail The captain is the man in charge On jets and boats that sail And on that flight He ruled through the night But planes don’t fly forever As he flew The crew all knew His rule ended with the gear lever It’s a city in the sky It’s a city with a king In charge of his last endeavor It’s a city in the sky It’s a city with a king And time for a new ruler
22.
Anaphylactic Shock Reaction - lyrics Anaphylactic shock reaction That’s what the doctors said After their desperate attempt at revival And they pronounced my mother dead It was just a Saturday morning But her heart was racing And she was having trouble breathing Dad raced full speed with his horn blowing His mad dash Running lights And driving down The wrong side of the street Her flare-shaped emergency EpiPen Didn’t buy her any extra time And at the emergency-room entrance A nurse asked, “Shall I call for a code?” Head nurse said “Yes!” They all did their best Even cracked her chest But by now you know the rest Anaphylactic shock reaction That’s what the doctors said After their desperate attempt at revival And they pronounced my mother dead I knew of her allergies To flowers, pollen, and honey bees With Mom gone, angry feelings With Mom gone, total loss With Mom gone, angry feelings Angry feelings and total loss Anaphylactic shock reaction That’s what the doctors said After their desperate attempt at revival And they pronounced my mother dead
23.
I Was Home in the Air - lyrics (v1) The sights and sounds That startle most Are just the voice Of my metallic host The stick shaker And the fire bell test Sound alarms When their buttons are pressed I hear them all Before each flight While I flip every switch And inspect each light The take-off warning horn And the TCAS <tee-cass> test I feel each one Deep inside my chest (chorus) Oh, the gear goes up And the gear goes down I was home in the air Between those sounds I was home in the air And my heart would pound I’d find asylum When I’d leave the ground (v2) But then she flew west As the old pilots say Now I can’t fly at all I can’t go out and play With my metallic friends Who kiss the sky ‘Cause she is gone And I don’t know why Oh, the airline took My flight deck away The cockpit home Of my working day Those sights and sounds That eased my mind All fly away While I’m left behind (chorus) Oh, the gear goes up And the gear goes down I was home in the air Between those sounds I was home in the air And my heart would pound I’d find asylum When I’d leave the ground Oh, the gear goes up And the gear goes down To me those are Pure magic sounds I was home in the air And my heart would pound In synch with the systems And each specific sound
24.
Dirty Double-Crosser - lyrics I commute into LGA Then I fly out of JFK I’m up all night to London For a 24-hour stay Then it’s back into IAD Another hotel night awaits for me But there’s no time for me to see Much here in Washington, DC Oh well Two round trips across the ocean My life’s in endless motion Along with my airline family A dirty double-crosser, that’s me Another wake-up call Yet another short night Now it’s off to Paris On another trans-Atlantic flight Wash my uniform in the sink Only time for one quick drink Another plane awaits in the morning At good old CDG Oh well Two round trips across the ocean My life’s in endless motion Along with my airline family A dirty double-crosser, that’s me Because every holiday While the world goes out to play We get you where you want to be Me and my airline family We’re dirty double-crossers Two round trips across the pond Familiar with every airport But rarely what’s beyond Finally back at JFK Gotta find a way home somehow I’ve got a few days off That’s all that they allow Then it’s time to repack my bag And get back to work again Never shaking off my jetlag I’ll see you on the plane again Oh well We’re dirty double-crossers While the world goes out to play We show up to work Over every holiday We’re dirty double-crossers We’re always in the air If you want to go somewhere We’re the ones who’ll get you there
25.
“Wanderlust” - lyrics (V1) I’m so afflicted <Wanderlust> I’m so affected <Wanderlust> I can feel it calling <Wanderlust> And I don’t feel right Until my pack’s on tight And I’m over the horizon (V2) It’s getting harder <Wanderlust> When all I do is miss her <Wanderlust> And I feel like I’m falling <Wanderlust> ‘Cause nothing feel’s right And I’m up all night And I’m not ready for another sun___ (Ch) <sun> rise without her I still miss her and I’ll never hold her <again> I rise without her I still miss her So I just face the wind <again><again><again> (V3) Oh, I know <I’ll never see her again> Oh, I know <Here will never be the same> Oh, I know <I need to move forward> And I won’t feel right Until my pack’s on tight And I’m over the horizon (Ch) <sun> rise without her I still miss her and I’ll never hold her <again> I rise without her I still miss her So I just face the wind <again><again><again> (Outro, note: lead and backing vox sung together) over the horizon / <over the horizon> over the horizon / <over the horizon> over the horizon / <over the horizon> <bye bye>
26.
Cardinal Puff - lyrics What can we do With a full can of beer A bunch of our friends And some time on our hands? I’ll tell you my story About the Great Cardinal Puff Do my finger tapping And other sacred stuff So here’s to the Cardinal Puff For the first time tonight Watch the choreography And be sure to get it right To pass or fail the challenge We each drink a full beer Becoming a Cardinal looks easy But it’s harder than it appears Are you a Cardinal? Any time that question’s asked “You bet your sweet ass I am” You’d better answer fast So here’s to the Cardinal Puff For the second time tonight My finger tapping looks the same It’s close, but not quite To pass or fail the challenge Put the can to your lips Everything matters Even how many sips Are you a Cardinal? Any time that question’s asked “You bet your sweet ass I am” You’d better answer fast So here’s to the Cardinal Puff For the third time tonight Have you paid attention Think you can get it right? Once a Cardinal, always a Cardinal The table is dry Now you’ve seen me do it I dare you to try
27.
The Secret the Darkness Completely Concealed - lyrics (cut lyrics) At my local deli the owners even took down their sign “No Shirt” and “No Shoes” was suddenly fine And they gave free cream-cheese bagels to topless girls standing in line I was sandwiched between them and gladly paid for mine (cut lyrics) This is a story about a gal not worth mentioning by name But it’s a lesson in life worth remembering all the same She’s a girl that I’ve tried very hard to forget One of two true deceivers that I’ve ever met Plain White Toast She had a six-month rule, I only learned later That was how long she’d let someone date her Before she moved on, because her stories would unravel She hated to be dumped, so she’d pack up and travel But this time was different; she had another plan Only later I learned, that she’d slept with another man Without protection of course, and nature kicked in She insisted it was mine and stop living in sin (cut lyrics) And suddenly she found God; suddenly she’s pro-life She didn’t ask, she demanded, to become my wife I attempted to discuss the options remaining But her mind was made up, she ignored my campaigning I refused to get married on account of the baby But I didn’t rule it out—after it’s born, well just maybe We’ll see how we’re doing, and if our relationship grows We’re not ready now, but in the future, who knows? I’ll never forget what was revealed The secret the darkness had completely concealed I’ll never forget what was revealed The secret the darkness had concealed The secret the darkness had concealed Mending our relationship was back on the table We weren’t getting along, but somehow we were able To be civil at night, after we turned out the light And do something together, instead of fight We worked our way up to the rhythm we’d known My abs rocked her belly that barely had grown And she received every thrust with a passionate moan Until suddenly they stopped, like she’d hung up the phone And wet, I felt wet, more than any orgasm yet But something was wrong, that I couldn’t interpret So I asked her to tell me if she was all right But all that I heard was the silence of the night I’ll never forget what was revealed The secret the darkness had completely concealed I’ll never forget what was revealed The secret the darkness had concealed The secret the darkness had concealed I asked her again and still got no reply So, I gently got up and set out to try To turn on a light and see what was wrong It was then that I wished that my stomach was strong (cut lyrics) There was blood, blood, and more blood, literally everywhere Her body was covered from her toes to her hair (cut lyrics) It pooled on the mattress and dripped onto the floor And bloody red footprints had followed me to the door I too was naked and covered in red And her eyes froze in shock as I returned to the bed She’d miscarried her baby at the worst possible time And the scene of our lovemaking now looked like a crime The bed was a red puddle and the walls were all splattered But she was still breathing and that’s all that really mattered (cut lyrics) I scooped her in my arms and took her to the shower And rinsed us both off at this ungodly hour I rolled up a towel and squeezed it between her thighs She still wasn’t talking but there was a response in her eyes It took every ounce of my strength and remaining willpower To distract her from shock as I cleaned her in the shower I made her close her eyes while I scrubbed us both clean I washed away more blood than I’d ever seen I’ll never forget what was revealed The secret the darkness had completely concealed I’ll never forget what was revealed The secret the darkness had concealed The secret the darkness had concealed (cut lyrics) I said, “Stay in the bathroom” and handed her a receiver Get an ambulance coming, we have to leave here I cleaned up the room as fast as I could Losing this much blood couldn’t be good (cut lyrics) Sitting in the tub she hadn’t dialed 9-1-1 She said, “It’s a boy. I don’t wonna lose my son.” “We have to go to the hospital right away.” “No.” She said, “No. They’ll take him away.” (cut lyrics) “You’re hemorrhaging inside; you’ll die if you stay. Your life is at stake, you need to do as I say.” I got her out of the shower and into her car Even running red lights, the hospital seemed too far (cut lyrics) She survived the experience but her pregnancy died And soon after that night I found out that she’d lied There were lots of indiscretions, and the identity of the father Will always be a mystery, but why even bother? (cut lyrics) She blamed me for all this because six months had gone by And I hadn’t proposed and she’d continued to lie And she knew that I’d leave her when the truth came to light And it’s my fault that her God took her baby that night (cut lyrics) We parted ways, severed clean, never more to be seen If you’ve ever been lied to then you know what I mean But as we move forward we bring with us our past To make better futures and look back in contrast It’s a time I now remember only as a life-lesson learned Some sort of emergency merit badge I earned I was tested that night to deal with severe trauma And with that lesson learned, I’d had enough of her drama (cut lyrics) One aversion to children that I’d always had I didn’t think that I’d be a very good dad I was squeamish and knew it and felt a dad should be Strong in the stomach and never get queasy (cut lyrics) When his child gets hurt, a dad needs to be there He needs to be able to provide urgent care That I might not be able to handle this chore Was my biggest fear that I felt to the core But as bad as this experience has weighed on my soul I know that it’s pulled me out of a very dark hole Now I know I can handle what life throws my way I can ignore all the blood and still do OK I’ll never forget what was revealed The secret the darkness had completely concealed I’ll never forget what was revealed The secret the darkness had concealed The secret the darkness had concealed
28.
Susanne - lyrics She was born in Denmark Destined for the world Raised in New England A simple down-home girl So full of life So full of hope When the hand of fate closed I knew so briefly Two years, give or take I grew to love her Something in her way So full of life So full of hope When the hand of fate closed Where’s the justice for the innocent? Where’s the truth that bears her name? Where’s the justice for the innocent? Life will never be the same Sweet as an angel So deep and true Trying for someone That someone was you To share her life To share her hope When the hand of fate closed At last we caught certainty She had become so happy A newborn rising sun Faded without warning Who stole her life Who stole her hope Damn the hand of fate that closed Where’s the justice for the innocent? Where’s the truth that bears her name? Where’s the justice for the innocent? We will never be the same But your memory remains Your memory sustains From Denmark to the Long Island sands In memory, always, Susanne
29.
One Day - lyrics They’re not here for you They’re not here for me They’re just here for themselves As you will see They look up to no one They look down on you Everything that they say Everything that they do Oh, one day One day we will see Oh, one day One day we will be Just a product of our complacency Nothing left for you and me Oh, one day One day we will see I believed they were good I believed life was fair That my water was clean That I could still breathe the air But these aren’t rights that I own They’ve all been taken away Now that I’ve opened my eyes I see it every day Oh, one day One day we will see Oh, one day One day we will be Just a product of our complacency Nothing left for you and me Oh, one day One day we will see As I forge ahead I wonder where I’ll go They won’t let me stay Now that they know I know They still hold all the cards They still run the show Maybe soon there won’t be Anywhere else to go Oh, one day One day we will see Oh, one day One day we will be Just a product of our complacency Nothing left for you and me Oh, one day One day we will see They’re not here for you They’re not here for me They’re just here for themselves As you will see They look up to no one They look down on you Everything that they say Everything that they do Oh, one day One day we will see Oh, one day One day we will be Just a product of our complacency Nothing left for you and me Oh, one day One day we will see Oh, one day Oh, one day Oh, one day Oh, one day Oh, no day like today
30.
Lyrics: The Formula One was waiting for me Just an autobahn ride down to Hungary Freddy and I in his cherry sports car Left Vienna one day at two hundred per hour We’re meeting some girls, he confided in me I know that you’ll like them, just wait and see They’re young little virgins and Schumacher fans I’ve arranged everything, I’ve made all the plans “Virgins,” you say? Did I hear that one right? Wanted out of the car, but there was nowhere in sight I escaped into a dream – Dreaming I’d run far away Only in my dream, could I make this go away These girls fulfill my need, Freddy said through my haze So I can spread my seed; his words seemed cra-zy “Seed,” did he say? Did I hear that one right? Wanted out of the car, but there was nowhere in sight I escaped into a dream – Dreaming I’d run far away Only in my dream, could I make this go away Twin girls offered up by their father, each one barely fourteen Their giggled misunderstanding at what this all could mean “Fourteen,” did he say? Did I hear that one right? Wanted out of the car, but there was nowhere in sight I’ve gotta escape, but I can’t see the light Wanted out of the car, but there was nowhere in sight I escaped into a dream – Dreaming I’d run far away Only in my dream, could I make this go away
31.
The Infinite Steps - lyrics To get away from my grief I went far away I strapped on a pack And lived day to day When I’m wearing a pack Every step is a chore But with every step There’s another step more Nine hours of climbing A 3000-foot rise The last thing I needed Was a scary surprise The Infinite Steps Continued on and on As far as I can see And I’ve been climbing since dawn Whistling in the woods That can’t be good Am I being followed? I froze where I stood Those birdcalls are fake And even though I ache If they decide to attack me They’ll learn their mistake I’ll fight ‘til I’m dead I have nothing to live for If you want a fight I’ll give you a war The Infinite Steps Continued on and on As far as I can see And I’ve been climbing since dawn I picked up a rock And resigned to my fate Nowhere to run So I stood up straight I can’t afford To be easy prey on the trail They’ll want a soft target But they’re gonna fail I could hear them Just off to my right Making noise in the woods Just out of sight The Infinite Steps Continued on and on As far as I can see And I’ve been climbing since dawn When I finally Approached Ghoripani What did I see Looking back at me? Four shady boys Staring at my hand At the rock I was holding That spoiled their plan So they slipped away Avoiding the village To wait another day For a trekker to pillage (chorus) The Infinite Steps Continued on and on As far as I can see And I’ve been climbing since dawn The risk was behind me The view my reward Was it worth the climb? I’d reached an accord I couldn’t go back To before my gal’s death But just like on the trail I could count every breath And reach for the sun Climbing over the range And decide what I could handle And what I couldn’t change The Infinite Steps Went on and on But tomorrow I’ll see The Himalayas at dawn The Infinite Steps Went on and on But tomorrow I’ll see The Himalayas at dawn
32.
Cathedral Steps - lyrics Sitting on cathedral steps Self-medicating from a flask Why did this have to happen? Is that so much to ask? Sitting out another sermon Drinking away another day Can’t look at New York City And see things the same old way 9-11 are just numbers Carved on stones, the numbers of the dead 9-11 are just numbers But they burn, they burn inside my head 9-11 are just numbers Carved on stones, the numbers of the dead Too many of my friends Are parked below those stones But their boxes are really empty There’s nothing left—no flesh or bones Can’t say goodbye To an empty box And so I’m sitting here ’cause sometimes life just sucks and now I’m waiting for hope to appear when will hope come meet me here? 9-11 are just numbers Carved on stones, the numbers of the dead 9-11 are just numbers But they burn, they burn inside my head 9-11 are just numbers Carved on stones, the numbers of the dead Tomorrow the same thing And more and more each day Funerals never ending The priests are out of things to say Sitting on cathedral steps Self-medicating from a flask Why did this have to happen? Is that too much to ask? Sitting out another sermon Drinking away another day Can’t look at my city And see things the same old way 9-11 are just numbers Carved on stones, the numbers of the dead 9-11 are just numbers But they burn, they burn inside my head 9-11 are just numbers Carved on stones, the numbers of the dead
33.
Sacred Watering Holes - lyrics Number thirty-six for takeoff And the aircraft won’t get cool Passengers are all complaining They’re calling me Captain Cruel Only three more legs to fly today Before reaching some random hotel But somewhere in whatever city There’s a place I know they sell A frosty adult beverage With my name on it And I can’t wait to buy a couple For myself and my copilot Every city that we fly to Has a special place Known to every flight crew As our office space The Office is our home-away Picked long ago by our mentors Some sacred watering hole With late-night food and beers Another day Another five flights With challenging approaches Down to the runway lights Dodging thunderstorms In an unfriendly sky And calming passengers Who are afraid to fly Avoiding mountains And high terrain While navigating through torrential rain And mechanical problems With the plane There’s one thing That keeps me sane Every city that we fly to Has a special place Known to every flight crew As our office space The Office is our home away Picked long ago by our mentors Some sacred watering hole With late-night food and beers
34.
Shakin’ It in the Dark - lyrics The sweat is real And so is the pressure The visual seems real And so does the weather When an engine fails We perform the procedure We’re shakin’ it in the dark Up on jacks We’re shakin’ it in the dark Step on the rudder Check my fear Fly runway heading Pull up the gear Avoid the hills Level off when we’re clear We’re shakin’ it in the dark Up on jacks We’re shakin’ it in the dark The simulator Is a pressure percolator A scenario incubator And a heart rate stimulator Pairs of aviators Try to impress our moderator Through engine failures And the loss of generators Steering clear of windshear And extinguishing fire indicators This is what we do When we’re shakin’ it in the dark Time to land Put down the gear Fly the gauges Until we break out in the clear Land safely And we’re good for a year We’re shakin’ it in the dark Up on jacks We’re shakin’ it in the dark Every year We’re shakin’ it in the dark Until we retire We’re shakin’ it in the dark
35.
Ode to Old Big Flo- Lyrics So sorry to see you go, Big Flo But you’ll help us more than you can know All wired up so we can see What goes on internally To study airline crash survivability Crash test dummies will see everything Camera eyes watching nose and tail and wings Will the overheads fly open? Will the fuselage be broken? Will the oxygen deploy when the landing gear’s destroyed? So sorry to see you go, Big Flo But you’ll help us more than you can know All wired up so we can see What goes on internally To study airline crash survivability Mid-air, Cap’n says it’s time to go All three pilots bail—“Geronimo!” Chase plane right behind ya Don’t worry, we can find ya Servos set for remote-controlled pitch and roll So sorry to see you go, Big Flo But you’ll help us more than you can know All wired up so we can see What goes on internally To study airline crash survivability Big Flo’s in position For her final mission Will she break up without burning? Will this lead to higher learning? Sorry to tell you Big Flo flies no more But she helped us more than you could ever know All wired up so we can see What goes on internally To study airline crash survivability She kissed the sky then laid her head In the cold brown earth of a dry lake bed And now we say farewell to Old Big Flo Yeah, now we say farewell to Old Big Flo
36.
Farewell to Concrode - lyrics I always wanted to go flying on Concorde But it’s something I can no longer do Because now every Concorde that once flew has been grounded And now within these hangar walls they are confounded Never to fly again Never to fly again Never to fly, never to fly again So bye-bye Farewell to Concorde I always wanted to go flying on Concorde Because it seemed like just the thing to do Riding on a Supersonic Transport in the sky Sipping on champagne and sitting next to you, my baby I used to stop and stare with envy in my eyes Such a beautiful bird, just to watch it fly Once this great machine was the envy of the skies Now I’ll never get to ride it before I die I always wondered what it felt like To fly faster than mach two point zero four Sitting on the edge of space ten miles up in the sky Looking down at the world while riding next to you, my baby I used to stop and stare with envy in my eyes Such a beautiful bird, just to watch it fly Once this great machine was the envy of the skies Now I’ll never get to ride it before I die Well it’s famous pointy nose Now it strikes a permanent pose In the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum Where you can see ’em On the hangar floor Never to fly no more Never to fly again Never to fly again Never to fly, Never to fly again So bye-bye Farewell to Concorde
37.
When I Look Back at Twenty - lyrics When I look back at twenty Now that I’m forty-five I think of all I’ve been through And that I’m lucky to be alive I can still picture classmates Whose aircraft broke apart I’m still doing what they loved And carry them in my heart If I was twenty again And could see me today Would I be proud of myself That I’d turned out okay? If I was twenty again And could see me today Would I be proud of myself That I’d turned out okay? I became the pilot I wanted to be I’ve seen of the world What I wanted to see But what else have I become As I look at what’s me The wandering branch Of my family tree When I look back at twenty Now that I’m forty-five The lesson I’ve learned Is how to survive When I look back at twenty Now that I’m forty-five The lesson I’ve learned Is how to survive And now I look forward At what’s still to be And when I look back from sixty If I’ll still recognize me
38.
What Route Do You Fly? - lyrics What route do you fly? Where have you been? Where are you going? Time and again Through all the rain You steer the plane How do you know What’s far below Through all the snow How do you know How do you see Where it’s safe to be? What route do you fly? Where have you been? Where are you going? Time and again You take to the sky You fly so high How do you know What your instruments show Inside the plane Every now and then You take the reins And you land again I want to learn this I want to fly I want to see this World from the sky What route do you fly? Where have you been? Where are you going? Time and again
39.
Alison - lyrics Alison, I’ve tried to let you know That I am here, I won’t let you go It’s taken time for me to see Everything that you might mean to me So much has happened and we’ll never know why But we’re not young anymore Now we’ve given it a try Who knows what life has in store Never a day goes by, when I… Never a dream I’ve had, when I… Always I believe And never could I conceive, when I don’t think of you When I, don’t dream of you Alison I’ll always think of you, and I A look at you makes my heart soar You’re my sun and stars and so much more I see my whole life in you And everything I thought I always knew Whatever the world might throw in our way I’ll be there to hold you near When it comes down to it at the end of the day You’re the thing I hold most dear Alison I’ll always think of you, and I I never knew What this could be I never saw The You in Me Never a day goes by, when I… Never a dream I’ve had, when I… Always I believe And never could I conceive, when I don’t think of you When I, don’t dream of you Alison I’ll always think of you, and I Alison I’ll always think of you, and I Alison I’ll always dream of you, Goodbye
40.
Ode to the Flight Engineer Airplanes today All have two pilots Two pilots are more than enough One pilot flies If the other one dies Two pilots are more than enough But I flew in an era When three pilots ruled Two faced forward and flew The third one sat sideways In front of a panel With more than enough work to do The flight engineer Had no way to steer He had no controls but a desk Computers do now What he only knew how Every miniscule task He balanced the fuel Controlled the cabin temp And managed electrical power Turned on hydraulic pumps Maintained cabin pressure And balanced the fuel every hour When engines failed Or hydraulics were lost Or any of the systems went away It was the flight engineer Who flight after flight Made things always work out OK If the gear didn’t come down He had to crank round and round And do things the old fashioned way Three cranks to the left Or three cranks to the right Were just another part of his day But this is the age With computers the rage There’s no turning back to the day When the flight engineer Would hand crank the gear And make sure everything stayed OK He balanced the fuel Controlled the cabin temp And managed electrical power Turned on hydraulic pumps Maintained cabin pressure And balanced the fuel every hour Airplanes today all have two pilots Two pilots are more than enough One pilot flies If the other one dies Two pilots are more than enough
41.
In Ernest K. Gann’s Day - lyrics In the thirties and forties His flights were called sorties In Liberator Bombers And DC-2s He earned his wings Beside Captains like Kings The High and the Mighty Made him pay his dues Then war brewed in Europe So he went and signed up To help out our country In the Air Transport Command He earned a promotion To fly ‘cross the ocean Now as a captain With a steady hand Ernest K. Gann Wore epaulets And flew across the ocean Well before jet But Fate is a Hunter A blood-thirsty butcher And every pilot Was all too aware It took skill and luck To fly through the muck And with wings full of ice Just to stay in the air That was before radar But still he found Gander And then on to Greenland With barely a map Bluie West One Was never any fun Tucked into fiords As a dire one-way trap Ernest K. Gann Wore epaulets And flew across the ocean Well before jets Then on to Iceland A dark lonely island With no navaids to follow He dead-reckoned his way On my first ocean crossing I can’t help but thinking How much has changed Since back in his day Without laser-ring gyros Those pilots were heroes They crossed the cold ocean Without GPS Those early days of aviation Have my admiration Because every flight Was a lethal game of chess Ernest K. Gann Wore epaulets And flew across the ocean Well before jets In the thirties and forties His flights were called sorties In Liberator Bombers And DC-2s A pilot, an author A gentleman of adventure There was never a man Like Ernest K. Gann

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41 companion songs to Mark L Berry's memoir "13,760 Feet - My Personal Hole in the Sky" co-written with a variety of worldwide musicians.

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released September 21, 2013

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1. Aluminum Parachute - Simon Ashby
2. Under the Tiny Bridge - Billy Sea
3. Plastic Bags and Tiny Tags - Adam Hill
4. Tighty-Whitie Deep-Sea Divers - Christopher and Malachai Madden
5. Ode to the Relief Pilot - Max Vanremmerden
6. Outside of School - Simon Ashby
7. My First Solo - Billy Sea
8. Learning to Breathe Again - TC Elliott
9. Black Firebird - Matt Pierce
10. Keep the Giant Emergency Life Raft Inflated - Max Vanremmerden
11. Teaching Is a License to Learn - Simon Ashby
12. How Can I Keep You - Billy Sea
13. Island Hopping Dream - Nadia Cripps and TC Elliott
14. Hey-ho, I Can't Let Go - Larry Seger
15. Pilots of the Caribbean - Steve Schafer
16. Tryin’ to Get Off-Island - Christopher and Malachai Madden
17. On the 20th Floor - Matt Pierce
18.The Box the Twin-Otter Came In - CTS
19. My Magic 8-Ball
20. Long Live the Pigship - Synthetic Music Apparatus and Deborah Linden
21. City in the Sky - Larry Seger and L. Col. Sheri Miller
22. Anaphylactic Shock Reaction - Kristian Borreson and Adam Hill
23. I Was Home in the Air - Meri Amber
24. Dirty Double-Crosser - Sapient
25. Wanderlust - Simon Ashby
26. Cardinal Puff - Simon Ashby
27. The Secret the Darkness Completely Concealed - Plain White Toast
28. Susanne - Mick James
29. One Day - Shane Clary, Don 'Lefty' Williams, and Cleveland Brown
30. I Escaped into a Dream - John Cooperider
31. The Infinite Steps - Simon Ashby
32. Cathedral Steps - Don 'Lefty' Williams and Errol Elumir
33. Sacred Watering Holes - Billy Sea
34. Shakin It In the Dark - Valerie Cox
35. Ode to Old Big Flo - Chris Belden
36. Farewell to Concorde - Cleveland Brown and Mark L Berry
37. When I Look Back at Twenty - Joanne Gabriel
38. What Route Do You Fly? - Nadia Cripps and Valerie Cox
39. Alison - John Argentiero and Jordan Hirsch
40. Ode to the Flight Engineer - John Cooperider
41. In Ernest K Gann's Day - Mike Skliar

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Literary Companion Songs Missouri

Mark’s an airline pilot with an MFA from Fairfield University, author of a memoir and two novels, contributing editor for Airways magazine, and former managing editor for Mason's Road literary journal. His work has also appeared in numerous magazines, journals, and newspapers. He lives in St. Louis, MO near the big staple in the middle of the USA map. Locals call it: The Arch. ... more

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