The opposite of vertigo

or, “Sydney, sea level”

Photo found on Mark Holland’s Twitter @RiffRaff71, 2/2/2015.

The opposite of vertigo
Is your wings poised for flight
and your feet stuck in cement;
Is the skyward pull that makes
you ill to be on the ground.

Gravity versus your dreams.

The opposite of vertigo
Is conversations about the weather
and getting angry at traffic;
Is display windows taunting you
with things that won’t make you happy.

You can see right through them.

From the pit of your stomach
to the tip of your tongue
the air here’s thick,
swallows up inspiration.

The opposite of vertigo
Is the sickening sensation of settling;
Is being shackled when you should be airborne.

The opposite of vertigo
Is the curse of those who come down from altitude;
Is the Icarus in you and me.

Note: This piece is, in a way, a companion to Vértigo, which I wrote in July 2013 coming back from Ecuador. For those of you who read Spanish, I’ve reproduced it below.


Se llama vértigo
cuando, despegando de las alturas de tu amor,
mi corazón alcanza el cielo

Se llama vértigo
cuando, dejando atrás mi vida contigo,
veo que dejo también, esparcidos por esas montañas,
trozos de mi alma

Se llama vértigo
cuando, lanzándome a las nubes,
me doy cuenta de lo lejos que queda ya la tierra

Me doy cuenta de la distancia entre tú y yo
que va creciendo,
cada segundo otro kilómetro más –

Otro paso más hacia otro futuro.


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