When I’m on a vacation, be it a month-long backpacking trip or weekend jaunt, each day I plan to leave a section of Walt Whitman’s Song of the Open Road. I might leave it in a B&B guestbook, tuck a note behind a hotel painting or write it on a dollar bill I spend at a hot dog stand. In any case, I’ll be tracking where I leave the poem here. I call it The Open Road Project. Click on the stanzas below to find out where they’ve been left and track the poem’s progress here.
I left the eighteenth section of the poem at the Campus Quarters, a bar in Bowling Green, OH. We stopped in Bowling Green on our way home from Chicago to spend a night with friends. We visited the Campus Quarters to enjoy a game of shuffleboard and I was pleased to find chalkboard-painted stalls in the bathroom. Naturally, I left the poem in one of these stalls.
O public road, I say back I am not afraid to leave you, yet I love you,
You express me better than I can express myself,
You shall be more to me than my poem.