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 nineteenth section of the poem at Jungle Jim’s, where we stopped on our drive home from Bowling Green, Ohio. Jungle Jim’s is a huge grocery store in Fairfield, Ohio (and when I say huge, I mean HUGE- the size of an entire city block). They have all your standard grocery items, but as you wander through the store, you encounter case after case of cheese, a huge selection of wine and beer, tons of natural and organic foods, a dizzying array of hot sauces and an international food section more dazzling than the Epcot Center. We spent nearly two hours there and it was a struggle for me not to completely bankrupt myself. I left feeling dazed and overstimulated, but very very happy.
I think heroic deeds were all conceiv’d in the open air, and all
free poems also, I think I could stop here myself and do miracles
Here’s where the poem has been so far: