Open Road Project: Ironical Smiles in Memphis

27 Apr

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.  Track the poem’s progress here.


I’ve been slacking on this project lately. I’ve done a lot of traveling, but keep forgetting to leave the poem in my wake! Last weekend we went to Memphis for a lovely wedding and had a big old time. We ate at the fantastic Rendezvous BBQ joint, sipped cocktails at the Peabody Hotel, discovered an awesome little secret garden in the middle of the city, and watched two awesome people get married on the rooftop of the Madison Hotel. Of course, I forgot to leave the poem in any of these fantastic spots. As we were leaving town, I realized this and scribbled the 54th section of the poem on the coffee we’d grabbed on our way out of town. Better than nothing, I suppose!

ducks at the Peabody Hotel

mermaid graffiti is the best kind of graffiti

poem on a coffee cup

You shall be treated to the ironical smiles and mockings

of those who remain behind you, what beckonings

of love you receive you shall only answer with passionate kisses

of parting, you shall now allow the hold of those who

spread their reach’d hands toward you.

Where the poem’s been so far:


One Response to “Open Road Project: Ironical Smiles in Memphis”

  1. silverfinofhope April 27, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

    I think every road trip should wind through Memphis, don’t you? Even if one is driving to say…Rochester or somewhere, Memphis must be traveled through or to. Love this project, by the way! I think old Walt would totally approve. xoxo

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