Any thoughts on why you quote such a long section of Kubla Khan instead of more of the original? "His flashing eyes, his floating hair" is probably my favorite line of Kubla Khan, so I don't begrudge you that, but why include the bit of actual pleasure dome stuff? Just for the whole air/there/Beware/hair ryhme?
It's a great poem, but it stood out from the rest of the story in a weird way for me. The one original "she was alone when she died" line mixed in is neat, but with just under 2/3 of the original poem quoted, it jumped out. The garden isn't terribly pleasure dome related, and Matthew wasn't talking about Kubla Khan, Liz was.
That's a good question, and I'm not sure I have a satisfactory answer for you. That section was something I threw in at the last minute, because it felt right. You're right, Matthew wasn't talking about "Kubla Khan," but it was the last thing he heard the others discussing before he left, so it was kind of floating around in his subconscious. It was supposed to be an example of poetry and real-life clashing. The statement "She was alone when she died" is just one line, but it eclipses the meaning of all the other lines, because it's real and it actually happened (of course, here we get into a grey area, because it DIDN'T actually happen--but in the story's reality, it did). Basically, it was supposed to represent how the reality of that one event is more profound in Matthew's emotional life than all the beauty of all the poems in the world. However, I also liked the contrast between the gardens around the pleasure dome and the garden appearing in the suburban neighborhood. So, the short answer is, it worked for me, but who knows if it worked for anyone else.
I've been forcing this story on people lately, and pretty popular among my old literature-arguing college friends.
Ha! Awesome. Thanks for telling people about it. I hope they get a kick out of it.