Xanadu

coleridge-green

(a vision or fragments of a dream)

a colour of a lesser bloom
a falling back from that spectrum
which first lit the trees of Eden.

too much black
and the green and blue together,
a colour my toddler might make
when, in vengeful mode,
he wipes the smiling sun
into the wavy sea
and drowns the black boat
crew & every parenthetical seagull
in a grey wash of watercolours.

call it Xanadu because it’s here
in the philodendron jungle
by the sacred river
that the mighty Khan
declared his fun park
with concession stands
delivery docks and back alleys
redolent with frying fish
the stink of hashish,
boiled cabbage and disinfectant.

and here at the back door
of the Pan Pacific Park night club
around 5 am
find the duchesses and the debauchees
stepping out into the green,
blinking, leaning together.
the sidewalk aslant
they go rolling
down xanadu streets
(O perfect colour)
to their turquoise rooms
once again.


xanadu -6F756E

← This is xanadu, the colour not the place – and for the Weekend Challenge, Sue W has asked for a creative response to the colour with the wonderful name. Also posted at the Open Link Night at Dverse, the poets’ pub where Lillian is hosting from splendid isolation in Boston.

And here’s Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s original fever dream Kubla Khan.

14 thoughts on “Xanadu

  1. I had to re-read ‘Kubla Khan’ after reading this – and am so awed by your words I momentarily wondered if you had partaken of Coleridge’s libation – the imagery of the second stanza! and the final one with ‘duchesses and debauchees’ – I see them rolling along the pavement painted ‘xanadu’

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the colour, but I would have thought Xanadu would be sand yellow or umber. I love the image in these lines, Peter:
    ‘a colour my toddler might make
    when, in vengeful mode,
    he wipes the smiling sun
    into the wavy sea
    and drowns the black boat
    crew & every parenthetical seagull
    in a grey wash of watercolours’
    and the appeal to my sense of smell in these:
    ‘…concession stands
    delivery docks and back alleys
    redolent with frying fish
    the stink of hashish,
    boiled cabbage and disinfectant’.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent. I especially liked this stanza:

    “too much black
    and the green and blue together,
    a colour my toddler might make
    when, in vengeful mode,
    he wipes the smiling sun
    into the wavy sea
    and drowns the black boat
    crew & every parenthetical seagull
    in a grey wash of watercolours.”

    It’s so true right….we muddy up the colors…too much water, too much dipping, too much one on top of the other. This in and of itself is a wonderful metaphor…

    Liked by 1 person

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