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2001: An Obsessive's Odyssey

by Robert Rubino


First forty or fifty times seeing 2001: A Space Odyssey

you were truest of true believers immodestly

worshiping at shrine of Stanley Kubrick honestly


inhaling everything connected with the film from short story

The Sentinel by Arthur C. Clark to reflected glory

of memoirs by anyone attached to its making-of story


absorbing everything linked to this work of art from terrific

documentaries to deep think pieces on symbolic

significance of killer computer & black slab monolithic


intimation of God or gods or evolution or alien masters

or who-knows-what you knew it to be achievement by master

filmmaker long before AFI listed it among all-time masterpieces.


But these past twenty-odd screenings lately exposed portentous

Zarathustra horns & drum & Dawn of Man meat-eating with pretentious

bubble-wrapped bug-eyed floating frozen-face Star Child ridiculous


& tech-centric middle scenes & trippy light show in need of cutting

so deeper drama starker impact would lead to Wow! ending

with “Its origin and purpose still a total mystery” instead of Huh? ending.


Now you watch & study 2001: A Space Odyssey as much

for Kubrick’s indulgences & puny human errors as for inspired touch

of towering artistic genius. Still, he, and it, remain nonesuch.

Robert Rubino writes poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. His work has appeared in The Esthetic Apostle, Hippocampus, Cagibi and Elysian Fields Quarterly. For more than thirty years he was a daily editor and weekly columnist at California newspapers. He lives in Palo Alto, California.

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May 2019

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