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.