Despidamos a Pepe / Oswaldo Barreto

Let's Say Goodbye to Pepe

Yesterday, at eleven in the morning, Pepe Barroeta left earth. On this date, 06-06-06, so conventionally charged with prophecies, he, who had nothing conventional about him, probably left to fulfill his own prophecy, the final encounter with his father (whom he would call Néstor with the same affectionate confidence by which he himself was called Pepe): "The night of my death / we will barely converge / one minute in the sky / I will pass into the immensity / and the misfortune / shall then begin / I will escape to Orion"

An Andean from the heart of Trujillo and also a Mediterranean European (by blood, formation, escapes and misfortunes) , he spent his life making and unmaking injustices in politics, the arts and love. He leaves a mark and memory of his intermittent battles for liberty and happiness.

He leaves behind daughters, a Christian widow and who knows how many pagan widows. He leaves a deep mark in the classrooms of many universities and in the bars of the many cities he wandered through.

Besides what his life was and with all that, he leaves us an immense poetic oeuvre, published in titles such as Todos han muerto, Cartas a la extraña, Arte de anochecer, Fuerza del día and Culpas de juglar, along with the one that's still unedited, left in the workshop where he wrote until a few days before succumbing.

In that desire for transparency which signed everything he did, Pepe also leaves us an “Elegy” that speaks of the sense he gave life: “While death exists I will live / singing / drifting on a wave of / desperate music. / In the winters, / in any station / there are so many / who have died for me. / I always want to leave life / without bitterness / Leave her as I've already seen her.”

We say goodbye to you, Pepe, with the same calm pain you’ve used to elegize all your dead.

{ Oswaldo Barreto, TalCual, 7 June 2006}

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