Author

Peter B. Smith

“I tell a lot of stories and some of them are even true.”

My name is Peter B Smith. A third generation entrepreneur.

My life is not that much more than an ordinary one. In order, what matters to me are: religion, work and social relations, learning, exercise, eating well, and slacking off.

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Bien, Philosophical Poetry

Poetry

Bien is a collection I wrote over the last year, August 2019 to August 2020. Each poem stands alone and is organized under one of the book’s sections: Finesse, Completeness, Humanness, Togetherness, Sweetness, and Otherness.

About Peter B. Smith

In observing me, you would not find the amount of time spent on each aspect of my life to be in proportion to its meaningfulness.

As an example, there is nothing higher than religion to me, yet I am seldom in a place of worship. I was raised Christian-ish, which means that I went to church yet was not devout. Come the end of my college years and shortly after, I came upon a Zen Buddhist community. Called “The Mountains and Rivers Order,” the community welcomes everyone from lay practitioners to fully committed monastics. I studied with them for a number of years and expect to continue again in the future.

I am a third generation entrepreneur in my family. When my father’s and grandfather’s businesses were failing during my childhood, I saw my father spend every dollar he could so that he could keep his employees paid. Looking back on it, when I do look back on it, I see his moral duty to his employees as being comparable to his moral duty to me, my sister, my mother. I build and operate a business not for the money that comes from it, there are many ways to make money. I do it because I have a moral duty to my neighbors to share the opportunities that exist in our city, our nation, and work together with them so that we can all have meaning in our lives.

My social life is mostly good times with people who, even if they are less than perfect, do what they can to make good times great.

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As for learning, this is an endless endeavour that often occurs alone. I enjoy reading, writing, listening, talking, sitting, moving, and in every one of those things I seek to understand them better. I can give the example of three books I read this weekend, “Paths of Glory” by Humphrey Cobb, “Emotional Blackmail” by Susan Forward, and “Traction” by Gino Wickman.

Exercise is a meaningful piece of my life. For the past year and a half, I have been practicing bodyweight strength training. Ice cream makers and planches and front levers and handstand pushups. There is nothing usual about any of it, and perhaps that’s what I enjoy about it.

Eating well takes so many forms. To me it means surviving. I do not cook elaborately nor do I eat excessively. I basically mean to eat what is on my plate and nothing more or less than that. My friends and family therefore get my greatest compliments when they introduce anything beyond food for survival. I had a meal with a childhood friend in his new home of Park City, Utah. We went out to the nicest restaurant in the state, The Mariposa, and we had hours of food. I measure it by time because the individual meal items, while gourmet and delicious, are not what I remember. I remember the time laughing and sharing stories with my closest friend. Today I eat mostly by grace of the services provided by the restaurants and chefs of Syracuse. They all know that I love them because I say as much every day, sometimes multiple times a day, when I place an order.

Slacking off is the least of what matters to me. It is what I do when I am energetically, mentally, and physically unable to do anything else. In these moments I am often in bed and listening to some YouTube. Last night slacking off looked like listening to a lecture by English economist Paul Collier on his views of the state of capitalism. Earlier in the month it was listening to the House of Representatives hearing featuring the world’s leading technology CEOs.

For an alternative picture of what slacking off looks like for me, a group of us neighbors get together to make each other laugh, to eat some bad pizza, tell inappropriate jokes, and bond for no other reason than we live within two miles of each other.

Where does this book, Bien, fit into my life? I am as uncertain of that as I am the answer to, “where does this book fit into the audience’s life?”

With Autumn approaching and Winter coming fast after that, I will be changing along with the seasons. This book, however, will be a piece of me that does not change. It may be read by others and may even be critiqued, yet it will not change. So for you and for all readers, it is the true story of who I am today.

-Peter, Sunday, August 23, 2020, 12:06 PM

 

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