Jim Abbott writes, "This poem was inspired by 2 things, A) the title [ Kindred Souls] was used in the lyrics of a Bob Seger song from a few years back, and those 2 words really struck a cord with me. And B) and most important, I am a fiercely proud unionist, a loyal, card carrying member of United Auto Workers local 155.

At our union meetings, as well as in our monthly UAW magazine, Solidarity, we always talk about how us union folk are united. How we are as one, with a common goal, fighting for a common cause. We talk of being a brotherhood. We speak of our fellow union members as being brothers and sisters. And this is something that I wish we also did within the stuttering community. I truly feel that we, as PWS, are indeed a brotherhood. We all have a common bond, something special that connects us. And quite honestly, the feeling of camaraderie that I experienced with my stuttering brothers and sisters at the Chicago convention was stronger than any I have ever felt with my union brethren. Perhaps because our stuttering bond is more emotional, forged deeply into our very beings, whereas with my fellow union workers, it is a ideological bond, based on our beliefs and a common goal. The brotherhood that exists among PWS is what I tried to explore in this poem.

This poem deals with the mutual feelings that PWS share, more so than it does with the act of stuttering itself. In fact, I didn't notice until I was finished with it, but I didn't mention the word stuttering once. First time I've ever done that. Anyway, here it is.Hope you like it."

Kindred Souls

by Jim Abbott

We all have walked that same daunting path
Though we've traveled down many different roads
Each of us in our own unique way
With our own story to be told
True, the obstacles that we have encountered
Were in different places, with different faces and names
But those feelings of fear and embarrassment and anger
Those feelings, my friends, were the same
From the loneliness we experienced in youth
To the bitterness we felt in our teens
To our ofttimes questioning of GOD himself

And our sorrowful chants of "why me"?
Yes, we all have walked that same frightening path
Though we've traveled down many different roads
Why were we chosen to partake of this journey?
Maybe some things weren't meant to be known
We have fought and cried and cursed our fate
We have shouted and we've screamed
We've tossed and turned late into the night
Haunted by our tortured dreams
Whether speaking before 10,000 or more
Or simply trying to say our own names
Our tongues twisted and tangled and tied up in knots
Our faces flushed crimson with shame

Yes, we all have walked that same painful path
Though we've traveled down many different roads

But brothers and sisters when we come together
Most surely, tis a sight to behold
We talk and we laugh, finally freed from our past
Just letting our voices be heard
Opening our hearts to say what is ours
With no fear of the spoken word

Yes, we all have walked that long lonesome path
And though we've traveled those many different roads
All of us share a very special bond
For truly, we are all, kindred souls

added October 27, 2000