The Ghost in the Alley

by Paula Eve Kirman

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Based on a true story, about poverty, homelessness, and social housing.


He lived in a tent downtown in an alley
Sometimes at a church he would get a meal
Shelters only took him when he was sober
The demons he lived with ruled how he'd feel

Some tried to chase him out of the alley
They'd call the cops to take him away
But pushing him out was not a solution
As if he had anywhere else he could stay

But this neighbourhood had been gentrifying
And some homeowners didn't want him around
They couldn't look into the face of addiction
They were scared of upsetting the life that they'd found

A non-profit group wanted to build some new housing
Where he would have had some help cleaning up
But the neighbourhood council said it's not happening
They already had too much of this stuff

They went to court over the permit
Kept filing injunctions, tying up funds
And the non-profit organization kept fighting
While the neighbourhood council thought that they'd won

Then out of the ashes came grassroots support
From folks who were fed up with everything
They ousted those who held the neighbourhood hostage
To the whims and desires of these self-appointed kings

An emergency community meeting took place
A plan was set in motion that day
The voices of those who could lead with compassion
Drowned out those who'd allow hatred to stay

And now there's a place where some can live safety
The finances found, the permit appealed
But this came through too late to save him,
From his wounds he would never heal

He'll always be a ghost in the alley
His body is gone but his spirit is here
Remember him when you see eyes that look empty
Greet them with love instead of with fear


released October 28, 2020


all rights reserved



Paula Eve Kirman Edmonton, Alberta

Paula Eve Kirman is a Western Canadian singer/songwriter who writes and performs music with a message. Whether singing about life, love, social issues, or spirituality, she focuses on the passion behind the words.

Her song "Summer" was a finalist in the 2017 International Songwriting Contest, and her writing, poetry, and photography are widely published.
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