“In this cardboard city, the cold bitter nights get to me the hate I fight daily, as if I’d choose this life willingly to live like a king isn’t what I pray, just warmth, and peace away from these maddening streets, the abusive feet” -from “Cardboard City”
Poet Kyle Coare’s The Night Watchman is made from the fruit of personal nightmares, the ghosts of lost feelings, and the echoes of great cruelties that are hard to swallow. This collection wears its heartbreak as a shield, prepared to strike against the forces who try to keep misery the norm and stomp on others’ chances at happiness. It fumes under injustice and is ready to use its words to break free into the horizon.
The Night Watchman is a relevant collection to current problems. The prose is rebellious but kind-hearted, powerful and fresh. I believe this was a great way to bring light to these issues through poetry – it provokes emotion but is speaking against hatred and carelessness, and having apathy for other human beings.
This collection evokes beautiful memories alongside the torments of the modern world, something zombified and grey which is a constant worry and yet some are still aiming towards. There is an equal sense of hope and melancholy, painstakingly written in the truest forms of these feelings that words are able to capture.
The Night Watchman is darkly inspiring, some personal favourites being “Zombies”, “Cease to Be”, “Guns R Us”, “Cardboard City”, “Disenchanted Youth” and the poignant “Dream in a Heartbeat”. A lot of the poems here touch on violence, and all the fallout it causes, the struggle of homelessness, and the way people seem to be growing further away from each other. It does so not in a way that depresses, but in a way that forces you to think. Why does this happen? Why do we allow it? How can we stop it?
The best two poems, in my own opinion, were “Feed” and “In Dreams”. I really liked the nightmare quality that those particular poems had about them, and that the whole second and third acts of the collection kind of branch from.
There is a line from the piece “Vampires” – “we hurt people who have nothing to give” – that says so much. The core of The Night Watchman lies in this message, in this realization of what is wrong with society, and what we can change about ourselves that will lead to a better society. The fears and hang-ups that we may not even realize that we’re harboring, that are harming us and others.
Coare’s third collection is stronger than ever. The Night Watchman is a thought-provoking carousel of dreams, rage and sympathy all at once. It is an observant and raw book of poems that I would recommend for anybody with a full five stars. If you need proof that poetry is just as vital, if not more vital to literature today than it’s ever been, here is proof.
This book is available for purchase on