2018 Gauntlet Participant: Candace Chaney


“Beauty in hard things.  A sense of elegance and grace that dwells within the heart of human struggle.”




the gods got mad
but never got hurt

till they fought so hard
only one was left.

but the world was too big a job–
everything got all out of whack.

a flood of shit and hunger swept across the earth
and everybody’s hurtin’ bred and bred and lo,

the unsaid kept the unfed dead
and every heart was wet with sweat
and sunk with regret
and every mouth was wide with theft
and the beholdin’ of all
it can’t digest.

pretty soon
it got so bad,

it even killed god.

but you ain’t heard the last of me
he said on the b-roll as the credits scrolled

by and by
i come

and we let him

back after while
because who doesn’t love

the comeback kid
the give it all you got
the money shot

and also cause
he looked like us–

scarred up body,
crooked nose.


Candace Chaney is a Lexington-based poet and arts writer whose working class, Eastern Kentucky roots influence the themes of her work. She is also a co-founder of the Imaginarium of the Bluegrass, an artist collective which focuses on the role of the imagination in our private and public lives.

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