Giovanna Capone

Her gorgeous eyes stare at me


from a computer screen

as the headlines scream

Amy Winehouse, dead at 27


Black eye liner and full make-up

tattooed shoulders and behive,

she had soul beyond her years


My tears won’t stop,

I go home and flop on the bed

slapping the wall

remembering her cockney drawl


On youtube

the journalist was seeking the perfect question

What more to know?

Her life was an open wound

infected and sore

for all to see


Her lyrics described to a T

the agony of an ex

the mess of a reckless affair


She was Ella and Billie and Janis

A moon shining in the dark

the voice that put it so stark

soldering her pain

to vintage music


For Michelle

Anguished, bitter    this woman is
25 year old lesbian separatist
shaved head, tattoos

black leather boots

covered in soot


She’s camouflaged for war
hardline, a lifetime
of anger ransacking her guts

She screams her pain
into my face
like a hurricane
    “It doesn’t get better!
It just keeps getting worse
until you die!”

Will not contain

her disdain

She has a biting wit
Sometimes she’s full of shit
talking non-stop

I get an earful
exaggerations sky high
they blow me away
and I wonder who is she?
what am I doing here anyway?

She rants and raves
just to be brave enough
to get through
one more day

sifting through war wounds old and new
memories of incest
they hurt me too
I need a break
especially mornings when
neither of us has had much sleep
After 8 hours of nightmares
she sits and stares at me
with bloodshot eyes
a drabby yellow house robe
two soggy wads of kleenex
in her fists
She resists even my touch then
I can’t comfort her much
it only makes things worse

I have so much pain in me sometimes I curse
those motherfuckers who did this
who did this to her

She scrimps on kisses
doles them out to me
like war time rations
in true Michelle fashion

she gives me bear hugs and swears instead.

But she’s brainy and wise
knows the earth’s creatures
spirits and herbs
She uses ancient words
to put a warding on our house
during a full moon
She loads her rifle in the bedroom
Goddamn any man
who ever tries to enter
she’s an excellent shot

and I learn a lot
just being around her
I learn how to survive
She’s determined to stay alive
and she teaches me
dropping her pearls of wisdom

into my life

like B-52s


My half eaten quesadilla

sits in a pool of salsa on my plate


The tortilla’s soaked in red

and I dread

eating one more bite

because I’m full.


I dislike stuffing myself

to capacity

Not a good strategy

eating food

to stop memories


I can’t go through life

with this constant fight

in my head


So today it’s a new deal

Eating this

won’t make me miss you

any less


It’s a distress pattern talking

in my head

a bad way to kill time

some kind of faulty wiring

in my mind


Instead, I need to change my world view

the one that existed

before I met you


Food does not equal love – Get it?

Now go full stop.


Make a promise right now

to just drop


the fucking fork.


Sixteen Fatal Blows


to the head

she died of 16 fatal blows

they said she was dead

her children of 3,4, and 5 did not survive

strangled in their beds

they were dead

crime tape surrounded the scene

a baseball bat

baseball bat

baseball bat drenched in blood

and a few handguns purchased 3 years prior


they were all found dead

the neighbors said

he was such a nice guy

a nice guy who kept to himself

kept to himself

a baseball bat

and 5 handguns


rainfall 30 inches below normal

weekend sports ahead



The psychiatric industry has been used for centuries to batter, coerce, and shame people, especially women, into conforming to roles prescribed for us by a patriarchal, misogynist, racist, homophobic system. As a radical feminist and a lesbian, I have a critique of many aspects of this system and the ways it has been used to silence and control women who don’t fit the mold expected of us. Under the “psychiatric industry,” I include psychiatry, psychotherapy, the pharmaceutical industry, the medical industry and even twelve step recovery programs. All of these institutions need to be approached and regarded with a strong feminist lens because they have done actual harm to women over the centuries. Having said that, we as woman have a right to access and use parts of these systems where they may benefit us in healing our trauma and in gaining and maintaining our mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

As for me personally, although I have used therapy, women’s support groups, twelve step programs, and Re-evaluation Co-Counseling to heal and to grow stronger over the years, I also feel that my radical feminism and living as a lifelong lesbian have given me more empowerment and healing than any system created by and dominated by men. I have also used my feminist writing and my literary accomplishments as ways to recover from and heal the personal and political suffering I have endured throughout my life.

I believe that every woman deserves to be fully informed and have access to a variety of health care services that she needs and wants, free of charge, and to have 100% authority over how she chooses to heal. It is a basic human right, and for this reason I am truly glad for the existence of MITA, a much-needed feminist advocate for women in the area of mental health.

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Giovanna Capone is a poet, fiction writer, and playwright. She was raised in an Italian American neighborhood in New York, whose strong immigrant influence still resonates in her life.  She lives in California, but will always be a New York Italian. Giovanna’s first book, published by Bedazzled Ink, came out in 2015 to strong reviews: IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD: POETRY & PROSE FROM AN ITALIAN-AMERICAN.

Her work has also appeared in various publications, including Curaggia: Writing by Women of Italian Descent, Bless Me Father: Stories of Catholic Childhood, Unsettling  America: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry, Avanti Popolo: Italian-American Writers Sail Beyond Columbus, Queer View Mirror 2, Lesbian & Gay Short Short Fiction, and Fuori: Essays by Italian/American Lesbians and Gays. Her short fiction has appeared in The Paterson Literary Review.

Giovanna’s first play, Her Kiss, was produced and performed to sold-out audiences in San Francisco by Luna Sea Women’s Performance Project, in their first Dyke Drama Festival. She also co-edited Hey Paesan! Writing by Lesbians & Gay Men of Italian Descent with Tommi Avicolli Mecca and Denise Nico Leto.

She co-edited an anthology of short fiction and memoir by lesbian writers, entitled: DISPATCHES FROM LESBIAN AMERICA, just released in 2017. Giovanna lives in Oakland, CA and works as a public librarian. You can reach her at this website:

Link to her second book:

Link to her third book:

Link to her BIO at Bedazzled Ink Publishing Company:

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