3 Poems

Some Guidelines for Women

After Tomas and Pilar Andres


Below are some don’ts for women to avoid getting into “trouble”*:


  1. A woman should not try; she might end up in trouble*.
  2. She should not wear attire that reveals shape or skin; it is an invitation to trouble*.
  3. She should not be expressive, emotional, or opinionated.
  4. She should not act. She should allow others to presume what is best for her.
  5. She should not feel silly sitting passively. Men will want to open her.
  6. A woman should just let them.
  7. A rich woman should not isolate herself from working women. The more she employs the domestic services of, for example, Filipino women, the easier her life will be, and the better she will feel about her own station.
  8. She should smile when told she should have children, she should have more children (especially sons), she should be caring for the children of others. She may try to change the subject, but she should smile when doing so.
  9. She should not drive herself; she should never literally or figuratively take the wheel.
  10. She should not feel disturbed to be taken lightly.
  11. She should never look you directly in the eye. It is a gesture of equality, and it is therefore an invitation to trouble*.
  12. She should be indexed. She is preferable downward. Otherwise, she is considered rude.


* Examples of “trouble,” include but are not limited to the tarnishing of name, spinsterhood, abandonment, verbal, emotional, and/or physical harassment or abuse, aggravated assault, abduction, date rape, acquaintance rape, spousal rape, employer rape, gang rape, false imprisonment, sexual slavery, forced abortion, human trafficking, premature death by cruel, violent, and undignified means, including immolation and dismemberment.



The Gospel of Juana de la Cruz


in the beginning with the word, there was

your breakfast, your bed, your benefits package

a woman sent, whose name was Juana

your myths, your medicine, your maid for hire


all things were made by her; and without her

your leisure and pleasure, your cheap labor pool

was not any thing made that was made

your tech, your toys, your purchasing power


inside her, all life, and the life of man

your love, your lunch, your urban renewal

she overcame darkness, she came to bear

your realm, your retail, your dollars at work


she came to give testimony, she was the word

your trinkets, your tongue, your taste for travel

and from her fullness you have all received

your savior, your supper, and always, your succor





[uh-pok-ruh-fuh l] adjective, of doubtful authorship or authenticity. False; spurious.

C14: via Late Latin apocrypha (scripta) hidden (writings), from Greek, from apokruptein to hide away.


  1. The Gospel of No


And he will say I am stupid if I do not say yes. “She often prayed these incidents would not escalate to physical touching,” “When she was alone” “she was vigilant” Let there be consequence to saying no.


And he will think it an act of coyness. “The harassment included, but was not limited to, nudity, comments of a sexual nature, unwanted sexual advances, and unwanted touching,” Let him promise no one would believe me.


And he will grow angry should I continue to refuse. “walked into the kitchen naked and watched Plaintiff cook” “she found him naked and masturbating.” Let him curse, you dumb bitch, you can’t do shit.


And he will be bemused that my will is strong. “propositioned Plaintiff” “to perform ‘handwork’.” “asked whether she wanted to earn extra money doing ‘massage’.” Let him brandish his wealth as his weapon.


And he shall not stop until I acquiesce. “On one occasion, he purposefully bumped into her and rubbed his groin against her.” Let there be surprise at this accusation of wrongdoing.


And he will say in my weakness, I will fold. “On at least one occasion, Defendant” “asked Plaintiff” “whether she was masturbating in the shower.” Let be this man’s penchant for naked coercion.


And he will continue to believe that I mean yes. “Plaintiff” “said no.” “Plaintiff” “said no.” “Plaintiff” “said no” “sexually hostile work environment.” “She” “said no.” Let this court of public opinion decide who is right.

  1. The Gospel of Comments Section


For some reason, I do not believe her.

She better have proof; I need it. She’s making a money grab. She’s an unskilled worker, and she should quit complaining. She’s lucky to have a job at all.

For some reason, her story is doubtful to me.

She‘s lying; I’m not buying. She was not a captive, she could have left. She’s like every other Filipino, finding the easiest way to get rich quick and stay.

For some reason, it took her so long to leave.

She’s a heartless illegal; she should be grateful and not take advantage. She’s poor; she’s cheap. She’s a bogus lawsuit and immigration fraud; deport her.

For some reason, she expected something different.

She’s poor; she has no education. She’s a whack job extortionist, looking for big payday. She’s corrupt, just like the rest of her third world country.


  1. Response


Just give it time, and everyone will forget all about her.

Just give it time, and there will be a new one just like her.



Barbara Jane Reyes is an author and educator living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has authored four books of poetry, including Poeta en San Francisco (Tinfish Press), which received the James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets, and Diwata (BOA Editions, Ltd.). Her next book, Invocation to Daughters, is forthcoming from City Lights Publishing.

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