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    quarterlife is:
a slap in the face!

heleana bakopoulos
anna johnston

layout editors
anna schreier
megan wick

staff artists
editor: sylvie corwin
antara bird
naima corea
elie flanagan
chloe french
ally kim

copy editors
editor: han lynch
cas alexander
alissa berman
joshua cox
chloe hansen

public relations
editor: bridget o'brien
nazaaha penick
carmel stephan
connor walker
mckenna williams

web development
editor: clara fletcher
livvy eickerman
mei smith

volume 16 issue 2
         Fall 2021

quarterlife is a literary journal published four times a year that features poetry, short fiction, drama, creative nonfiction, analytic essays, alternative journalism, and any other sort of written work Whitman students might create, as well as sketches, drawings, cartoons, and prints. Each issue is composed around a given theme that acts as both a spark for individual creativity and a thematic axis for the issue.

quarterlife is an exercise in creative subjectivity, a celebration of the conceptual diversity of Whitman students when presented with a single theme. Each piece is ostensibly unconnected but ultimately relevant to the whole. Every work illuminates a different aspect of the theme. In this way, quarterlife magazine participates in the writing process. The magazine is not an indifferent vehicle by which writing is published, but rather is a dynamic medium with which writing is produced.

letter from the EDITORS



A newborn baby has a bigger brain than most adult dinosaurs did.




When we breathe, one nostril does most of the work, with breathing/smelling duties switching every several hours.




Baby hummingbirds will pop like a balloon if fed too much. 




The dot over a lowercase “i” or “j” is known as a “tittle.”




Paleontologists believe that a Tyrannosaurus Rex male had a reproductive organ up to 12 feet in length.




The origin of the idiom “a slap in the face” dates back to the 1800s. 




The hardest slap in the world clocked in at 370 pounds of force. 



Heleana and Anna


ariella ruben. . . . . 

Click titles to jump to each submission

megan wick. . . . .

justin ferland. . . . .

erin thackray. . . . .

christian wallace-bailey. . 

fi black. . . . . 

fi black. . . . . 

sylvie corwin. . . .

 justin ferland & micah asuncion. . . . . 

elie flanagan. . . . .

elie flanagan. . . . .


ariella ruben

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a.r. untitled

the scent of sanctity

megan wick

according to my brother

it only takes four pounds of pressure to drive someone’s nasal bone into their brain with a palm strike,

killing them instantly.


it’s an urban myth, of course,

but every time i smell that

shitty perfume you wore in middle school— something that smelled akin to the rotting

nectarine that i found

in the back of my fridge the other day—

it feels like someone has just jackhammered my nose so far into my skull

that my face in now inverted, like

a reflection in a funhouse mirror.


but oh, how i love clobbering myself over the head with that sickly sweet scent.

i keep a tiny bottle of that drugstore perfume in the bottom drawer of my desk for when i need to be destroyed

all over again.

m.w scent


justin ferland

In a jet over Telluride. 


Still true to my promise that

I never lied,

I turned the ocean to saltwater 

from how much that I cried,

Too many screens man,

My heart's feeling fried. 



I can’t,

I’m not gonna do this anymore,

I got stories to tell,

At this point I'm folklore, 

One last look down then I stepped back out and closed 

that Balenciaga trap door. 


For three straight months I was sidelined, 

but up in the air is when I smiled 

and chose

to leave it all completely behind.


Wheels down on that tarmac,

Hot wind when I landed,

Life been so good,

y’all would think that I planned it.


Play my own rules,

Frat guys,

the perfect fools,

Y’all seem so down,

But I’ve taken off, 

cause all I drink is jet fuel, 

These people got so forgetful

that when I walked in,

their jaws dropped and their cigarettes fell.


All them talking about “who’s that man J,”

I’m just someone who’s up at 5

to hear them strings and trumpets play.


cause they all think that I'm gay,

Only attracted to cars 

Spun out on the freeway.


You won’t find me at bars,

You should look at my scars, 

Always riding the front, 

Eating gold-dusted chocolate bars.


I was out running the storm,

Met her in a class,

honestly couldn’t care less

that she had a nice ass,


Said I didn’t have a crush, 

Which I clearly did,

Truth was I couldn’t wait to see her 

in the next period.


We both wore makeup 

and put on our charm, 

trying to kindle these flames 

without setting off an alarm.


Look, I have legends to make 

like I was Bruce Wayne, 

My next chapter started 

when she first whispered my name,

I’m in the 13th round 

rejecting your pain,

as she holds my waist 

and we kiss under the rain.


White roses are blooming, 

Her touch is so soothing, 

“You sure about her?”

Yeah man, those bright green eyes, 

They’re completely consuming.


Girl left in the A.M.

smelling like my neck’s clary sage, 

Made my solo show first,

Took on the main stage,

They cry and sit back, 

Trying to contain their rage.

You’ve already read this chapter, 

why aren’t you turning the page? 


Can't tell if the omelet is Denver or Spanish,

The 5 seconds she’s gone

has got my heart feeling famished. 

This shit's got me spinning like hurricane type weather, 

Fuck any hookups, 

I'd rather be in my shop sewing leather.


Can't breathe when I'm with her

cause we’re laughing so hard,

We certainly got the attention

of that hotel security guard.


We lock eyes in a crowd,

(Eros man)

 He would have been proud,

got me saying things like,




They ask what I see in her,

(Watery eyes)

Man, I could never be bored. 


Crystal waters burn brightly, 

Volcanos erupt nightly, 

I can’t go down to your level, 

Why y’all trying to fight me?


Black belt doing board breaks, 

Deep breaths for your sake, 

Fishing for diamonds, 

Peace at the bottom,

my lake,

One smile from her

is really all that it takes,

Gimme a camera, 

I’ll get this shit done in one take.


She’s laughing so nicely, 

Lingerie looking feisty, 

You’re not clicking with us,

And it’s not ‘cause we’re pricey.


We doing donuts in the lot,

Layovers in Paris,

If the exes knew of this shit,

I think they'd feel kind of embarrassed.




"I think they're together?"

"Excuse me? Pardon?"

Love ignoring the texts while,

While we make out in the garden. 


19 of them all asking for that guy J.

Sorry y’all, 

It’s just me her and the Porsche,

Yeah, it’s a three-way.


The guys hope I'm bi,

I made Exotic Sandalwood? 

Yeah, that's my war cry,

just do,

don’t try.

Their necks all snapping when I walk by,

It’s tears no more, 

now it’s diamonds raining down 

every-time I cry.

(tears of joy)


I’m on a safari,

Donuts in a Ferrari,

Back to my room, 

We took a bath in calamari,

We raced through the Halls,

On the 68th floor,

Forget about money, 

Losing her means I’m poor.

(For real though man)


I came in this world with thunder and noise,

find me hanging with the girls,

‘cause I can’t relate to you boys. 


Come on,

let’s go,

Pack our bags,

 baby let’s flee,

We're trapped here on earth,

Don't you wanna be free? 

We're leaving you here,

 sad on top of the sea,

but when the sun beams through,

I know you’ll be thinking of me. 

(& Her)

j.f ferlana

Make of it What You Will

erin thackray

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e.t. make

Contemplation in the Ulta Parking Lot

christian wallace-bailey

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c.w.b contemplation

A Dream I Had When I Slept in Your Bed and You Weren't There When I Woke Up So I Wondered if You Took a Midnight Shower or Left me.

fi black

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1  Knit one ____ two; oysters; in the  past tense

2  Weed makes it harder to 

A conjunction of my run-on 

5  Self-absorbed 2 letter word 

8 Or is it appendicitis? 

11 Placeholder noun for the brainclouded speaker 

12  the person who I promised I wouldn't cry in front of last night. 

13 The past tense futile action we do when faced with conflict of mortality 

15 Legs, windows, and football players 

17 A common conjunction— you got this I believe in you 

18 The winter makes these non-existent 

19 When you're not so selfishly only 

considering yourself 

20 Mice and Men; Monsters and Men 

22 So self-absorbed it shows up again 

23 When I left the shower sopping wet, putting on my jeans with no towel i was:

26 The word that is linked to a series of events but is a subtle indicating of impending change 

27 The most inopportune day of the week to do psychedelics but there you are, go off I guess 

28 Free bleeding and _____ the sheets 


1 –ly on *show recap begins*

3 Oh me, oh __

6 2nd mention of this word makes one sound obsessive; Guinevere Beck; Love Quinn 

7 Underrated pasta shape (the medium kind)

9 Eggs, skulls, mirrors 

10 A toothy tool 

14 That one song by Styx that's like "come sail ____ come sail ____" 

16 A highly debated entity 

21 It scares me. I want it to happen, I want to be old, as old as possible, I desperately want it and it scares me.

24 That one Nelly song that goes "It's getting hot __ here, so take off all your clothes" 

25 Put your fingers in my

f.b. dream


fi black

Somewhere, a July thunderstorm floods the Earth and its inhabitants and the next day a suburban sidewalk during summer is the mass grave of

hundred of burnt curled carcasses, you know

worms have 5 hearts but are still cold blooded

worms need to be warm to survive however,

if a worm is out in the sun too long it becomes paralyzed

if a worm’s skin dries out it dies.

the claustrophobic, perpetual darkness is the worm’s weighted blanket the dirt keeps them warm

in turn the worm gives to the dirt,

(you can imagine you’d give a lot too if you had 5 hearts)

worms fertilize dirt and nickname it soil

soil then gives life

Meanwhile human people eat dirt to ease the pangs of starving

and give back what?

all this talk about dirt makes me think of when I was 6 years old

and gardening.

I was running around the front lawn and

there was a worm squirming slowly on the sidewalk,

(it knew it would be paralyzed soon)

I tried to scoop it up with tip of my trowel

humans try to warn against small hands holding sharp objects for a reason I severed the worm in half

it bled

it vigorously rolled around,

both halves throbbing ,

wet and red

I dropped my trowel in the grass and ran

little did I know of the intention of this worm

to moisten your skin with your own blood

to kiss 3 hearts goodbye and leave with two

to make your legs act as your new brain

is not just an act of resilience to survive

But desperate effort to return


f.b. worms

sylvie corwin

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A Sleeping Bag in the Face

s.c. sleeping bag

"This Squid Slaps"

justin ferland & micah asuncion

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j.f. & m.a. squid


elie flanagan

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e.f. flip

Thanks ever so much

elie flanagan

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god, I looove giving people a million chances to get their shit together & then finally just sending them a formal letter of Get Fucked, Actually. 


some things just never change, shoutout to the male coworker I yelled at over email today, you know who you are <3


anyway this is the brand of Insufferably Petty that I was in sophomore year of high school 

e.f. thanks


quarterlife would like to thank the Associated
Students of Whitman College (ASWC) for their
financial support, without which the production of this magazine would not be possible. Our utmost gratitude goes to the Whitman Print
Shop, to our faculty advisor, Professor Gaurav
Majumdar, and to our advisor, Dorothy Mukasa. A special thanks to our staff artists who produce wonderful art without credit to individual pieces. All work featured in quarterlife magazine or on the website is displayed by express permission of the author or artist, who holds all relevant copyrights to her or his work. Don’t steal their stuff.

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