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Quotes

Quote #4

casually ask for a carton of Gauloises and a carton
of Picayunes, and a NEW YORK POST with her face on it (lines 24-25)

Even the speaker's cigarettes are French! Gauloises are a brand of French cigarettes associated with French café culture and artists like Jean-Paul Sartre.

Quote #5

while she whispered a song along the keyboard
to Mal Waldron and everyone and I stopped breathing (lines 28-29)

For all his knowledge of high culture – especially literature, theater, and painting – the narrator's most intense artistic experience in the poem comes from a "popular" art form – jazz. Holiday's singing leaves everyone in the room breathless.

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