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  • Maura Elizabeth Manning


It was the music, you see. Slithering down alleyways, orange and white and gold. She could see it move through the air…the color. It had always been the color that drew her. Black horns and yellow violins. Colors she had no name for, writing grace notes that seemed to float on the damask breeze. 

And we whirl and we twirl and we tango, jumpin’ right into the moonglow..

Somewhere Lani Hall was singing in reds and greens. She watched the color roll and shift. Like fog. It moved like fog, but it didn't conceal. She looked down. Her feet seemed so very far away. And they sparked as she stepped: click, light, click, light. Maybe she really did have diamonds on the soles of her shoes.

She was running now. Letting the music grab her wrists and pull.... And then she was there. Smoke. People. Perfume, anise, sweat. Was this a dream? Shadow. Quiet. Alone. She stood, centered, waiting. She was Maya Deren, and this was her invitation to the dance.

The plaintive strains began in deep purple. Foot lifted, toes pointed, she stepped out…and suddenly there was a man. Tobacco, coconut, lemon…Macassar? Her thoughts scattered as they began to move: shadows against her legs; the dress clung - the sweat on her thighs grabbing at the silk. She noted she wasn't wearing stockings…and that was the last cogent thought in her head.

The violin’s screech was the starting gun. She no longer saw, she felt! The percussives thrummed in her gut, shattering high notes whirled ‘round like candy-canes: white, then red, then white. Around, and around, and around. Up, down, cling, point, plie. The man distilled into essence. His scent made her memory. Was he real? Was she? You're a little touched, they say, Angie baby…..

The music distorted, then spun out faster. She kept up - but in doing so, gave herself over completely to the music and the dance. Surely no one had ever danced within a rainbow? She became the color: soul splayed out in red, green and orange. The colors lightened as she spun, lifting till her feet gained no purchase. She should have been dizzy, but she wasn't. 

There was white light above her - pure, colorless, frothed like the sea.  Crying cockles and muscles, alive, alive, oh! As she lifted, the man lifted with her. Now they both danced towards the light. She looked at him one last time. She could see him now. He was gold; shiny. Lit from within. So was she. The light penetrated them both. The music seemed very far away. She turned, and the light followed. The light, the music, and the man. They were spinning faster now. 

And now she was gold, too. Colors running down her arms. Color on her feet. She was a radio tuned to the dance. Light flashed and she froze: folded within, spinning, spinning... spinning. Tango.

🙟 About Maura Elizabeth Manning 🙜

Maura Elizabeth Manning worked in professional theatre as both actor and director for almost thirty years before shifting her focus to writing full time.  A confirmed travel junkie, you might say the world has truly been her oyster, spilling its secrets through extended visits to England, Ireland, China, Korea, The Philippines and Japan.  

On a personal note, Ms. Manning is proudly Irish, and considers herself a bit of a beach bum, having lived on or near the ocean for most of her life.  In truth, she has led a somewhat peripatetic existence: attending school in Ireland, managing a Coffee House in Japan – busy feet having led her into adventures on almost every continent.  Though primarily interested in the performing arts, Maura has been writing all of her life in a variety of genres, from the autobiographical to erotic fiction.  Her philosophy of life?  Well, as the immortal Mame Dennis was fond of saying, 'life is a banquet; only most poor sons-of-bitches are starving to death!’ 

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