Moon as Metaphor and the ‘Tricky Serum’ of Our Dreams by Dan Stone

Tricky Serum an elixir of poems by Dan Stone

Join me in extending a warm welcome to my friend, author Dan Stone, who has graciously agreed to be a guest blogger.  I loved his debut novel The Rest of Our Lives which I reviewed in May 2011 and if you missed that, you can read it here.

And now, Dan waxes poetic on the moon as metaphor and the ‘Tricky Serum’ of our dreams…

“Most of what has come into my life so far or what I hope is on the way, started with a dream.  I love them and I believe in them and in one way or another nearly everything I do is connected to them. Maybe it’s a Pisces thing.

I believe the moon is a perfect metaphor for the guidance that is our emotions. The moon reflects the light it’s receiving, relative to its position in the sky, to the way it is turning and what it is facing. The moon is always making its journey and reflecting a focus relative to where it is and where it is going. It is always telling us something about the distance between what is and what can be.

The moon’s phases are pictures of that emotional journey–pictures of desire, pictures of resistance to desire. We can see new desires being born, desires waxing and evolving, desires manifesting fully, resistance to desire releasing, waning. As the moon makes its journey through the constellations, we can observe and feel the desires and resistance relative to that focus, that topic. We have endless opportunities to observe our progress along the emotional journey toward any and every desire that is active in us. Or we have the choice to sleep through it all—to never look outside our window to see how we’re doing.

The moon continues its journey regardless of whether we are conscious of it or not. The moon does its job whether we observe or acknowledge or respect it or not. If our feelings feel like they’re feeling us, all we really have to do is wake up, look through the window that is our focus and notice where the moon is and how it’s doing. We can know then and any other time we choose, what our feelings are about and where they are taking us. Our mood is only a mystery as long as we are choosing not to notice or pay attention to its position in the sky that is our own cosmos of dreams and desires.

These poems, from my collection, Tricky Serum: An Elixir of Poems by Dan Stone (Lethe Press, 2011) are a sort of tracing of dreams and desires and the illusions that sometimes confuse or impede or delay them. Whether present or merely implied in these poems, the metaphor of the moon as our own emotional guiding light leads us on our journey through and to our dreams, to whatever extent we are able to pay attention, to listen and to learn.

As suggested by the title, these poems address the tricky prospect of elixirs. . . the quest for the substance of our dreams, the magic potion for fulfilling what we hold to be our fondest and often most elusive desires. The poems are intended to read as a progression, a journey through the process of seeking, finding, and relinquishing our convictions about what we need or want . . . from an other . . . and from ourselves . . . about waking up, or not . . . from some of the dreams we dream about the only life we can save . . . “

Luna Leading

She walks in beauty, yes,
but not just like the night.
She moves through the day as well,
a knowing goddess not a guess,
divinely sure of what she tells.
Time and tide and blood
are at her beck and call,
measuring her journey
through the stars, responding
to her signs and phases
even as she points the way
to any heaven that is held
close to the heart,
any distant hell that needs release.
She gently shows us where we are,
whether in or out of sight.
We push back the curtain
or pull the covers to our head.
Either way her lady finger gestures,
lures us to the dreams, desires
reflected in her light.


On the lake the winds are calm
enough to tell one breeze from the other
and the water lies as still as two lovers’ eyes
holding one another in the space before a kiss,
like sea desiring sky in a privacy before the dawn.

The earth stops turning
long enough to feel that we’ve arrived,
that a wish has just come true
and the only prayer remaining
is a thank you whispered to the trees,
attention to the hummingbirds and cranes.

There are times a lover’s arm around your waist,
his breathing in the night,
will take you home
and other times the memory
of his calling out your name
is all the joy you get to keep.

In the morning
dreams will drop you at your door
and drive away, leaving you to wonder
where they go, and what they came to say,
leaving you alone, awake,
and aching to go back to sleep.


I keep some things to myself,
knowing that disclosure
is a sound that sometimes
only dogs and critics hear.
I know the damage dreams
can suffer in some hands.
So I hold them close—
my dreams—
like newborns needing suckle,
like secrets that are magic
only when they are not shared.
Because they’re mine alone
they are untouched . . .
undefiled . . .
unattached to any word or deed,
to any face or form,
to any foreign need.
These dreams they are the force
that moves across the surfaces
and through the depths
and to the heights
of what I most believe . . .
like the stars that speak
the language I am learning,
like a god who only
answers prayers from me.
In my silence I can keep
the faith I feel,
leave it burning and becoming
what I want, without explaining.
I can choose it anytime
and it will always call me
to a place that’s clearer,
sweeter, more than
where or who I’ve been,
more than any company I’ve kept
or kingdoms that I’ve seen.
These dreams, they know the way
and in the not revealing,
in the nondisclosure,
I am getting where I’m going,
I am letting myself go.
I am just not telling.

Dan Stone is the author of Tricky Serum: An Elixir of Poems, and the gay Me081512romantic fantasy, The Rest Of Our Lives: A Novel (Lethe Press, 2009), which was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, as well as an essayist, photographer, intuitive coach/consultant, and college instructor.  His fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in Focus on the Fabulous:  Colorado GLBT Voices, Charmed Lives:  Gay Spirit in Storytelling, White Crane Journal, A&U Magazine, Astropoetica, Mostly Maine, Bay Windows, Gents, Badboys, and Barbarians, New Gay Male Poetry, and Rebel Yell: Stories by Contemporary Southern Gay Authors.

He is the co-creator with artist Cher Odum of a line of original poetry art and author of the spiritual blog, The Shower Channel.  More information about Dan, his books, fine art photography, and consulting services are available through his website:

Book Review: The Rest of Our Lives by Dan Stone is a Gay Romantic Fantasy for All Times

The Rest of Our Lives

Book Review

Title: The Rest Of Our Lives
Author: Dan Stone
Publisher: Lethe Press
Released: May 25, 2009
Pages: 228
ISBN-10: 1590211472
ISBN-13: 978-1590211472
Stars: 4.0

I’m pretty sure I must have been a gay man in a past life. I love gay men. No one else understands a woman or what she’s looking for in romance quite like a gay man. My first boyfriend in public school turned out to be gay, a major high school crush was gay; my first lover was bisexual, and I spent the entire year from the summers of 1994 to 1995 in Vancouver hanging out with gay men. Man, do they know how to party! Up until October 2003, I always had a gay man for a close friend, but my dear friend Don died of HIV-complicated issues that month and there hasn’t been anyone like him since. There’s a pattern there and of course, there’s the fact that I’m still single at 47. Yes, I’m quite sure I was a gay man in a past life.

I have never read a gay romantic fantasy before but The Rest of Our Lives by Dan Stone is exactly that. It’s utterly delightful in a Bewitched kind of way and I would love to see John Waters direct the movie version. If you love The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Priscilla Queen of The Desert, or To Wong Foo Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar (as I do), you’re going to enjoy The Rest of Our Lives like Divine loved her Marilyn Monroe-blonde wigs. However, The Rest of Our Lives isn’t raunchy like a John Waters film, it’s incredibly sweet, enchanting, sexy, thoughtful and romantic, as well as unabashedly gay. There are even a few chapters set in Provincetown!

Colm and Aidan are two passionate, beautiful souls who have been linked together lifetime after lifetime: one fire and the other ice – unable to exist without the other.

Colm McKenna has spent his whole life feeling like an outsider and a freak. A natural blonde elemental witch who can control water & ice, freeze everything around him and literally stop time, he was raised by his Aunt Belle in St. Clair, North Carolina and never felt as if she or anyone else in his family truly understood him. When we join him in the present chapter of his life, Colm is a quiet, shy, isolated assistant manager (clueless about his own beauty) of a rare bookstore/photographer in Washington, DC whose ice-blue eyes spot the dark and dangerously handsome Aidan Gallagher for the first time at the annual Pridefest parade. Aidan just happens to be an elemental witch as well, only his element is fire and where Colm “creates stillness, he creates motion and the warming of the South Wind.”

Colm’s boss and good friend Kermit later introduce them at a house party but Colm doesn’t trust that his dreams might come true and that a man who is perfect for him not only exists but truly wants to love him forever. (I suffer from the same stultifying fear.) It takes a cast of colourful characters including Aidan’s psychic Aunt Lu and Colm’s dying Aunt Belle to ultimately convince Colm that in this lifetime, his and Aidan’s destiny will be different from that of their past lives, and they will get to live happily ever after.

Even against a fairy tale backdrop, Dan Stone knows how to write compelling characters and great chapter titles too. Some of my favourites in this book are “Cool, Colm and Collaborated”, “Humping Through The Ages”, “Hex Upon The Beach” and “For Whom The Belle Told.” He has a wonderful sense of humour. For every moment of humour, there is also one of poignancy, so by the time I read the final chapter and Colm’s mother’s letter to him, I had tears in my eyes. This is a charming paranormal love story that will burn bright in your imagination long after you read the last page!

I want to live in the world that Dan Stone created in this novel and I want to spend the rest of my life with the Aidan that I hope is out there for me. Sigh…