Church doors close at dusk

Canticles fade to murmurs

Incense lingers in the air.

Fake jewelled women arm in arm

with gurning fools step out into the night.

Silks shimmer, velvets fold,

and draped in feathers, fur and finery

they discard their inhibitions.

Casting off  age and infirmity they walk beside

cross dressing youths and androgynous muses.

Anything goes and nobody knows

who’s behind the mask or makeup.

Wigs, turbans, top hats, tiaras,

veils and fedoras.

A world of dreams and make believe.

Sleep deprived but energised by moonlight,

thriving on adrenalin,

Absinthe and Eau de Vie,

revellers dance in the streets and alleyways.

Tall stilt walkers cast shadows

over swan necked Nubians.

Princes, paupers and snake oil talkers

forget their positions or earning a living.

Tonight they mingle as one,

moving to the beat of the carnival drum.