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Venus has Decomposed Now
By Fred Beare

The Death Mask of Civilization has been donned before...

“Now Nana was left alone, lying face upwards in the light of the candle, a pile of blood and pus dumped on a pillow, a shovelful of rotten flesh ready for the bone-yard, her whole face covered in festering sores, one touching the other, all puckered and subsiding into a shapeless, slushy grey pulp, already looking like a compost heap. Her features were no longer distinguishable, her left eye entirely submerged in discharging ulcers, the other one a sunken, fly-blown hole. A thick yellowish fluid was still oozing from her nose. Starting from the left cheek, a reddish crust has overrun the mouth, pulling it into a ghastly grin. And on this horrible and grotesque death-mask, her hair, her lovely hair, still flamed like a glorious golden stream of sunlight.

Venus was decomposing; the germs which she had picked up from the carrion people allowed to moulder in the gutter, the ferment which had infected a whole society, seemed to have come to the surface of her face and rotted it.”

Émile Zola, “Nana” (1880)

..and is being donned again.

The Great Train Wreck of the West

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