Masters of Mecca

Brandon Marlon


In the shadow of the cuboid Ka’aba

adorned with overhanging damasks and fringed brocades,

the shura of Quraysh and minor tribes

sat under muslin canopies in the public square

to deliberate bluntly upon the growing threat

posed by the notorious one known as ‘al-Amin’,

upstart nephew to several council members,

whose heresy imperiled their prevailing lifeway.


Circulating blasphemies were now intolerable.

Abolished gods would mean no more pilgrims;

no more pilgrims would mean no rich Meccan lords

reaping benefits from munificent votaries

in thrall to the deified gargoyles

of Hubal, Lat, Anat, Uzza, and Dushara.


As smudged Bedouin drew relief from Zamzam’s well,

nobles conferred in increasingly muted tones,

decrying the unrest incited by the presumptuous Hashemite

wedged in their midst, a constituent of their own clans,

whose reckless antics sowed bitter division,

even between his avuncular councilors

Abu-Talib, Abu-Lahab, and Hamza,

all in the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.




Brandon Marlon is a writer from Ottawa, Canada. He received his B.A. in Drama & English from the University of Toronto and his M.A. in English from the University of Victoria. His poetry was awarded the Harry Hoyt Lacey Prize in Poetry (Fall 2015), and his writing has been published in 185+ publications in 25 countries.