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The Jukebox

The Jukebox

A little over 2 months ago, A fella arrived here to finish out the remaining 5 years of his 12-year bid.  He’d transferred in from Big Springs, TX and it was apparent that while there the fella ate… a lot.  His stature – short, round and abnormally wide – almost immediately became a subject of humor on the prison yard which, by nature, is about as cruel a place as they come.

One of the inmates that was with him during Intake said he came through looking like a waddling jukebox. The yard fucktards found the nickname hilarious, and began referring to the guy as “The Jukebox.” Mostly behind his back, but once in a while to his face… which would then turn red in either embarrassment, anger or both.

But something incredible happened a week and a half ago. I’m in the chapel sparring with The Champ when he walks in, listens for a second, points to a beat up guitar in the corner, gives me a look one part “Do you mind?” and one part “Watch this muthafucka!”

… and then he played.

Now, I’ve played with some really good guitar players… “Top Ten in the World” guitar players and I can honestly say that what was done to that guitar in that room was of a genius rarely seen in person, let alone in prison.  His fingers danced up and down its neck as if they belonged to it.  Other inmates started filing in to listen to this guy play.  They soon shouted out requests, which he’d nail.  All of them.  Perfectly.  Everything from Santana to Metallica was executed as if he’d written the songs himself, and in that moment, this glorious bastard took his moniker and re-defined himself as something legendary.

After talking to him a little more afterwards, it became clear that his lengthy sentence destroyed what once was a very talented career.   So as we both agreed that from that moment forth he was officially “The Jukebox”… we chuckled at the irony of his legend being born, here, in this place where dreams are sent to die.

Dream Big, Kids…

- Dante

Aside from being my mental lifeline to the outside, this blog is an effort to help provide my beautiful son, Orion, with a little support while I am away. Any profit generated by the Ads on this blog get split between him and a charity that builds wheelchair accessible playgrounds for disabled children.

Aside from that, my spirit pretty much survives on sincere correspondence from the outside world. Letters sent by anyone are more valuable to me than clean socks. Write me, and I'll write you back.

Dante Orpilla #49007-112

feel free to use my art, but please
consider a small donation
towards my situation.


On June 16th, 2010, I was sentenced to serve 28 months in a Federal Penitentiary, for possessing with intent to distribute a Class A narcotic. This blog is a visual representation of that experience. Please enjoy responsibly.


For the better part of my life I have operated under the beautiful assumption that mans greatest gift is his ability to create. And so I do. My name is Dante. I am an artist, a musician, a writer and, above all, a very proud father.

Please note that messages are sent in writing to Blackmarket Arts and due to his situation he will not be able to respond. If you would like to begin a correspondence, please write to him.

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