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The Measure of Men

The Measure of Men

Convicted felons are not the only ones that occupy this prison.  The compound also houses a family of about seven cats that entertain the inmates by running around, chasing birds and doing all the other entertaining shit that cats do.  I assume they do this in return for the scraps of food that are smuggled out of chow on their behalf.  I also assume they rely on these scraps to survive.

Living among this family of cats is a kitten.  It is tiny – about the size of my fist – and every day the little guy wakes up and fights for his life… hard.

He had a sister that he used to cling to.  She died a couple weeks ago, victim of the harsh Oregonian chill that consumes this place on a nightly basis.  The morning he was found without her, his eyes were caked shut.

The theory was that he cried so long and hard in the frozen temperatures that his abundance of tears frosted his eyes shut.  Now, I’ve never heard of a cat shedding tears when it cries.  In fact, I’ve never heard of a cat crying as anything other than a show of hunger, but the sentiment behind that theory was enough to evoke a resolve to not let the little guy succumb to his sister’s fate.  And so, despite the formidable odds in Death’s favor, a concerted effort is being made to save a life.

As I write this, he is snuggled up beside one of the vents that spews warm air out of the laundry room, in a bed constructed of four blankets and a jacket that were all donated to the cause by inmates.  Also donated: packets of canteen-bought mackerel, which he is hand-fed.  He has his water changed regularly, and usually has someone sitting beside him during those times we are allowed outside.

It is a profound show of humanity by men that have been deemed “society’s lowest common denominator,” a prime example of why character is best measured not by what we’ve done, but by what we do.

Be good to each other,

- Luck

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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