TOPMAN ¶ Online Writings by and about John Preston

The Death and Remembrance of Author Jason Klein (1949-1981)

Excerpts from the writings of John W. Rowberry, Jason Klein, and John Preston

Note: This page includes sexual descriptions that may not be appropriate for minors.


Drummer readers know Jason Klein through the original and provocative writing he did in these pages. We had always felt that he was destined to become one of the most important voices in S&M, and we were glad to have been the first magazine to publish him. His voice has been stilled by an accident, but not one without meaning. Jason died by asphyxiation after he had bound and suspended himself at home alone. Self-bondage was an important part of his own sexuality.

[From "With Sincerest Regrets," by John W. Rowberry, Drummer #51 (early 1982), page 6.]



The bruises look beautiful in the mirror, even if they have dulled under the dust of new cells. They seem more a part of me now and make me look like an animal. I suspend myself by the neck to watch them and how I might struggle, how I might look in your eyes, angry for air and suddenly pissing in the terror of your reaction and how it would feel if you were beating me then. Your reaction was only a fantasy, but I easily spilled even though I could not beat myself the way you would. I didn't even try, and I didn't actually piss in terror until, still hanging by my neck and tied hand-and-foot, I tried for a second coming.

[The final paragraph of "Chorus for a Psalm," by Jason Klein, quoted as part of a memorial to the author in Drummer #51 (early 1982), page 78.]


[Editor's note: The following letter was sent by John Preston to Drummer in 1987, after that magazine printed what its new editor believed to be a previously unpublished story by Jason Klein, "Chorus for a Psalm." Preston explained that the story had been written in response to the original draft of Preston's short story,"I Once Had a Master," and that Preston responded to Klein's story by writing, "Letter to Jason." All three stories were published together in the "Polysexuality" issue of Semiotext(e) in 1981.]

Jason lived in San Francisco and I lived in New York before we moved together to Portland, Maine, about seven years ago. During the time before our decision to live together, we actively courted by writing S&M stories to each other. Those pieces weren't just our pledges, they were also ways that we had to goad one another to new heights in S&M, something we each were anxious to experience together. . . .

These stories and our move to Maine weren't the end of our affair. While our isolated life together went quite well, Jason felt communally outcast here. It wasn't just that he couldn't respond to life in New England, my home region. He wasn't, we finally agreed, finished with life in the gay ghettos, something we both realized I'd tired of. So, very unhappily, we agreed to part. Jason returned to San Francisco in the midst of promises between us that we would continue our relationship in some form, certainly with our writing.

But that wasn't to be. Within a very short time after reaching California, Jason died as a result of an accident at home. This was before the full impact of AIDS and I was devastated; I wasn't yet used to having men younger than myself die before me. . . .

Telling you and your readers all of this is a kind of exorcism for me, since I've actually never even been able to write anything about Jason since he died. . . . I thank Drummer for the stimulus and the opportunity to finally speak his name in public, with warm memory.

[From "Jason Remembered," by John Preston, Drummer #104 (1987), page 5.]

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Creative Commons License: Some Rights ReservedThis text, or a variation on it, was originally published at as part of Topman: Online Writings by and about John Preston. Copyright © 2004 Dusk Peterson. Some rights reserved. The text is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License ( You may freely print, post, e-mail, share, or otherwise distribute the text for noncommercial purposes, provided that you include this paragraph. The author's policies on derivative works and fan works are available online (