IN VALENCIA Michelle Tea launches into a supercharged memoir-style account of a twentysomething dyke who likes to drink, get high, and score the cutest girl on the dance floor. Set in the dyke clubs of San Francisco, Valencia relates the ongoing ups and downs of hooking up and breaking up with tattooed and pierced artists, activists, and squatters who are financially poor but rich in physical appeal.


by Michelle Tea (Seal Press, $13)

Tea, cofounder of the lesbian-poetry road show Sister Spit, fuses her words with a dynamic rhythm well suited for reading aloud: "I sloshed away from the bar with my drink, sending little tsunamis of beer dribbling onto my hands, soaking into the wrist of my shirt. . . .I met Petra. . .on an intensely crowded dance floor that throbbed with the weight of so many slamming boots."

Blending the carnal with the cerebral, the author gives an uninhibited yet thoughtful account of sex. It's erotica for the intelligent woman, and sometimes comically so, as when Tea brings high-school science into the bedroom: "[T]he energy shooting off her chest was intense, she was a ball of electricity. This was the girl for me. This crazy girl with the crazy cunt that sucked my fist inside with a slow slurp. My whole hand. I saw my elbow, then my forearm, then her cunt. . . .I thought about my hand that had disappeared into her hole and I thought about the quantum physics theory that once something leaves our view we cannot prove what has happened to it, or if it even exists. . . .I was barely moving my theoretical hand."

As Tea's narrator goes from girl to girl, her words are susceptible to waves of caffeine, drugs, sex, and depression. Her rambling sentences are often riddled with sloppy typos (like a friend's e-mail) and her narrative is hot and visceral. You may find yourself aroused in more ways than one.

Michelle Tea reads 7/10 at Bailey/Coy Books and 7/11 at the OK Hotel.

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